Yesterday, Access Now and a coalition of civil society organizations filed an amicus brief in support of New York’s Affordable Broadband Act (ABA) currently challenged by broadband providers. The ABA requires New York internet service providers (ISPs) to offer a sorely needed $15 low-income broadband service.
The ABA is critical in closing the digital divide and connecting more low-income people. Despite programs like Lifeline and the Emergency Broadband Benefit, in New York only 77% of residents access broadband at home. This means that nearly 25% of New Yorkers lack high-speed internet.
“Access to the internet is necessary to realize so many human rights,” said Eric Null, U.S. Policy Manager and Global Connectivity Lead. “New York’s ABA is a significant step in the right direction to getting low-income people online. ISPs have misled the lower court into thinking the law will cause significant harm to industry and that it will duplicate federal programs that connect marginalized people. Thanks to our brief, the Second Circuit judges will know to take a stand against ISPs’ false narratives.”
ISPs challenged the ABA in federal court, where the lower court judge prevented the law from coming into effect pending the litigation. New York appealed that decision.