Washington: Everyone Deserves Reliable Internet

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the digital divide in this country—and only made it more urgent for lawmakers to work to close it. This is why EFF joined a coalition of private-sector companies and organizations to support H.B. 1336, authored by Washington State Representative Drew Hansen. This bill would remove restrictions in current Washington law that prevent public entities from building and providing broadband services. Hansen’s bill would remove those restrictions and allow public entities to create and implement broadband policy based on the needs of the people they serve, and provide services that are not constrained or beholden to big, unreliable Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Communities such as Chattanooga, Tennessee already allow for community-provided broadband, and have proven more able to meet the needs of their residents before and during the pandemic. Now it’s Washington’s chance to make an important change to give all people the 21st century infrastructure they need.

It is abundantly clear that the monopolistic ISPs failed to meet the needs of the communities they’re supposed to serve. H.B. 1336 would correct that failure by allowing public entities to address the concerns and needs of all people. Broadband access is vitally important now and beyond the pandemic. This bill would not only loosen the hold of monopolistic ISPs, but also give everyone a chance at faster service to participate meaningfully in an increasingly digital world.

If you are a Washington resident, please urge Gov. Inslee to support this bill.

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