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Poll: Americans mixed on offering Broadband service to the poor

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As the Federal Communications Commission addresses broadband access and infrastructure, a new study shows Americans have mixed views on current policy.

Local governments should be able to build their own broadband networks if existing services in an area are either too expensive or not good enough, said 70 percent of those interviewed by Pew Research Center. Some state laws currently prevent cities from building high-speed networks, but a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would ban those restrictions.

Fewer than half of Americans polled think the government should provide subsidies to help lower-income Americans pay for high-speed internet at home. In February, Ajit Pai, the Trump Administration’s new FCC chairman, scaled back a broadband subsidy for lower-income Americans.

Six in ten Democrats and independents who lean Democrat support government help for lower-income Americans to access high-speed internet, but just 24 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents do.

About 59 percent of blacks and 57 percent of Hispanics think government should help pay, but only 37 percent of whites do.

Among people with household incomes of less than $30,000, more than half support internet subsidies, but that falls to 35 percent among households earning more than $75,000.

A solid majority in both parties favor the creation of municipal broadband networks. About 90 percent of Americans now describe high-speed internet service as essential or important.

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