Bill A Way To Close Digital Divide

Source: Daily Republic

The Affordable Internet and Net Equality Act of 2024 (AB1588) was introduced by Assemblywoman Lori Wilson last year and sponsored by the California Emerging Technology Fund to ensure that all low-income households have the opportunity to subscribe to home Internet service at an affordable cost.

It will require that all Internet service providers offer their own affordable home Internet subscription as well as participate in and promote the federal Affordable Connectivity Program. AB1588 also sets standards for quality of service in those ISP affordable offers.

This is a common-sense idea. The Affordable Internet and Net Equality Act depends on the sound principles of contract law. It is the companion to “Net Neutrality” adopted by the Legislature in 2018. Surely, “net equality” for the 5.8 million low-income digitally-disadvantaged residents is as important an “net neutrality.”

Further, shouldn’t ISPs paid with taxpayer or ratepayer dollars be required to help California meet its official goal of closing the digital divide?

Wilson and CETF are to be commended for their trailblazing policy and courageous leadership because AB1588 is fiercely opposed by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).


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