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  • Law, Policy -- and IT?

    Tracy Mitrano explores the intersection where higher education, the Internet and the world meet (and sometimes collide).

F.C.C. Notice of Inquiry for Broadband Deployment
May 3, 2011 - 9:45am

On April 7 of this year, the F.C.C. filed a Notice of Inquiry regarding "key challenges and best practices in expanding the reach and reducing the cost of broadband deployment by improving government policies for access to rights of way and wireless facilities siting." Every citizen, school, K-12, municipality, college and university should file a response.

Why? Because the United States continues to fall behind in broadband deployment worldwide. Because broadband deployment is a critical infrastructure for U.S. communication, education, civic participation and cultural experience. People connected, educated and participating in this global culture in areas around the world already have more in common with each other, notwithstanding language barriers or religious differences, than between people who live in their own community five to ten miles down the road who are not connected to the Internet or who do not have the information fluency skills to use the technology. No county or community can afford ethically, politically or financially to leave so many people behind.

How? If your organization does not have the knowledge or experience in filing notices, you can begin to educate yourself here:

Not to minimize how intimidating a filing might be for the uninitiated, it is also important to emphasize that these filings are not a test of grammar or writing skills. Getting the idea across in plain language is the point. If you as a citizen simply want to say: "I want my child to have access to the Internet and there is no Internet where I live, find a way to help me!" that does it. Making the point is more important than how stylistically it is made.

By the same token, there are often people in a community who do know formal methods by which to submit responses. Call them. Write them. Get them involved. A parent of a child should ask their teacher. Teachers should ask principals. Principals should ask school superintendents. Superintendents should seek out government leaders in their municipalities. Government leaders in small municipalities should seek out colleagues in larger ones, or lawyers in their area especially those who deal with municipal law, or in this case communications or Internet or intellectual property law (because the Internet brings all of these areas of the law together). Colleges and universities should, if they don't have the resources, work with the municipal entities that do, or visa versa. This issue affects everyone, and like little else in politics today, it makes apparent the connections between us instead of stressing the distinctions that separate us. It is time to see that the whole is greater than the sum of parts of our county around this issue.

When? Now! The time period to do so is 60 days. There is not much time left, so let's get moving!


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