The Roadmap to Universal Broadband

// Posted by on 04/22/2014 (12:36 AM)

The Above image show a map of the United States and the speed at which internet access is available. This map represent the theme of final project, the search for Universal Broadband and the end of the Digital Divide.

For my final project I initial proposed research regarding the concept of Internet access as a human right. As I began researching, the issue developed into current interactions between the United States Government and the many multi-national corporations that provide broadband services to millions of Americans. My project started to turn towards this direction when I read about all of the different actions that are in plan to end the Digital Divide.


The Digital Divide is the separation between those who have access to Internet, and therefore information, and those who don’t. While I original believed that this divide occurred mainly due to individual’s inability to pay for Internet service, upon further research I realized that the problem was also caused by the lack on Internet infrastructure in many rural areas of the United States. Upon discovering this issue I began to research the multiple different actions plans that currently exist.


I was able to breakdown the focus of my research in United States government policy on broadband, the private sector plan, and Non-governmental organizations that are working to end the digital divide. Currently, my research can be found on This tumblr is my currently workspace, but I plan to organize my research into a more clear presentation upon my finalization.


Some examples of the multiple different plans I have discovered to end the digital divide include that of the Federal Commission of Communication within the United States Government. Their National Broadband Plan is an action plan to provide broadband infrastructure to all areas of the United States. This plan seeks to create a “high-performance America” by improving innovation, investment, and inclusion in Internet services for the Citizens. Their goals include

  • At least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 megabits per second and actual upload speeds of at least 50 megabits per second.
  • The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
  • Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they so choose.
  • Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1 gigabit per second broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.
  • To ensure the safety of the American people, every first responder should have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.
  •  To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.


While these goals are comprehensive and aggressive what is missing from the action plan is means to achieve these goals and the budget that is required to enact all this change. This is where the cooperation between the public sector and private sector comes into play. Similar issues as this was dealt with in the 1980’s with the expansion of the home phone network. The field of telecommunications has changed dramatically over the past 50 years, and as we move into the future will continue to change.


This is simply a preview of the type of research I am currently doing in exploring whose responsibility it is to provide the United States with this service, that we as a society as deemed essential. As I move forward I plan to further track the impact that the United States, the telecommunication industry, and Non-governmental organizations have made in finding a social for the digital divide.


My questions I would like to ask the class revolve around the concept of responsibility and commodity. As the Internet becomes further ingrained into our daily lives, will be call for the transition from private sector management to public sector? Do you think the government should provide Internet access? Subsidize it? Require private companies to provide access to rural areas? These questions amongst others are in the survey posted below. Please fill out my survey tomorrow, in hopes of helping me along my journey to discover that path that America should embark on in hopes of closing the digital divide.


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Kevin said...

I do not believe that the public sector will ever control the internet. However, I do think that the public sector will begin to take steps to increase competition within the private sector. By passing new laws and bills that can make it possible for various companies (such as Google) to create broadband connections in larger areas, it prevents cable superpowers like Broadband and AT&T from keeping their prices so high. Greater competition always drives down the price, and I think the public sector will make efforts to ensure that competition in the private sector grows to the point that prices become more affordable.

I do not believe that the government should provide internet access, but I do believe the sales of internet services should be more regulated. I hope that someday these services will have similar regulations to power companies, who cannot just jack up their prices because they know people need their product. I believe that this increased regulation would benefit consumers and make internet access more affordable.

Perhaps one day we could subsidize internet access, but I believe first we need to make sure that every American household has cables running through their area that make internet access readily available.

I think taht requires private companies to expand their territory to rural areas is a definite possibility. It seems that greater regulation could provide these companies with certain incentives for extending their services to less profitable areas. The government could certainly provide these private companies with better reason to expand to these less profitable areas.

// 04/24/2014 at 12:45 pm

Eliza said...

In a perfect world, of course we would all want access to all of the same things, however as we know, the world is not perfect. After reading Allie’s blog’s and her phase one post, I do not believe it is the government’s or private company’s right to subsidize the internet to rural areas. The Internet is a privilege to have, not a right. Obviously with the world we live in today, that is becoming more and more difficult to say as everything is almost operated by the Internet. In our Richmond bubble, students could not imagine a life without Internet. It is so easy for us to sit here on our computers and say it isn’t a human right to have access to the Internet. However, we have no idea how the rest of the world feels. Trying anything they can to get online for just a couple minutes or even seconds. I would love to say every citizen should be given Internet access, however that request just isn’t logical.

// 04/26/2014 at 12:12 am

Cora said...

I think it is unrealistic for there to be a point where the public sector will completely control the Internet. In years to come, I am sure the government will begin to balance the levels between the public and the private sectors. I don’t think that the government should provide all Internet access, but I think that they should pay more attention to subsidizing and regulating Internet services.

// 04/26/2014 at 7:04 pm