Broadband Plan Commentary: The Transmission Project

Broadband Plan Commentary, Expert Opinion, National Broadband Plan March 29th, 2010


Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of guest commentaries on the National Broadband Plan, and appears by special invitation of Neither nor endorse the views in this commentary. We invite officials, experts and individuals interested in the state of broadband to offer commentaries of their own. To offer a commentary, please e-mail Not all commentaries may be published.

By Transmission Project Executive Director Belinda Rawlins

The Transmission Project congratulates the Federal Communications Commission on its formal release of a National Broadband Plan. We honor the Commission for its planning approach, making sure that voices inside and outside of Washington, D.C., were included in the process using a range of media, including in-person conversation.

The emphasis on creating value, improving care and maximizing consumer welfare is an environment where connectivity is presumed and expected represents a dramatic shift in perspective for the Commission and is to be lauded. Capitalizing on available resources and opportunities such as wireless backhaul spectrum, “dig once” policies and existing community institutions and programs working to increase civic engagement is indeed the most efficient path forward toward reaching the goals set forth.

We do hope that greater emphasis and clarity will develop in the strategies to ensure affordability to low-income Americans and support them in adoption. The proposed National Digital Literacy Corps, much like the Transmission Project’s own Digital Arts Service Corps, is an important tool to support not only individual skill development, but also to strengthen organizations and schools to increase civic engagement and create content for the cinstitutenties that trust them in their communities.

With the launch of the National Broadband Plan, some believe that the hard work is just beginning. In the field we know that the hard work continues and that this plan will help to lay a foundation for renewed support of this work.

The Transmission Project for 10 years has worked to build the capacity of nonprofit organizations that use media and technology to strengthen communities. The Boston-based group’s primary initiative is the Digital Arts Service Corps, which recruits and places full-time, on-site AmeriCorps VISTA members to build the strength and community impact of low-power radio stations, media arts centers, rural broadband initiatives and media reform policy advocates through defined capacity-building projects.

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