Should Big Tech be taxed to fill the broadband gap?

America’s pandemic experience has created a sense of urgency for expanding broadband. Pew Research found that 53 percent of Americans considered the internet essential throughout the COVID-19 crisis. But as acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel frequently points out, many students have not had broadband at home for doing homework or attending online classes. According to Pew, 23 percent of adults surveyed in February 2021 said they lacked home broadband, although this is down from 27 percent just one year earlier.

Why do people lack broadband? In some instances, it simply isn’t available. According to the FCC, in 2019 about 96 percent of US households could access broadband at the FCC’s benchmark speed of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. This means about 14 million households did not have access at that speed.

But some people who had access to broadband did not want to buy it. Again, according to the FCC, 4.3 million (or 30 percent of) households with access at the benchmark speed declined to subscribe.

What’s being done about this?

Read Dr. Jamison’s complete blog post at AEI.