As digital technologies become increasingly prevalent, so too does the issue of the digital divide. Though digital technologies are a boon to society, limited access to broadband threatens the idea of a democratic internet accessible to and shaped by all.
Broadband performance in the United States is mediocre. Competition between providers is weak, access is inconsistent, prices are often unaffordable, and the cable industry is threateningly close to a natural monopoly on broadband. As digital technologies become an increasing part of daily life, the ability to physically connect to the internet at a reasonable cost becomes paramount. In response to concerns over broadband in America, the FCC has developed the National Broadband plan which hopes to provide broadband access to all Americans.
In 2009, the Berkman Center conducted an independent expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world, in order to help inform the FCC's efforts in developing the National Broadband Plan. Since submitting its report, the Center has continued its research on broadband policy, focusing its efforts on competition in the residential broadband market, analysis of the NTIA's National Broadband Map data, and exploration of the value broadband brings.
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