EFF Podcast: Why Does My Internet Suck
Gigi Sohn joins EFF hosts Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien as they discuss broadband access in the United States – or the lack thereof. Gigi explains the choices American policymakers and tech companies made to create a country where there are millions of Americans who lack access to reliable broadband, and what steps we need to take to fix the problem now.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How does the FCC define broadband Internet and why that definition makes no sense in 2020;
- How many other countries adopted policies that either incentivized competition among Internet providers or invested in government infrastructure for Internet services, while the United States did neither, leading to a much of the country having only one or two Internet service providers, high costs, and poor quality Internet service;
- Why companies like AT&T and Verizon aren’t investing in fiber;
- How the FCC uses a law about telephone regulation to assert authority over regulating broadband access, and how the 1996 Telecommunication Act granted the FCC permission to forbear – or not apply – certain parts of that law;
- How 19 states in the U.S. have bans or limitations on municipal broadband, and why repealing those bans is key to increasing broadband access
- How Internet access is connected to issues of equity, upward mobility, and job accessibility, as well as related issues of racial justice, citizen journalism and police accountability;
- Specific suggestions and reforms, including emergency subsidies and a major investment in infrastructure, that could help turn this situation around.
Gigi is a Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. She is one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable and democratic communications networks. From 2013-2016, Gigi was Counselor to the former Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Tom Wheeler. She advised the Chairman on a wide range of Internet, telecommunications and media issues, representing him and the FCC in a variety of public forums around the country as well as serving as the primary liaison between the Chairman’s office and outside stakeholders. From 2001-2013, Gigi served as the Co-Founder and CEO of Public Knowledge, a leading telecommunications, media and technology policy advocacy organization. She was previously a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm. You can find Gigi on her own podcast, Tech on the Rocks, or you can find her on Twitter at @GigiBSohn.
A transcript of the episode, as well as legal resources – including links to important cases, books, and briefs discussed in the podcast – is available at https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2020/11/podcast-episode-why-does-my-internet-suck.
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