Free for all: Should all Americans have access to high-speed internet?
But that's just it. There are plenty of people who can't afford it, and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin says high-speed Web access is so important that everyone, all Americans, should have it. He spoke with USA TODAY about broadband Internet access for all citizens, and hopes to dedicate a portion of the wireless airwaves that will be auctioned off next year to the cause.
While broadband penetration rates have grown, there is something of a digital divide. USA TODAY reports that only 38% of rural households are broadband customers, citing the stat from a Communications Workers of America report. Not surprising, the numbers are higher in urban and suburban areas -- 57% and 60%, respectively. As with utilities, the cost of high-speed access is an issue, according to the report.
Broadband growth in the U.S. has stalled over the past five months, according to a report released last month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The report says about 55% of all adult Americans now have a high-speed internet connection, or a broadband connection, in their home. That's compared with 47% of adults with broadband in early 2007, and 54% in December 2007.
So what do you think? Does the government have a duty or moral obligation to ensure that all Americans have high-speed Web access and access to wireless services as well? Should there be tax incentives for companies that offer lower-cost services or subsidies for low-income Americans?