#MobileOnly Challenge

Download the updated social media toolkit here!


UPDATE: The FCC has announced it will maintain the federal broadband standard of 25/3 Mbps. Read the FCC’s Fact Sheet here, and Chairman Ajit Pai’s statement here. Find Next Century Cities’ press release here

Take the #MobileOnly Challenge


Pledge to spend one day in January 2018 accessing the internet only on your mobile device to show the FCC that mobile service isn’t a substitute for a fixed home internet connection.

The #MobileOnly Challenge is now closed. Please go to https://nextcenturycities.org/ to learn more about digital equity. Thank you!

What's going on at the FCC?

While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced on January 18, 2018 that they would maintain the federal broadband speed standard of 25/3 Mbps, there are still 24 million Americans who lack access to broadband.

Mobile service as it is currently available to consumers does not provide equitable access to the internet when compared to a fixed home connection. Significant limitations of mobile service, including prohibitive cost, unreliable service, data caps and limited accessibility, should disqualify mobile service as a substitute for fixed home broadband.

Americans know they cannot rely on their mobile service alone for all their online needs. People need fast, robust internet connections for everyday tasks like applying for jobs, doing homework, or streaming videos. With such low standards, the FCC would have no obligation to ensure broadband providers are building out faster internet connections, disproportionately disadvantaging rural and low-income Americans who are hardest for broadband providers to reach.

Why should I care?

Mobile only access is not enough for people to fully participate in the 21st century digital economy. A fixed home broadband connection is necessary to reap the social, educational, and economic benefits of the internet. Many Americans who rely on a mobile-only internet connection do not do so by choice. Fixed broadband is often cost prohibitive or simply unavailable.

Take a look at these statistics from the Pew Research Center: “In 2016, one-fifth of adults living in households earning less than $30,000 a year were “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they owned a smartphone but did not have broadband internet at home. This represents an increase from 12% in 2013. In contrast, only 4% of those living in households earning $100,000 or more fell into this category in either year.”

Asking Americans to rely on mobile subscriptions alone to access the internet ignores the real limitations, speeds, and caps that come with mobile service.

What can I do to help?

Participate in the #MobileOnly Challenge by pledging to spend one day in January 2018 using ONLY your mobile device to access the internet and sharing your experiences on social media using #MobileOnly.

This challenge draws attention to the severe limitations of mobile-only service and the persistent broadband affordability and accessibility gaps in the United States

After you complete the challenge, challenge your friends and networks to take it as well. Then tell the FCC and Congress that now is not the time to lower the country’s broadband standards – Americans deserve more than mobile only, low-quality internet!

Download our social media toolkit here (including graphics, sample tweets, out-of-office messages, and more), and start posting about your #MobileOnly experience!


Sample Social Media Posts

  • Mobile service on a smartphone is not an adequate replacement for a home internet connection. I’m spending one day using #MobileOnly to tell the @FCC that all Americans deserve better.
  • Many Americans rely on #MobileOnly internet service every day, despite prohibitive cost, unreliable service, data caps and limited accessibility. Tell the @FCC that we need fast, affordable, and reliable home internet access for all Americans.
  • I’m spending one day using #MobileOnly internet service to show the @FCC that the country needs better. We shouldn’t ask Americans to do homework, job search, and more on a mobile device. Join me at MobileOnlyChallenge.com.

Custom Email Out-of-Office Message

Hello, and thank you for your message. Please note that my response may be delayed, as today I am accessing the internet only on my phone as part of the #MobileOnly Challenge. This challenge protests the notion that mobile service on someone’s smartphone could be an adequate replacement for a fixed home internet connection. Learn more at MobileOnlyChallenge.com, and tell the FCC that Americans deserve better with the hashtag #MobileOnly.