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Millions of low-income families are unable to tap into the resources high-speed internet access provides. Broadband is an essential pathway out of poverty: Living without home-internet access makes it harder to apply for jobs, pursue educational opportunities, stay informed and organize for social change.

People who can afford home-internet access must contend with steep prices and dreadful customer service; meanwhile, companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon refuse to build broadband networks in many rural regions, leaving residents without any access at all. We’re fighting for universal and affordable access for all communities by making sure that ISPs don’t discriminate against users and have robust oversight.

That means keeping close tabs to ensure that the $42.5 billion funded through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program goes where it’s needed most. BEAD money is designed to support the building of broadband networks in communities across the country that currently lack access. We’re also pushing Congress to maintain funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which subsidizes the cost of high-speed internet for millions of people living near the poverty line or enrolled in federal-aid programs like Medicaid and SNAP.

Free Press Co-CEO Jessica J. González discusses the importance of the Lifeline program, which subsidizes phone and internet access for millions of low-income households:

Question and Answers


    What's the digital divide?

    A: The digital divide separates the millions of people in the United States who lack home-internet access from everyone else. The internet isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity, like access to running water or electricity. People without internet access are figuratively and literally disconnected from an increasingly digital world.

    Why is this a racial justice issue?

    A: The digital divide disproportionately impacts people of color. In fact, the 2016 Free Press report Digital Denied shows that people or color account for nearly half of the 69 million people in the United States who lack any form of home-internet access. Our study reveals that income inequality, biased credit scoring and other forms of systemic racial discrimination leave many people of color without internet access at home or at work.

    Why is my internet bill so high?

    A: Most people live in communities where there’s just one internet service provider available. Without competition, ISPs don’t need to offer fair rates or acceptable customer service; they’re free to call all the shots. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between buying groceries and paying for internet access so their kids can do their homework.

Our Work on Internet Access

Despite its importance, internet access in the United States is far from universal. Millions of people in the United States still stand on the wrong side of the digital divide, unable to tap into the internet's political, economic and social resources. Here's what we're doing to help more people get online.

Join Us

as we challenge powerful corporations, hold policymakers accountable and mobilize millions.

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