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
States and local governments may now use federal E-rate funds to
provide the general public access to schools’ and public libraries’
Internet facilities, according to a recent Federal Communications Commission order.
Schools receiving funding under the E-rate program may extend their
services to the general public during non-operating hours, that is,
after school, weekends, holidays, and summer vacation.
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.
As this Dispatch will highlight, the first step is to fund jobs
that support long-term economic competitiveness, notably by investing
in people and physical infrastructure. While the economic climate for
profit-making business opportunities is more limited, investments in
education, health care, transit and energy efficiency can create
immediate jobs while strengthening building blocks for long-term