Voters can Agree on Connecting all Americans
As Americans head to the polls today, the Pew Research Center has again confirmed the growing importance of mobile broadband services. In a new report, Pew found that more than twice as many Americans are using their mobile devices to follow political and campaign news during this year’s election than during the last midterms – up from 13% in 2010 to 28% in 2014. The report finds that both “Republicans and Democrats engage in [tracking campaign coverage, political news, and following candidates and political figures] at similar rates,” which may be some of the only bipartisan news to come out of Washington at election time.
Additionally, the increase in mobile usage is not just millennials: voters aged 30-49 have used mobile devices to follow election coverage at around a 40% rate, nearly identical to 18-29 year olds.
Access to mobile services continues to be an increasingly important part of modern life, and not just for election updates. With innovative new apps and services, consumers are consulting physicians, connecting with public safety, and pursuing educational and employment opportunities. Yet, many Americans in rural areas, cannot access mHealth, mWallet, mCommerce, etc. because a key component is missing – ‘m’ – mobile coverage.
Fortunately, the FCC has taken steps to ensure that all Americans, rural, urban and suburban, have access to broadband. The Commission is considering rules for ongoing support to ensure the Mobility Fund delivers on Congress’s mandate for the Universal Service Fund and that the fund supports comparable services and rates in rural and urban areas. Without question, this includes support for deploying and maintaining ubiquitous mobile coverage.
While polls will not close for several hours, Americans have already spoken on one issue – the desire to access a robust mobile network no matter where they live, work or travel. The FCC must set policies to keep Americans in both urban and rural areas connected – it’s one policy we can all agree on.