Better Broadband Better Lives

Minority Groups Band Together to Obtain BTOP Funds

in Recovery Act by

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2010 – The Broadband Opportunity Coalition, a new coalition of civil rights organizations, announced a plan to promote Broadband adoption and literacy among minority and disadvantaged communities. The coalition was formed in response to encouragement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for groups to coalesce around shared goals.

The group plans to engage the policy arena with several key initiatives. The first is an educational program designed to reach “public policy makers and decision makers in the public and private sectors of the importance of broadband,” according to coalition spokesman and president of the National Urban League Marc Morial. Also involved in this educational initiative will be a grassroots push for further broadband adoption within targeted disadvantaged communities.

The second element of the group’s strategy is institutional, as the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council filed two pleadings with the FCC calling for new hearings on broadband within disadvantaged communities. One proposal calls for 15 new hearings, with 8 taking place in urban areas and 7 taking place in rural areas.

The coalition has already made plans for further educational outreach, should broadband access be expanded to minority/disadvantaged communities in the way they have advocated. Coalition member Rey Ramsey noted that, once the cost issues surrounding hardware and infrastructure have been resolved, the group will employ young people to act as “broadband ambassadors” to train older citizens.

"What we are looking to do is make sure we focus like a laser beam on broadband to make sure it is available, it is affordable, and we adopt it,” Ramsey said.

Mytheos Holt recently graduated from Wesleyan University with a B.A. in Government and History, receiving high honors in Government. He served as a weekly columnist at the Wesleyan Argus, Wesleyan University's campus-wide newspaper, and founded the Wesleyan Witness political commentary magazine. He is originally from Big Sur, Calif., and currently resides in Washington, D.C.

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