Developing A Broadband Policy That Benefits the LGBT Community

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

“We’re changing the world with technology” – Bill Gates

There is no doubt that the way we communicate has changed drastically over the years, even if some of the changes have been so gradual that we do not notice it on a day by day basis. We take for granted the ability to access the Internet, stream HD movies and videos, and download digital content, all seamlessly and at blazing fast speeds, through our smartphones, tablets and computers even though none of this was possible even a few short years ago. Beyond convenience, however, the rapid changes in technology have transformed the ways that communities, including our LGBT community, communicate, disseminate information, gather, organize and eventually evolve. It is this ability to transform lives and communities that may eventually be recognized as one of the most important results of the rapid technological advancement we are currently experiencing. LGBT Tech recently attended a panel call the Faces of Innovation on Capitol Hill that was held to educate Washington on the importance of broadband for high-tech innovation. At the event, Brett Swanson, CEO of Entropy Economics, released a paper that highlights the connection between broadband investment and innovation. He points out that private companies have invested more than $1 trillion over the past fifteen years which has resulted in vigorous competition among technology providers such as broadband, DSL, satellite, cable and wireless. Without this competition, companies would not be forced to invest in new technologies, nor continue to build out networks or provide faster service. The increase in competition spurs important investment in our networks. It is precisely this competition and constant race to improve technology through innovation and investment that has benefited the LGBT community the most by providing increased technological availability (almost universal connectivity even in rural areas at high connection speeds) at ever-increasing affordability (cheaper prices for greater access). Today LGBT individuals across the country form a national community; however, this was not always the case. Before high-speed broadband was widely available, LGBT groups across the country were limited in their options to meet others and were therefore more isolated and restricted geographically. Increased access to the Internet and faster connection speeds have been major catalysts in helping to build a nationwide community of support and advocacy. According to Bret Swanson, our broadband infrastructure has been made possible by robust competition, ever evolving technology and private investment. Without the investment i