WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- A U.S. government official says high-speed Internet access should be available to all residents even if that means providing it free of charge.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin says the government has a social obligation to make sure everybody can participate in the next generation of broadband services, USA Today reported Wednesday.
In an interview with the newspaper, Martin said he planned to turn his vision into reality by using a section of wireless airwaves set to be auctioned next year.
By attaching a "free broadband" condition to the sale of the spectrum, Martin says he thinks he can help drive broadband adoption in rural areas in particular.
Figures show 38 percent of rural households are broadband customers compared to 57 percent in urban areas and 60 percent in the suburbs.
Under Martin's plan, 25 percent of network capacity would have to be reserved for free broadband, USA Today said.