Published: Sun, December 08, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Bernie Sanders' internet plan would break up providers

Bernie Sanders' internet plan would break up providers

In the plan, called "High-Speed Internet For All", Sanders essentially proposes treating broadband like a public utility.

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) arrives to a "Bernie's Back" rally at Queensbridge Park in the Queens Borough of New York City, U.S., October 19, 2019.

The High-Speed Internet for All proposal suggests giving local and state governments $150bn in grants and aid to create publicly owned broadband networks. The Bernie Sanders internet plan accuses large ISPs of using the internet as a "price-gouging profit machine".

Promising that every US household will have affordable, high-speed Internet by the end of his first term in the White House, Sanders said the push is part of his overall vision to improve the domestic economy and decrease corporate power.

"With no incentive to innovate or invest, these conglomerates charge sky-high internet prices to reap profits from consumers, and they collect government subsidies to provide service to rural households while still leaving millions of Americans unconnected", Sanders wrote.

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Other Democratic leaders have broadband plans, but Sanders "is more radical and expensive than his rivals".

In August, the Federal Communications Commission announced $ 4.9 billion in funding over the next decade to "maintain, improve and expand rural broadband affordable". According to their plan, both AT&T, owner of Time-Warner, and Comcast, owner of NBC-Universal, would presumably have to separate their roles as access providers and content producers.

Democratic candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg have also released plans to expand rural Internet service. The lack of widespread broadband in the United States has caused Sanders and other Democratic presidential candidates to promise funding more high-speed internet projects if elected to office.

Like Warren, Sanders says he will appoint FCC commissioners who will classify broadband providers as "common operators", such as traditional telephone services, as they were during the Obama administration. The plan also envisions free broadband service to public housing.

Citing interruptions after Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Maria, and the threat of climate change, Sanders also wants both Internet infrastructure and new and existing telecommunications to resist natural disasters.

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