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RISHI KUMAR FOR US CONGRESS

Broadband As A Utility

Switzerland was the first country in the world to provide broadband universal service in January 2008, followed by Spain and Finland each guaranteeing 1Mbps.

Critical infrastructure is based upon impacts to people and making sure America is positioned to succeed - such as our economy and education. Broadband is critical in my mind and that is why my policy is to turn broadband into a utility. High-speed Broadband needs to be a utility, because it is a key tool for getting ahead in the 21st century. Improved connectivity drives new environmental and economic opportunities — to advance in the future, we need to advance to broadband as a utility. Broadband networks provide access to crucial social and economic infrastructure, but our government is not acting fast enough.

Broadband should be declared an essential utility and equitable access to the Internet must be a right of every American because in the digital age, Internet access is a significant determinant of one’s equal access to healthcare, education, and government. Broadband is the next essential utility, as vital to economic growth as reliable electricity, clean water and good roads.

As broadband becomes more essential to the economy and everyday life, expectations for ease of use and availability and affordability should be the same as those for water or electricity.

Everyone in a community needs equitable access to affordable and reliable broadband Internet to enable participation in the subsequent indicators of an intelligent community. Beginning with access to broadband, we need knowledge of the workforce, innovation, digital equality, sustainability, and advocacy to build up an intelligent community poised to lead the 21st century economic and social world. Increased access to education, healthcare, government services, and market places all depend on an Internet connection.

The policy should include standards for broadband towards accessibility that include being equitable and sustainable, and striking a balance between competition and cooperation.

The federal government must adequately fund the broadband infrastructure; the idea that only rural communities need to be fixed is false. The urban‐rural digital divide has a direct impact on employment for our residents, the competitiveness of our businesses, and overall prosperity of our country. The combination of incumbent hegemony in wireless and wireline infrastructure is at the heart of the problem.

In conclusion, as your congressman, I will push for broadband as an essential utility; equitable access to the Internet is a right of every American. The national civil infrastructure standards for the construction of civil works necessary to support these changes must be developed. We must address the income inequality, and universal internet access is a critical step to take in this direction.