Universal Basic Internet

04 Jun

There’s a lot of chatter around what kind of stimulus is needed to save the economy and ensure financially vulnerable Americans can retain some degree of stability. Talks have included everything from long-term rent delays to a universal basic income (UBI). But if policymakers want to do more than just keep the floor from falling out and start laying the groundwork for an actual recovery, then they ought to be discussing a different UBI as well: Universal Basic Internet.

Know more: what is NOC?

Just as the electrification of America brought the nation out of the Great Depression, the Wi-Fi-cation of the nation can ease us out of the COVID-19 collapse. Consider that in 1932, a mere 10% of rural Americans had electricity. As a result, a divide in opportunity emerged: On one hand, city-dwellers had the modern infrastructure required to enjoy a standard of living that would allow them to fully pursue the American Dream; on the other, millions of Americans were literally in the dark (or, at least, candle-lit dimness).

That’s why the electrification of American became a central plank of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Great Depression recovery plan. But his plan wasn’t just to turn the lights on, it was to empower communities by making them the owners of their newly generated electricity. So under FDR’s guidance, Congress created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA).

The REA didn’t just barge into rural towns, install electricity and leave. Instead, the REA took two critical steps to make it a truly transformative agency: (1) it employed and empowered community members and (2) it taught people how to make the most of their newfound light. On step one, the REA relied on local partners to organize cooperatives that would supply the labor to build their community’s own electricity system.what is NOC

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