WASHINGTON, September 17, 2010 – FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told a group of top sellers on eBay this week that they, more than anyone, know about the importance of broadband to the success of the nation’s economy, jobs and future of small business.
“Your businesses exist because of broadband internet,” he said in a speech in Washington, joking that before eBay re-gifting “was nothing more than a punchline on Seinfeld.”
However, he noted that he wasn’t there just to praise eBay, but to highlight the people and infrastructure that have made its success possible – small business owners and broadband.
“Mobile broadband also helps you reach your customers when they are on the move,” he said. EBay’s iPhone app has been downloaded 12 million times and eBay sales on smartphones are expected to top $1.5 billion this year.
Genachowski said that despite the successes, the United States has a problem with broadband infrastructure, adoption, access, speeds, digital literacy and affordability.
He said that his agency’s National Broadband Plan aims to improve broadband knowledge among small businesses by calling for increased availability of digital training for small firms. The FCC is working with the Small Business Administration to launch a public/private partnership called the e-Business Now program to help small businesses adopt broadband and e-commerce technologies.
Beginning in November, this program will launch in-person and online workshops, provide one on one coaching and publish how-to guides for small business owners.
Genachowski said the agency is seeking comment from broadband business providers, customers and others about the delivery of broadband business throughout the nation.
“Few things have greater potential to unleash the ingenuity of America’s small business owners than driving world-leading broadband deployment and adoption,” he said.