In 2012 the GOP's official platform didn't say much about broadband. In fact, in the 62-page, roughly 30,000-word document detailing the party's various policy stances, the word "broadband" only appeared once. In 2016, things are a little different. The platform dedicates far more space to talk of expanding internet access. It even calls for reforms that would help the Internet of Things "thrive."
There is little in the way of specific policy proposals, which is to be expected of a document that attempts to encompass the party's position on almost every issue imaginable. Not surprisingly the platform focuses on market reforms and private business solutions. Republicans are not calling for massive investments from the government, subsidies for the poor or the expansion of municipal broadband programs. Instead, the party is focusing on increasing access to wireless spectrum for wireless providers and encouraging competition in a "open market."
The document chastises the current administration for failing to do enough to "advance our goal of universal broadband coverage." And cites in particular the failure to cover rural areas which have had traditionally had trouble attracting service from landline internet providers. It also claims that 10 million Americans have ditched wired broadband over the last 10 years as we've begun to rely more on mobile broadband. Which makes its calls for opening up spectrum in order to pave "the way for high-speed, next-generation broadband" all the more critical for the party's plans to connect the entire country to the web.
One phrase you will not find in the document is "net neutrality." That's hardly a shock considering almost every Republican has come out swinging hard against the regulation. While the platform does not explicitly call for repealing neutrality rules, it does call for "competition on the internet and for internet services," which could indicate that net neutrality's days could be numbered under a Trump administration if the GOP maintains control of both the House and the Senate.