FCC's Clyburn rebukes ISPs for broadband rate hike

Nevertheless, broadband affordability has become a signature issue for the FCC, as its commissioners have routinely stressed cost as the primary impediment for high-speed Internet adoption nationwide.

Consequently, the FCC intends to debut a host of suggestions aimed at increasing broadband access and decreasing prices as part of its National Broadband Plan, due to Congress next week. One of those ideas might include the creation of a low-cost or free broadband service for Americans who cannot otherwise afford Web access, according to reports.

But Clyburn on Wednesday hinted at a second tool: measures to spur industry competition. She stressed in her statement that recent price increases by every major broadband carrier calls into question "whether there is any meaningful competition in the marketplace" at all.

"When prices rise across the industry, and where there are only a limited number of players in the game, we have to ask ourselves whether there is any meaningful competition in the marketplace," Clyburn said.

"If we fail to think deeply about these issues, consumers will suffer, and low-income Americans in particular will be left long behind," she added.