With big telecom companies lobbying hard against affordable broadband bills, experts say it’s easy to think they hate the idea of affordable internet. In reality, the matter is much more complex.
Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines when he announced a bill that would force internet service providers (ISPs) to sell internet service to New Yorkers in certain areas for $15 a month. Following the announcement, ISPs hit back hard, lobbying against the bill and even filing a lawsuit because of it. Now, a judge has put the bill on hiatus, citing the possibility of “irreparable harm” to telecom companies if it were to go into action. This decision, along with the lawsuit, has led many to feel like ISPs don’t want people to have affordable internet, but experts say the issue isn’t quite that simple.
“I don’t think it is that they don’t want people to have accessible, affordable internet,” Rebecca Watts, an advocate for internet access who works with the Western Governors University, told Lifewire on a call. “I think the opposition here is because the legislation doesn’t necessarily take into account their business model, and this injunction will allow everyone to take some time and really learn from the providers exactly what the impact could be.”