The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week unveiled the
long-awaited plan with a vast array of information and recommendations
to address these problems, as well as approaches to maximize the
economic and social gains from broadband adoption.
While building a green economy is often discussed as a distinct goal from investing in broadband or overcoming the growing digital divide in our society, new communication technologies are actually a critical part of making our energy-hungry economy more sustainable and energy-efficient.
Deploying broadband and related communication technologies, including
smart meters in the home and smart grids to upgrade our power grid,
have the potential of revolutionizing energy management and economic
development, according to a new report by the Progressive States Network released in association with our partners, Communications Workers of America, the Sierra Club and the Blue Green Alliance. Last
Thursday, leaders from those organizations convened at a panel on
Capitol Hill, hosted by U.S. Representative Edward Markey, Chairman
of the U.S. House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global
Warming, and joined by Nick Sinai, Director of Energy and Environment
for the FCC's Broadband Strategy Plan, to discuss the findings of the
report entitled Networking the Green Economy
This Dispatch highlights the trends in the initial grants
when it comes to mapping, deployment and adoption broadband, outline
broadband policies that states have been pursuing (using federal and
state funding), and why these broadband investments are so critical to
the long-term economy of our states.
With the passage of HB 1701 the Washington State legislature once again demonstrated its understandingthat when combating the digital divide states must not just addressaccess issues, but must also focus on dealing with the barriers to broadband adoption by individuals.
The recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has earmarked an unprecedented amount of money to broadband and associated technology programs. This recognition of the role broadband currently plays and will play in all aspects of our lives, from energy management to healthcare, underscores why its imperative for states to think strategically about how to facilitate universal broadband access and adoption and to integrate broadband into numerous state goals.