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.
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.
According to The Wall Street Journal, "Fed and Treasury
officials have identified the disease. It's called de-leveraging, or
the unwinding of debt. During the credit boom, financial institutions
and American households took on too much debt." But let's not buy into a false equivalence of "financial
institutions" and those "American households" borrowing beyond their
Wide-spread adoptionof affordable high-speed Internet can be a key tool to rejuvenate laggingeconomies and sustain state commerce. It is estimated that widespread adoption of high-speed Internet will add$134billion to the U.S. economy annually and create 1.2 million new jobs per year. Further, high-speed Internet can be keyto drawing new businesses to an area, no matter how remote or small. As evidence of the impact of high-speedInternet on individual communities, a recentstudyfoundthat for every 1% point increase in state high-speed Internet penetration,employment is projected to increase by 0.2% to 0.3%. Further, the availability of high-speed Internet incommunities added over a 0.5%increasein the growth of business establishments.