March 9, 2016
WASHINGTON — Today, President Obama unveiled ConnectALL, an initiative to help Americans from across the country, at every income level, get online and have the tools to take full advantage of the Internet. ConnectALL includes several components, including a public call for modernization of the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline program to include broadband service and a national service effort to deliver digital literacy skills through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
As part of that announcement, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), the President’s advisor on telecommunications and Internet policy issues, also launched the Community Connectivity Initiative. Through the initiative, NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program is partnering with a number of civic organizations and cities and towns to create a comprehensive assessment tool to help community leaders identify critical broadband needs and connect them with expertise, tools and resources for overcoming the challenges to expanded access and adoption. OTI is honored to join a number of other notable stakeholders as official collaborators with NTIA on this initiative.
The following quote can be attributed to Sarah Morris, Senior Counsel and Director of Open Internet Policy for New America’s Open Technology Institute:
OTI is thrilled to support NTIA in its Community Connectivity Initiative, and pleased that President Obama is prioritizing the next phase of policy reforms to connect 20 million more Americans to the Internet by 2020. Broadband access is no longer a luxury -- it is an integral part of our daily lives, and an opportunity to spur economic growth and access to the breadth of knowledge online. Unfortunately, millions of people across the United States lack even the most basic broadband access. Bridging the digital divide requires a multifaceted approach to address the myriad barriers to equitable access. Even as the FCC completes its critical reforms to lower the cost of Internet service through the Lifeline program, much more must be done.
The role of communities in improving broadband access and adoption outcomes cannot be overlooked, and NTIA’s approach through the Community Connectivity Initiative will be instrumental in evaluating and synthesizing the important efforts on the ground all across the country. The resulting comprehensive understanding of these community-specific solutions will be a key component of future policy efforts.