Cash Cows Block Rural Internet

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Cash cows block rural internet

Corporations love cash cows: businesses that generate them a steady stream of cash for no money.

AT&T, Verizon and Comcast treat internet services as cash cows. These corporations skimp on investing in rural broadband to keep their profits high. This lets them keep their execs in luxury and fund millions in political donations.

Anything that jeopardizes their cash cows provokes a strong reaction. That’s why they find the new American Jobs Plan that offers affordable broadband internet access for all so threatening. The corporations claim “things are fine” while millions of Americans suffer from a lack of broadband internet access. What gives?

Check for yourself as lobbyists are experts at burying facts in ‘BS ‘(pun intended). As Groucho Marx said “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

How much internet access does a county have? What is the average household income in that county? Is there a connection? Where does America rank globally in terms of internet access? How much do the CEOs of AT&T and Verizon make? How much do corporations who provide internet services pay in political donations? How will President Biden’s American Jobs Plan provide affordable internet access to poor, rural and communities of color? Which groups are fighting for affordable internet access that can bridge the digital divide?

People are most interested in their own situation, so provide data for where they live and let them see the facts from themselves. That’s what a good StoryMap does.

Biden calls for $100 billion to expand U.S. broadband access

Lack of affordable internet access holds back many poor, rural and communities of color.

Corporate lobbyists lash out

“The Internet & Television Association (NCTA), which represents Comcast, Charter, Cox and others is particularly mad that Biden wants to expand municipal broadband networks that could fill gaps where there’s no high-speed broadband from private ISPs and lower prices by providing competition to cable companies that usually dominate their regional territories.

USTelecom, which represents AT&T, Verizon, and other DSL and fiber providers, also claimed that things are going well and that Biden should stick with a strategy centered on private ISPs.” – Ars Technica

Connect the dots with a Storymap

Lack of affordable broadband internet  access holds back many rural counties

This StoryMap shows that broadband internet influences the prosperity of a county’s residents. The Storymap highlights how poor, rural and communities of color suffer the most from lack of affordable internet access. This makes it harder for them to find out about COVID resources, job opportunities, register to vote and access online education.

DemLabs created this infographics using the free StoryMaps app, data from Living AtlasYahoo Finance and Follow The Money. The StoryMap has details for all counties and a simple SWIPE feature to compare the relationship between internet access and the prosperity of a county.

The StoryMap can be freely shared with this link or embedded in a website with this line of code:
< iframe src=”https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/839835be521d4eeb90c9d6793ef806c0?header” width=”100%” height=”500px” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen allow=”geolocation”>

Withholding internet access helps those in power and their corporate supporters to “Deny under-served communities the infrastructure and resources they need, make it harder for them to get accurate information and harder for them to vote.” Sound familiar?

Resources

National Digital Inclusion Alliance is a unified voice for home broadband access, public broadband access, and local technology training and support programs.

Public Knowledge promotes freedom of expression, an open internet, and access to affordable communications tools and creative works. It works to shape policy on behalf of the public interest.

New America is dedicated to renewing the promise of America by continuing the quest to realize our nation’s highest ideals, honestly confronting the challenges caused by rapid technological and social change.

Takeaway: Counter corporate ‘BS’ with fact-based, interactive storytelling. More people need to know how affordable broadband internet in the American Job Plan will help them and their families.

Deepak
DemLabs

Image credit: Unsplash
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Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.

Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.

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