Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with a supporter during a campaign rally in Pittsburgh on June 14. Clinton proposed bringing broadband Internet access to all Americans by 2020 as part of her technology plan, released Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
DENVER, June 28 (UPI) -- Hillary Clinton pledged Tuesday she would bring "affordable" broadband Internet access to all U.S. homes by 2020 as part of a series of proposals to increase web access and bolster the tech sector of the economy.
Presently, the Federal Communications Commission reports 10 percent of Americans, roughly 34 million people, do not have access to broadband Internet. The vast majority of them are people living in rural areas, where tech companies have declined to install the infrastructure necessary to bring high-speed Internet to a small number customers due to the cost.
In many places, installing high-speed Internet cables in rural communities has only been possible with government subsidies. Clinton pledged in a plan released Tuesday to increase federal funding for those projects, as well as increasing free WiFi access in public places, such as airports and train stations.
"Hillary understands that investing in high-speed broadband and next-generation wireless is a win-win for jobs: It will put people to work in building out and upgrading our digital networks, and it will create millions of opportunities for people who can get online more easily, innovative, start companies, and sell their products," her campaign said.
The tech sector plan was released in advance of a campaign stop where she was scheduled to speak at a co-working space in Denver.
Clinton is on record supporting the FCC's so-called "net neutrality" ruling, which regulates the Internet the same as other public utilities. Internet service providers have lobbied the federal government to permit them to dedicate more bandwidth to large Internet companies like the television and movie streaming service Netflix, or the online retailer Amazon, because they use the most bandwidth.
Critics have said tilting the scales of Internet speed to well-known sites will prevent start-ups from gaining the traction they need to compete. Service providers have argued failing to more smartly allocate bandwidth is a drain on resources and will make Internet access more expensive for consumers.