Rep. Matsui Introduces ‘The Broadband Affordability Act of 2011’

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."

Source: National Journal by way of Free Press

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  1. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    There is a huge difference between a free market and what is currently happening in the ISP market.

    In a free market, any company would be able to start up a new ISP whether wired or wireless and not be blocked by pointlesss regulation.

    In the current ISP market, regulations are passed to protect existing companies and block new companies or options from forming.

    We do not have a free market when it comes to ISPs.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming

    E. Zachary Knight
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  2. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    It’s  not that they hate competition, they just have a fale notio nthat the market will somehow "correct itself."

    Yeah, corporations never do the right thing if the right things means fewer dollars.

  3. 0
    Dan says:

    A good idea, but the entire infrastructure is in need of an overhawl. I suspect most of congress will dig their heels in at the prospect of paying for anything.

  4. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Agreed, plus with more and more companies putting their application processes online…

    The internet is going the way of the cell phone, sure there are people who insist that it’s only a luxury, but so were cell phones at one point, as were televisions and even regular land line phones.

  5. 0
    Thad says:


    Low-income people need Internet access as much as anybody — perhaps more.  I was unemployed for several months at the start of this year, and good luck finding work with no Internet connection, especially in a software-related field.

    (Fortunately I’m close enough to the local library that if it came down to it I could have canceled my broadband and used the Internet there, but lots of people don’t have that advantage.  And there is a comfort factor to using your own computer that’s set up just the way you want it.)

  6. 0
    Neeneko says:

    That might actually increase competition, and you know how much free market people hate competition.  Nope, these vouchers will fit in much better….

  7. 0
    Daelda says:

    I support the idea behind this bill – however I also worry about the cost, unless the government is allowed to negotiate with the ISPs for a lowered price for the subsidy.

    I would really rather that this sort of money were put into financing smaller ISPs to compete with the larger ISPs, and removing the roadblocking laws currently being passed which are favoring larger ISPs. Competition, combined with strong Net Neutrality rules, would bring down the prices of high-speed internet. Then, any of the poor who need additional assistance could get it – but at a smaller cost to the people.

    But, since *that’s* not going to happen…sure – let’s do this instead!

  8. 0
    ecco6t9 says:

    Exactly, considering she is my Congresswoman and we have roughly 3 high speed choices.

    AT&T,Comcast, and someone else. All at the cost of $50 a month when no one has a special running.

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