Imagine an America with no digital divide, where every home has high speed internet access. The first thing that comes to mind is entertainment -- movies, streaming webcasts and interactive games.
Yet the potential for high speed internet access goes far beyond entertainment. New telecommunications technology is emerging every day that make it easier to connect with one another using voice and video communications. For example, in public safety, high speed Internet networks can quicken the response time of first responders, and in education, video conferencing enables students to participate in classroom activity from distant locations.
The possibilities are endless. Currently, we have the technology to connect all individuals to high speed Internet networks, yet our country still faces a digital divide. The infrastructure required to connect all Americans is less reliable and inaccessible to many communities. With rare exception, Internet speeds trail far behind those in other advanced nations, and we pay more for slower speeds. But by building out our high speed Internet networks to reach rural and urban areas alike, we can begin to address the digital divide that drives a wedge through our economy and our lives.
Every American is entitled to an open high speed Internet – one that harnesses technology in innovative ways to meet our needs at home and at work. A truly open internet has a multitude of uses, one that integrates learning, participation and growth. High speed internet access has the ability connect Americans to each other and to community services in ways we cannot yet imagine. But these features need to be accessible to everyone, without fear that websites will be blocked or high-bandwidth features limited.
By implementing policies to make the internet more affordable and accessible, we can push for universal high speed internet access and begin to close the digital divide. Currently, many are left behind by a digital divide that denies access to many innovative features of the web.
As we move to create universal high speed internet access, we can address inequities that cause that digital divide, and increase our capacity for innovation and participation. The internet allows people to connect, create, and educate themselves in a way that no other resource can. As we work to close the digital divide, and connect more people to high speed internet access, we will move towards a more integrated community, accessible government and an open internet.