Consumer Protections and Good Jobs

Members of Congress have been home this week for their Memorial Day work period, and CWA members across the country have been busy talking to their Representatives and Senators about the importance of high-speed Internet, sharing state-specific results of our online speed test, and building support for the Broadband Data Improvement Act.
Tennessee currently ranks 37th in high speed internet usage, due to limited availability leading to only one fourth of households subscribing to high speed service. Recently Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen announced the creation of a new non-profit organization tasked with improving high speed internet access for the residents of Tennessee.
Yesterday Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI) introduced the Broadband Data Improvement Act (S.1492). The bill would force the FCC to collect better data on broadband deployment in the United States that would be used to help craft policy that would make our country a world leader in high speed internet.
In a hearing yesterday before the Vermont Public Service Board, representatives from the CWA and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers urged the Board to deny Verizon's proposed sale of 1.6 million Northern New England land lines to FairPoint Communications.
Opposition continues to build to the proposed Verizon-FairPoint deal in Northern New England. Last weekend, about 1,000 consumers, workers, and community activists gathered at a rally in Portsmouth, N.H., to protest the deal.
The key to breaking down the digital divide is cooperation--between the public and private sector, between citizens of different communities, and between local governments. A terrific example of the latter is a joint effort by the state legislature leaders from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to make sure that Verizon's proposed sale of 1.6 million land lines to FairPoint Communications won't leave New Englanders behind.
Today, CWA President Larry Cohen took the case for universal high speed internet access to the U.S. Congress. He testified before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, which is chaired by Rep. Edward Markey, who understands the importance of high speed internet.
In addition to CWA President Larry Cohen's testimony before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott also spoke in support of the draft of the Broadband Census of America Act.
We've already explained how Verizon's proposed $2.7 billion sale of local lines in Vermont is a bad deal for residents of New England. Now, former CWA staffer Steve Early has contributed a thorough analysis to The Nation's website.
The San Jose Mercury News editorial hits the nail on the head with this week's editorial on the state of high speed internet access in the US.