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New Poll: Americans Are Skeptical of Gov’t-Subsidized Internet

By  |  April 10, 2017, 02:31pm  |  @Gabby_Hoffman

A new Pew Research Center poll found that Americans are becoming increasingly skeptical of government-subsidized high-speed Internet services. This comes at the heels of new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chair Ajit Pai’s recommendations to do away with invasive net neutrality laws, which have proven to be a hindrance to internet freedom.

The poll found that 44 percent of respondents polled think government should offer subsidies to assist lower-income Americans pay for high-speed internet in the privacy of their homes. In comparison, 54 percent of those polled believe current rates for high-speed internet are affordable enough that people should opt-in for services on their own. Wow!

Here’s a breakdown of their findings on political grounds:

Americans have different levels of support for broadband subsidies based on political affiliation. Six-in-ten Democrats and independents who lean Democratic say the government should help lower-income Americans purchase high-speed internet service, but that figure falls to just 24% among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. These partisan differences stand in stark contrast to attitudes toward municipal broadband networks, which are favored by a solid majority of both Democrats (74%) and Republicans (67%).

A majority of Democrats at various income levels support government subsidies for broadband, but there are significant differences among Republicans based on income. For example, 42% of Republicans and Republican leaners with an annual household income of less than $30,000 support broadband subsidies for lower-income Americans. But that figure falls to just 10% among Republicans from households earning $75,000 or more a year. Overall, however, Republicans at all income levels are less likely to support broadband subsidies than Democrats of comparable incomes.

FCC Chair Ajit Pai has made it his mission to promote a “pro-business, anti-regulation” agenda at his agency. The Lifeline program in question currently burdens American taxpayers — with a cost of $2.25 billion last year.

The poll even went to suggest that between Republicans and Democrats, both felt that at-home broadband services are important–although Democrats believe they are essential.

Understandably, net neutrality is a loaded subject. Thankfully, FCC Chair Ajit Pai is bringing some much-needed reform and transparency to the organization. Make Internet Great Again!