The Allied Media Conference is a unique gathering for some of the most passionate media activists from across the country. The conference is one of the few spaces where the role of media is fully analyzed: its applications in our everyday lives, its impact on other social justice issues, and the public policies affecting us all. This year, I was lucky to get a chance to discuss the latter — specifically the importance of state legislation in this effort — as a Media Action Grassroots Network delegate. My goal was to remind attendees that, as the most involved advocates in their communities, they have the power to shape the policy that is created at the state and local level.
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.
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
The FCC has been holding a series of workshops in an effort to collect information that will be useful in the creation of a National BroadbandPlan. On September 1st, state and local telecommunications officialsparticipated in a workshop entitled State and Local Governments: Toolkits and Best Practices,at which the FCC aimed to learn from the experiences of state and localgovernments that have proactively addressed broadband deployment andadoption issues in their communities.
This Dispatch will outline how funds allocated in the ARRA aim to support broadband initiatives and how states can leverage broadband to create efficiencies, increase opportunities and begin to bridge a major resource divide in our country by implementing progressive broadband initiatives.