Contact: Deb Socia, Next Century Cities; (617) 251-8358


#MobileOnly Challenge to Kickoff in January 2018, Protesting FCC’s Plan to Lower Broadband Quality Standards

FCC Commissioners Clyburn and Rosenworcel to Participate, Going One Day Accessing Internet Only on Mobile Device


December 18, 2017 (Washington, DC) — Ten public interest organizations focused on high-quality broadband for all Americans announced today that they will be leading a #MobileOnly Challenge in January and asking Americans to participate. The Challenge will call attention to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposal to lower broadband standards and consider an internet connection on a single mobile device the same as a “fixed” broadband connection at someone’s home.


FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel have already committed to take the #MobileOnly challenge in January and encouraged others to do the same. Commissioner Clyburn stated: “I am ready and excited to participate in the #MobileOnly challenge. Contrary to those who claim that mobile broadband services provide effective competitive pressure on fixed broadband providers, promoting deployment of mobile broadband services alone is not sufficient to bridge digital divides in underserved rural and urban communities. By standing together through this movement, we will demonstrate why it is so essential for all Americans to have access to a robust fixed broadband connection.”


The public interest leaders of the #MobileOnly Challenge include: Next Century Cities, Public Knowledge, New America’s Open Technology Institute, the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC), the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, Mobile Citizen, and EveryoneOn.


The #MobileOnly Challenge, which will run January 1 through January 31, 2018, will have participants spend one day accessing the internet via only their mobile device — foregoing desktop devices or laptops with fixed connections — and to document their experience using the hashtag #MobileOnly. Individuals, families, and organizations can pledge to take the challenge, commit to a day in January that they will go mobile only, and learn more at


The Challenge seeks to draw attention to the significant and numerous limitations of mobile-only service that many Americans face daily. It also will highlight just one way FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is making it harder for Americans to get the high-quality internet access that is now critical in daily life.


“A home connection to fast, affordable, and reliable broadband is essential for families across the country,” says Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “Lowering the broadband standard would prevent Americans from accessing the full economic, educational, and social benefits of the internet, and would exacerbate the existing digital divide. We encourage everyone to take the #MobileOnly Challenge, and spend a day experiencing what so many Americans face and what Chairman Pai thinks is acceptable.”


The FCC’s proposal, outlined in the Section 706 Notice of Inquiry, released earlier in 2017, would lower the standard for what is considered acceptable broadband access. Chairman Pai’s plan suggests that Americans who have access to 10/1 Mbps speeds over mobile internet service could be considered equally “served” as households that have access to 25/3 Mbps, fixed connection broadband, which is the current broadband standard.


# # #

Next Century Cities is a non-profit membership organization of over 180 communities, founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable internet access. Next Century Cities celebrates broadband successes in communities, demonstrates their value, and helps other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit