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
Wireless and wired technologies allow municipalities to offer a means to bridge the digital divide. Communities are now building their own wired and/or wireless “Community Internet” systems, using fiber optic cables or unlicensed space on the public airways to provide dependable high-speed Internet connections to homes all across America.
Municipalities seeking to provide affordable high-speed Internet to their residents have had to deal with special interest legislation at the state level designed to shut down municipal networks. In an effort to stifle competition and protect their profits, service providers are pushing bills in state legislatures that would prohibit communities from setting up high-speed Internet networks, prevent competition and undercut local control--even in rural and low-income areas not currently served by large providers. More than a dozen states now have laws on the books restricting cities and towns from building their own high-speed Internet networks.