Lovely Warren has endorsed a broadband internet program that discriminates against the poor and won’t do anything to improve access.

Charter Communications has launched “Spectrum Internet Assist.” This program offers $14.99 a month internet, but comes with all kinds of restrictions. Participants must have children who are eligible for school lunch programs or they must be at least 65 years old collecting Social Security. What’s more, subscribers can’t be current customers for the previous 30 days or have any outstanding debts with the company. Charter’s plan assures many people will be left offline and in the dark.

Warren has proven corporate interests take precedence over public interest.

This program replaces Time Warner Cable’s unrestricted $14.99 a month plan. Even with the availability of that plan, many families couldn’t afford to sign up. About forty percent of homes in the city – 35,000 households —  don’t have high speed internet via cable or DSL. Some of those households can only access the internet via smartphones. The Rochester City School District has estimated half of its students don’t have broadband at home.

I’ve proposed a citywide fiber internet network. We would wire every single home, at a cost of about $70 million, per an RCSD study. That cost could be shared by the city, RCSD and a private vendor. People and businesses wanting one gigabit service would have to pay, which would cover operating costs. Everyone else would enjoy the network for free. Taxpayers have already paid to lay fiber throughout the city, and much of those networks are dark. Let’s put this infrastructure to use to provide equity and access, as well as create jobs. We must make Rochester a city of opportunity for all.

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