PA Lieutenant Governor
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
Contact Person: Michael Bagdes-Canning
724-431-8560, [email protected]
PA Green Party Candidate Demands Broadband Internet
By Michael Bagdes-Canning, Green Party candidate for PA Lt. Governor
In early August, Christina “PK” DiGiulio for PA Governor and I earned our places on the 2022 General Election ballot. I am thrilled by the support we received from some of our fellow Greens and others who wanted a real choice in November. Our volunteers averaged around 100 signatures. Now that we are on the ballot, I hope we can enlist some of that energy for the next phase, building county Green Party organizations.
Just think of the local issues for which the Green Party has solutions. There are many local issues in your county, which could be approached by your local Green Party. Here is one, which affects where I live in Butler County.
Last year, my local grandchildren, like many other children across PA – and their parents and grandparents -- were introduced to a new concept: remote learning. Obviously, this came with some social costs and a learning curve for all of us. On many days, my two grandkids came to our home, while their parents were at work. It was during these times that it dawned on me that there was something seriously wrong with our internet service.
In our area; we have “high speed internet.” This means that we are served by a copper direct service line. Copper is old and slow technology. What this lousy service meant was our two grandkids could not do remote schooling at the same time, or the system would bog down. Then they would lose connection with their teachers. It also meant that my wife, Karen, and I had to forego meetings and other internet-based things during school hours.
As I said, we are pretty well off for our district. There were some students (and their caregivers) who had to drive to the school parking lot to access their remote schooling, because they did not have access to internet or cell service. This is a horrible solution.
According to the Census Bureau, up to 20% of Pennsylvania households do not have access to broadband internet. However, folks living in rural areas and black and Hispanic families, and households earning less than $30,000 are disproportionately impacted, less likely to have access to basic internet service. The lack of broadband internet access has, among other consequences, social, medical, and economic ramifications.
I believe that internet service is the equivalent of what roadways, telephones, water, sewerage, and electricity were for prior generations. Students and businesses that are lacking infrastructure, suffer consequences that lead to unequal outcomes. We must do better.
When I am elected Lt. Governor of PA, I will see that PA publicly funds last-mile installation of fiber optic cable to underserved areas. PA should also reclassify the internet as a Title II communications service. This designation will allow the FCC to protect consumers against abuses by service providers, prevent unfair data caps and shut-offs, ensure network reliability, and affordability. PA should also remove barriers to competition -- including incentivizing public options. The digital divide is real and bridging it is an important step to revitalizing areas on the wrong side of the digital tracks.
As the focus of this campaign shifts, we’ll be looking for places to get our message out. We’re willing to go anywhere. If you would like to organize a backyard gathering, a campus event, a table at a local street fair, or anything else that we can attend, let us know. We will also respond promptly to media requests.
To join the DiGiulio Campaign for PA Governor and the Bagdes-Canning Campaign for PA Lt. Governor, please sign up here, https://www.greenslate2022.com/volunteer. To contribute to their Campaign, please visit, https://www.greenslate2022.com/donate.
For more information:
“Broadband Internet access should be open to bidding, not simply the current choice between cable or telephone company monopolies, where grassroots Internet service providers must merge or go out of business. Broadband access should be a taxpayer-funded utility, like water and sewer, ending the "digital divide" that keeps low-income folks from access to the Internet.”
Platform, Green Party of the US, IV. Economic Justice & Sustainability, L. Advanced Technology and Defense Conversion, Paragraph 8, https://www.gp.org/economic_justice_and_sustainability_2016
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