The John R. Oishei Foundation recently joined the “Broadband Together” coalition, led by Consumer Reports, to research both cost and speed of broadband internet to better understand how to make it more affordable and accessible for all. The coalition of researchers, civic and advocacy groups, is asking people across the country to share their monthly internet bills to learn more about cost and internet speeds to better understand pricing and to advocate for a better internet that costs less.
Since the early days of the pandemic when access to high-speed affordable internet became even more vital for jobs, education, and healthcare, the Oishei Foundation has been working to find solutions to the inequities in accessing internet service. The aim of the groundbreaking project is to reveal if Americans are getting what they’re paying for when it comes to high-speed internet service and to ensure fair broadband internet in the United States — making it more affordable, and more accessible, for everyone.
Broadband Together launched in July and will continue through September with a goal of gathering 30,000 records from broadband customers nationally. By participating in the national initiative and encouraging residents to participate, Western New York will be represented in the data that will be used to advocate for improved internet for all. The initiative includes an interactive website BroadbandTogether.Org, that asks the public to take an internet speed test, upload a copy of their internet bill, and take a short questionnaire. By comparing thousands of consumer bills, benchmarks can be developed around the cost of service to better understand how and why prices vary.
The Foundation was introduced to Broadband Together through an ongoing partnership with Community Tech NY (CTNY), an organization that works with organizations to co-design and co-build tech infrastructure and conducts applied research on broadband initiatives for grounded policy analysis and program evaluation. The Foundation’s work with CTNY began in 2020 in response to growing technology needs in the wake of the pandemic and has included conducting a digital needs assessment in partnership with community members, stakeholders, and partner institutions; developing a local digital equity plan and recommendations for implementation; and developing a pilot project for a community-led wireless broadband network.
Participating in the initiative takes only minutes and safeguards to ensure privacy are in place. To participate click here.