The way forward for universal access to internet is through public ownership | What's Left

Access to the internet should, arguably, be a right for everyone. That includes people living in rural areas, in low-income neighbourhoods and in other regions where giant telecommunications companies are not interested in providing high-speed access.

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An interesting fight is shaping up in the United States. An increasing number of states are caving to pressure from powerful telecom monopolies like AT&T, Comcast, and T-Mobile – corporations who have more concern for their profit margins than for their commitments to the public. These companies have been pushing for laws that make it all but impossible for municipalities to establish their own, and in many cases faster and more affordable, internet service.

This fight has its roots in legal commitments several cable and telecommunications companies made previously. In return for commercial monopoly rights in many parts of the country, these corporations promised to roll-out high speed access to millions of Americans … a promise that many have not kept.

As a result, some municipalities have taken it upon themselves to make wifi as publicly available as possible – recognizing that it is a challenge for any citizen to navigate today’s world without being able to plug-in. Many cities own local electricity distribution companies that provide most of the infrastructure to offer cheap, non-profit, ultra-fast internet to residents.

More: How States Are Fighting to Keep Towns From Offering Their Own Broadband

More: 22 years after Verizon fiber promise, millions have only DSL or wireless

More: [[][Nearly half of Canada’s lowest income earners don’t have broadband access]]