Bruce P. Mehlman
The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.
Few American innovations have changed the world more profoundly and positively than the Internet. Originally created as a government research project, the Internet was quickly expanded by private innovators, entrepreneurs, and businesses around the country and, eventually, around the world. Today more than 2.5 billion people are connected to the Internet and have access to information and opportunities that did not exist 20 years ago.
Innovations in broadband technology are not exclusively relegated to the wired world anymore. Today, mobile devices act as general-purpose computers, complete with nearly 1.5 million available apps. Massive amounts of data are necessary to operate these mobile devices, and carriers are struggling to deliver ever-increasing network coverage and speed to meet consumer demand. The future of lightning-fast, mobile communications depends on migrating America’s communications networks away from outdated legacy phone line networks and toward Internet Protocol-based, or IP-based, infrastructure.
The vast majority of network upgrades and day-to-day operation of the Internet are overseen by private businesses, universities and organizations. Yet governments – domestic and international - continue to exert influence over the environment in which the Internet evolves. Over the years, government policy makers have sought to protect, promote and encourage expansion of Internet access and adoption. Many actions by the U.S. government have helped facilitate the build-out of America’s broadband infrastructure. For example, decisions were made to make more government-controlled spectrum available for high-speed commercial broadband services, not to impose monopoly telephone regulations on competitive new IP-based services, and to encourage agencies to use the Internet to connect, serve and inform citizens.
We created this 2013 Broadband Guide for the 113th Congress to provide the next generation of policy makers and leaders with the information they need to make informed decisions about Internet policy. We attempt to provide critical information, define technical terms and answer basic questions about the Internet of today and the networked world of tomorrow. As a bipartisan organization with both for-profit and not-for-profit members, we are committed to offering an unbiased set of facts for consideration.