Genachowski, Copps, Address Role of Broadband in Aiding Minority Communities

Broadband's Impact, FCC, National Broadband Plan September 23rd, 2009

, Reporter-Researcher,

WASHINGTON, September 23, 2009 – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski on Tuesday highlighted the importance of a robust broadband network for issues pertaining to security, safety and the provision of healthcare.

“But we cannot have the provision of these services without access to broadband to all people. To have electronic medical records, for instance, will require the health facility to be connected to internet,” said Genachowski during a luncheon address.

He was speaking at an event of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. Genachowski and FCC Commissioner Michael Copps also addressed the role that broadband could play in reaching out to minority communities.

The time couldn’t be more opportune for change towards a more internet and broadband connected America, said Copps. He also highlighted the role of good data in driving towards the national broadband plan. He also said the agency is happy, so far, with the contributions to the agency’s workshops on broadband.

“All the new breakthroughs that we see today have involved people working together,” said Copps. “At the FCC, we are continually welcoming recommendations that will help provide access to internet to minority communities all over America.”

“The challenge of providing broadband is to our generation the challenge that faced provision of roads, rail and electricity to eras past,” Copps commented, noting that the process towards a national broadband policy should be one that is open and inclusive to all Americans, and should be one that is by and for the people of America.

“It is time we got out of the beltway cocoon, and spread the message on the importance of broadband to people’s lives,” he said.

Agency Commissioner Mignon Clyburn had addressed the group, a leading research and public policy institution focusing on concerns of African Americans and minorities, on Monday.

Nicole Turner-Lee, vice president and director of Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, asked internet providers to make their services directly accessible to consumers at community-based organizations as well as through more conventional channels.

“Broadband needs to be local,” she said. “The access needs be coupled with relevant online content, digital literacy training that nurtures a culture of internet use.” She also pointed that key areas that can improve the quality of people’s lives need be availed through this medium.

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