What Is Local Internet Choice?
The traditional model of broadband deployment, where private-sector investment flows to the areas that produce the highest returns, has worked in some parts of the country, but it has also left many communities without competitive options for broadband services and in some cases without any option at all. This “connectivity gap” is most acute in America’s low-income and rural communities.
The Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) seeks to build understanding and consensus on the need for local broadband decision-making. CLIC focuses on positive, non-partisan themes—the benefits of advanced communications capabilities; the value of cooperation between the public and private sectors; critical importance of preparing for the future of work. CLIC backs up its advocacy with the best available research and a wealth of case histories.
At CLIC, we believe that communities should be free to seek a range of options for obtaining the best broadband infrastructure they deem necessary—by working with willing incumbents, by entering into public private-partnerships of various kinds, by deploying broadband themselves, or by developing other creative alternatives. This is Local Internet Choice.
What Does CLIC Do?
State Legislative Battles
More than 20 states currently have industry-promoted barriers to community broadband initiatives and public-private broadband partnerships, and several other state legislatures consider such legislation every year. These anticompetitive laws are bad for the communities involved, bad for the private sector, particularly the high tech industry, and bad for America’s global competitiveness. CLIC assists localities in opposing new and existing barriers by organizing opposition from a growing number of prominent companies and national associations, including Google, Neflix, Indeed, and others. CLIC also assists our local allies with analyzing proposed legislation, drafting alternatives, developing strategies, identifying and preparing witnesses, preparing talking points, etc.
CLIC has developed several key papers that have helped to shape the conversation around community-led broadband initiatives as a matter of economic importance that cannot be defined by a single model or community. In addition, CLIC responds to campaigns that seek to mischaracterize community broadband efforts as wasteful, inefficient, or anti-competitive. In our blog and newsletters, CLIC also publishes articles from prominent thought-leaders in our field. In addition, CLIC hosts a webinar series, a bi-annual day-long conference, and frequently advises our allies on broadband matters.
CLIC’s state chapters arose organically from the desire of our members to organize under the CLIC banner at the state level. The state chapters host regular lunches with community leaders, have built their own web presence, and next spring, our first state chapter, CLIC-NC, will host a statewide conference.
How You Can Help?
CLIC’s leadership has set three major goals for the next twelve months: Defeat all new proposed state barriers, roll back as many existing state barriers as possible, and continue building a national consensus on the need for and benefits of local Internet choice. We need your help. Please call or write to us to discuss ways that we can work together to achieve these goals.