(The following was sampled from The Huffington Post.)
It’s no secret I consider income inequality the greatest challenge of our time. And whether you’re my age or my teenage son Dante’s, it’s clear: the Internet has become fundamental to solving it. Like electricity in the 1800s, the Internet is now an essential building block of economic opportunity.
It doesn’t just connect us to our friends and family through Skype or Facebook. It links us to job opportunities, critical services, and troves of information. It allows us to check whether our children have homework, take advantage of new education tools, or build a business. More and more each day, the Internet — like electricity — is turning into a basic utility. And this critical resource should be treated as such.
All this points to one conclusion: we must have affordable broadband.
But far too many Americans struggle to afford this common service — or lack it altogether. In New York City, home of the second largest tech sector in the country, we pay more for less when it comes to broadband access. And the reason is fairly evident.
Internet access is now essentially controlled by four companies. Comcast and Time Warner nearly have a complete lock on broadband in the markets they control, covering some 50 million American homes. They’re now looking to merge, which would put them in control of about half of the nation’s broadband subscribers. A significant number of Americans also use their smartphones for broadband access — and Verizon and AT&T together own 64 percent of cell phone service.
That’s why we need the right rules safeguarding the fast and open Internet. Access to it shouldn’t be a luxury only available to the privileged few.
—–Bill de Blasio