FCC Considers Opening Up the Pipes

Should the U.S. adopt rules that would require Internet providers to share their broadband lines with rivals, like other countries?

Debate over that controversial idea took center stage at the Federal Communications Commission Thursday, where agency officials are considering a Harvard study that suggested the approach would help improve U.S. broadband availability and affordability.

“U.S. performance [in Internet speeds and availability] is not at the kind of level that we can say no matter what others are doing, we’re doing better. We’re not doing better,” said Yochai Benkler, co-director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, at an FCC workshop.

The workshop was the latest in an exhaustive series held by FCC officials as part of their efforts to write a National Broadband Plan for the U.S. The plan would offer a blueprint for what the government could do to improve the availability of high-speed Internet service.

The agency has estimated it could cost anywhere from $20 billion to $350 billion to ensure every American has access to high-speed Internet service.

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