Big telecommunications companies — Comcast, Verizon and others — are “not in the business of making sure that everybody has reasonably priced Internet access,” says national academic Susan Crawford.
It’s a problem that’s close to the chest here. As Technically Baltimore reported, a coalition of neighborhoods organized as the North Baltimore Broadband Initiative have already held one meeting with representatives from Comcast and Verizon, asking for better options for affordable broadband.
City CIO Chris Tonjes has led an initial charge to tackle digital divide issues in Baltimore city, making bridging such a divide a chief plank of the Mayor’s Office of Information Technology, and calling for free WiFi at all six of the city’s historic public markets. He’s also interested in expanding the city’s fiber network by 25 additional miles.
And Comcast, one of the companies Crawford names, is in year two of its Internet Essentials program in Maryland, whereby certain families qualify for broadband access at $9.95 per month.
Nonetheless, Crawford argues that the Internet should be treated more like a utility to ensure reliable, affordable access for all Americans.
Watch Susan Crawford’s interview:
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