A new report from Common Cause that was developed in partnership with CWA examines how lobbying and political spending have shaped the digital divide.
The report, Broadband Gatekeepers: How ISP Lobbying and Political Influence Shapes the Digital Divide, finds that the 15 biggest, most influential ISPs and related trade associations spent more than $234 million on lobbying and federal elections during the 116th Congress—an average of more than $320,000 a day. This spending has stymied progress on issues like network resiliency, increased broadband speeds, and price transparency that are critical to closing the digital divide.
“Our political system is rigged in favor of hedge funds and wealthy shareholders who demand short-term profits over the lasting health of our economy. To satisfy Wall Street, ISPs and trade associations are spending millions fighting legislation that would help close the digital divide,” said CWA Senior Director for Government Affairs Shane Larson. “The impact this has on low-income communities and rural residents is devastating. Telecom companies are limiting deployment of fiber optic broadband to wealthier neighborhoods and monopoly cable is overcharging for subpar service. It’s time broadband workers and customers get some accountability. That has to come from Congress and the FCC.”