Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) introduced a bill yesterday called "The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011." The bill would deliver high speed Internet access to lower income households to close what she calls the "the digital divide." Matsui introduced an identical bill in 2009. She is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.
Matsui said that low-income Americans need access to affordable high-speed internet as much as anyone else, to succeed in our modern and connected society:
"Income should not hinder the ability of hard-working American families to attain broadband services that have become a necessity, not a luxury in our technologically driven economy. If you don’t have it, you are simply at a competitive disadvantage," Matsui said in a statement.
She argues that having an option to buy Internet access is not enough to close the "digital divide" if the options available aren’t affordable.
The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011 would direct the Federal Communications Commission to establish a program to subsidize Internet services and would be similar to current subsidies for telephone service. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association called the bill "competitively neutral."