The Connected Nation Blog: September 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

With an Eye to America's Future Economic Prosperity Congress Unanimously Passes Historic Broadband Legislation

Today, S1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act, passed the Senate unanimously after moving through the House yesterday in the same fashion – and is now on its way to the President’s desk. As such, every member of Congress has promoted the importance of broadband and the related technologies that are enabled when communities and families have the ability and desire to connect to a world of opportunity.

Whenever a broad coalition has invested greatly in successfully promoting policy that is of personal importance and relevance we are easily given to lofty praise and accolades of the highest kind. Today, that inclination is only fueled, not dampened, by the current economic crisis facing the United States.

One of the hallmarks of American fortitude is that even in the face of divisive debate our nation’s leaders are capable of working together to promote and enable a vision for a better tomorrow.

For the United States, this new broadband policy will mean better education, more jobs, improved healthcare, more efficient government and a better quality of life accessible for all Americans, regardless of their location or socio-economic circumstances.

Connected Nation has been but only a part of ensuring that Congress would take such a bold step to ensuring the strength of America’s leadership in a global and intensely connected economy.

To the numerous individuals and organizations who have invested so much time and energy into the process of shaping and promoting a national broadband policy we offer heartfelt gratitude. Moreover, to the Members of Congress, particularly the sponsors and the members of the committees of jurisdiction and their staff who have invested so much as well, we are indeed appreciative and humbled by your service to the country. Connected Nation will work doggedly to make certain that the return is high on this investment in progress.

Now is the time to put our shoulder into the work before us. We look forward to continuing this effort with such an esteemed and broad coalition as together we engage with communities across the nation to ensure that all of our citizens are able to access the promise of innovation and ingenuity - the promise of the American dream.

Thank You.
Brian Mefford

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Need for Broadband Transcends Cities, Towns, and Communities

Mark McElroy's post on NextGenWeb today is below and at

Access to broadband, and furthermore use of broadband, is imperative for U.S. citizens to maintain their competitive edge in an increasingly global economy. Broadband allows educational, employment and healthcare opportunities that would otherwise remain out of reach for many. At Connected Nation, our goal is ubiquitous broadband availability and a radical increase in household and business broadband adoption, and we realize that collecting accurate data and mapping out broadband penetration is an important first step. There is good news on this front as the Congress is poised to give final approval to S.1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act.

At Connected Nation, I have personally seen communities go to great lengths to gain access to broadband. I have pictures of telecom workers using mules to run fiber in hilly rural Kentucky. I have pictures of entire towns turning out to receive their broadband matching grants. I have met Valerie Davis. Valerie has multiple sclerosis, but with broadband she can work from home, and care for her children, and maintain a sense of normalcy that before broadband was unattainable.

These stories and thousands of others show that the need for broadband transcends cities, towns, and communities. It’s not just urban areas who want and need broadband. Urban and rural areas, alike, have much to benefit and gain from broadband deployment and use. We have seen in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio that public-private partnerships can help us reach our collective goal of a connected nation, but I cannot stress enough the need for effective broadband mapping policies and the critical role of public/private partnerships. S. 1492 is a positive step forward in the right direction.

Based on what we have seen that has proven effective, four principles are necessary to create an effective broadband mapping policy. First, it must be relevant to consumers - consumers need to be able to see that they can indeed get broadband at their address. Second, it must be relevant to providers - we need to be able to demonstrate where and why providers should extend and improve their networks. Third, we need to make it relevant to policy makers - we must assure policy makers that there is suitable infrastructure throughout the country and help pinpoint rural and other areas where public resources may be necessary. Fourth, we need to incorporate digital literacy – understanding that access to broadband’s opportunities hinges not only on connectivity, but understanding how to use that foundation to lead a higher quality of life. Mapping policies that serve the needs of consumers, the public sector, the private sector, and communities, can make national broadband deployment a reality.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Connected Nation Praises the Congress for Acting on Broadband Legislation, Urges the Senate to Act Swiftly to Finalize S 1492

As Congress has worked on several pieces of “must-pass” legislation over the last several days, the Senate and House have worked to finalize a broadband bill that will provide funding for statewide initiatives that will accelerate broadband and produce a positive financial impact that Connected Nation has estimated to be $134 billion annually across the nation.

Last week the U.S. Senate passed S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act. The text of S. 1965, a bill intended to protect children from cybercrime, was also included in the Senate passed version of S. 1492.

Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 1492 with a technical correction that requires the Senate to pass the new amended version. The technical correction, which pertained to the portion of the bill containing S. 1965, did not impact the Broadband Data Improvement Act’s provisions, and we are hopeful the Senate will act swiftly to pass S. 1492 and send it to the White House for the President’s signature.

A broad coalition comprised of all sectors of the telecommunications community including labor, industry, numerous interest groups and Connected Nation has worked cohesively to press the importance of this bill and the need to finalize it before Congress adjourns this year. The Broadband Data Improvement Act recognizes the value and need for public-private partnerships in a national broadband strategy, as well as the need to focus on both the supply of and demand for high-speed Internet at the community level. Passage of S1492 will create a national broadband map and will spur the creation of statewide broadband initiatives in all 50 states.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

US Chamber Calls for Passage of S1492 Broadband Legislation


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region, strongly supports S. 1492, the “Broadband Data Improvement Act,” which would authorize funding to states for public-private partnerships focused on identifying gaps in broadband coverage and on increasing the supply of and demand for broadband in these areas.

A February 2008 study released by Connected Nation, a national non-profit, estimated the total annual economic impact of accelerating broadband across the U.S. to be more than $134 billion.

The Chamber believes telecommunications is the central nervous system of the U.S. economy. In particular, broadband applications and services have the power to transform the American economy by spurring investment and innovation in sectors across the economy, including e-commerce, education, healthcare, communications, entertainment, and government. A broadband connection allows businesses, no matter how small or where they are located, to sell to customers everywhere.

Fostering public-private partnerships will spur broadband deployment and adoption across the United States. Therefore, the Chamber urges you to support S. 1492.

R. Bruce Josten

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Congress Has Opportunity to Connect the Nation

Below from Link Hoewing over at the Verizon Policy Blog

Last night during the first presidential debate, Senator Barack Obama included the deployment of broadband technology to all Americans as one of the economic priorities he would establish if he became President. Senator John McCain supports the deployment of broadband technology and calls it a “top priority” to ensure deployment as widely as possible.

All year, both house of Congress have been considering legislation that would, among other things, establish grant programs to support mapping initiatives in the states to identify gaps in broadband deployment and to help fund the efforts of groups in the states, like Connected Nation, focused on promoting the deployment of broadband. The legislation, S. 1492, has passed the Senate and is now pending in the House. Over the last several years, we have made great progress in a number of states in promoting broadband deployment using mapping strategies and “e-teams” focused on encouraging deployment and helping people get training and PCs so they can take advantage of broadband.

There is abundant evidence that broadband technology can promote economic growth, energy efficiency, improved education programs and better health care. The multiplier effects of broadband technology are immense. Relatively small investments in broadband can encourage substantial returns in economic growth, new jobs and innovation. Dozens of organizations – from the Alliance for Public Technology to the Communications Workers of America to companies like Verizon and Cisco – support S. 1492. Congress can take a big step to promote a healthy economy by passing this legislation and I hope it does so today.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

US Chamber of Commerce Partners with Connected Nation

From Jason Goldman at the US Chamber of Commerce

In a BusinessWeek article posted today, Chamber partner Connected Nation received well-deserved recognition for its efforts to promote broadband deployment to underserved rural communities. The lack of broadband not only "makes it harder for businesses to get work done, but also impedes workers' efforts to find jobs [and] puts students at a disadvantage." For households with only dial-up Internet available to them, actually driving to the office or someplace else with a broadband connection might actually take less time than waiting at home for videos, photos, and other large files to be received or sent.

The Chamber supports the public-private partnership model set forth by Connected Nation and earlier this year, partnered with the organization on the Connect! campaign, a national tour to promote broadband connectivity, and its benefits to education, healthcare, agriculture, business and the U.S. economy. Read more about Connect! at

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

US Senate Commerce Committee Hearing “Why Broadband Matters”

Today, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing designed to take a step back, look at the larger picture, and examine the importance of broadband in the daily lives of Americans. Chairman Daniel Inouye (HI–D) captured it well in his opening remarks – “This is why our discussion today is not about pipes and providers. It is about people; our citizens stand to gain the most from universal broadband adoption.”

Representatives of the AARP, the American Library Association, the American Telemedicine Association and the head of an Alaskan health corporation (which relies on distance medicine to effectively treat 28,000 patients in a geographic area the size of Oregon) all hammered home the point that broadband services are critical to healthcare, employment, education and quality of life for everyone in the United States. They told the stories of Americans who directly benefit from broadband.

Rey Ramsey, head of the One Economy Corporation, stressed the importance of broadband policies that focus on aggregating demand for and adoption of broadband services, reiterating a point made often by Connected Nation - local applications that have value and use in day-to-day life drive demand for broadband services. One Economy “is a global nonprofit that leverages the power of technology and information to connect low-income people to the economic mainstream.”

Larry Cohen, the President of the Communications Workers of America, pointed to Connected Nation’s initiative, Connect Ohio, as an example of successful public-private partnerships that bring together the public and private sectors to overcome broadband availability gaps, increase broadband adoption (particularly in low-income and rural populations) and deliver measurable improvements to the American quality of life. Cohen also recommended, as did other witnesses, that the Senate pass S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which would speed the creation of comprehensive broadband initiatives in the states.

The need for a comprehensive broadband initiative across the country is important to many Americans. Connected Nation joined a coalition of thirty-one associations, companies, and non-profits to send a letter to both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on July 11, 2008 calling for the completion of broadband mapping and demand aggregation legislation before the close of the 110th Congress (S. 1492, the Broadband Data Improvement Act; H.R. 3919, the Broadband Census of America Act; or a combination of these two bills).

With time running out before Congress adjourns in advance of the November elections, the time for action is now – a point well made during today’s hearing.

(More information on today’s hearing can be found here: )

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Discussion of HR 3919 in House Commerce Committee

Discussion of HR 3919 in House Commerce CommitteeDiscussion of HR 3919 in House Commerce Comittee. Buzed 0 1 views 0 comments. Click here to watch the video Tags:ConnectKentucky Connected Nation Broadband policy Computers for Kids No Child Left - Recently Added -

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Consumer interest leaders join Connected Nation Board

I’m very pleased to report that today Connected Nation is announcing the addition of three new members to our Board of Directors (details below). Thank you as always for your interest and please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have questions or feedback. Brian

Three new directors representing diverse consumer interests join Connected Nation Board to ensure all Americans have access to broadband and related technology.

Today, Connected Nation, a national 501c3 non-profit known widely for its ability to improve digital inclusion, announces three new members to its Board of Directors:
Ralph B. Everett, President and Chief Executive Officer, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Sally Greenberg, Executive Director, National Consumers League
Kathleen Martinez, Executive Director, World Institute on Disability

The three new directors join U.S. technology leaders representing industry, labor, academia and government, planning for ways to partner to promote access to and use of broadband and related technology. Connected Nation research has indicated that the U.S. economy stands to benefit by $134 billion annually by increasing use of broadband.

“I’m excited about the broad perspectives that our new directors bring to the Connected Nation Board,” said Larry Cohen, President of the Communications Workers of America and also a Connected Nation director. “Having faster broadband available to all Americans must be a national policy priority, and as the Connected Nation Board well represents, the organization is well positioned to play a lead role in ensuring America’s broadband leadership in the years ahead.”

"Broadband access to the digital world is fast becoming a necessity for anyone to fully participate in the nation's economic and civic life,” according to Everett, president and chief executive officer of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, the nation’s premier African American think tank. “By working to expand this access to every American, Connected Nation is creating new pathways to opportunity and new hope to underserved communities, and I am delighted to join in that effort."

Mr. Everett guides the 38-year-old research institution on its mission to improve the socioeconomic status of African Americans and other people of color and expand their effective participation in the politics and public policymaking. A native of Orangeburg, South Carolina, Mr. Everett is a 30-year veteran of the Washington policy scene.

"I look forward to working with Connected Nation to fulfill its all critically important mission of getting rural and urban Americans alike connected to the Internet," Sally Greenberg said. Greenberg serves as the executive director of the National Consumers League (NCL). Ms. Greenberg’s focus at NCL is on four key priority areas: fraud, child labor, LifeSmarts (a program encouraging high school students to learn about the consumer issues) and healthcare forums.

At NCL, Ms. Greenberg has testified before the White House Interagency Working Group on import safety and is NCL’s primary spokesperson on a variety of issues. Formerly, Ms. Greenberg worked at Consumers Union, where she worked on auto safety and legal and liability reform and to improve the legal system for consumers.

“Broadband presents a great opportunity for Americans with disabilities, in particular the opportunity to work from home,” according to Kathleen Martinez. “I look forward to working with Connected Nation to realize and promote these opportunities for disabled people at home and in the workplace.” Blind since birth, Martinez is an internationally recognized disability rights leader specializing in employment, asset building, independent living, international development, diversity and gender issues.

Since 2000, Ms. Martinez has supervised World Institute on Diversity's technical assistance, international, employment, poverty reduction and training projects. The World Institute on Disability is an internationally recognized public policy center organized by and for people with disabilities. She has also led development activities with disabled women in Ethiopia for the International Labour Organization, and has collaborated on projects in Brazil, China, Indonesia, Honduras, Hungary, Korea, Namibia, New Zealand, Norway, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Spain.

The new directors are joining an impressive group of national leaders including:
James W. Cicconi, Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs, AT&T, Inc.
Larry Cohen, President, Communication Workers of America
John E. Davies, Vice President, World Ahead, Intel Corporation
Harry Herington, Chief Executive Officer, NIC, Inc.
Steve Largent, President & CEO, CTIA – The Wireless Association
Wendy Lazarus, Founder & Co-President, The Children’s Partnership
Walter B. McCormick, President & CEO, United States Telecom Association
Mark K. McElroy, Chief Operating Officer, Connected Nation, Inc.
Kyle E. McSlarrow, President & CEO, National Cable & Telecommunications Association
Brian R. Mefford, Chief Executive Officer, Connected Nation, Inc.
R. Eric Mills, General Counsel, Connected Nation, Inc.
Doug Robinson, Executive Director, NASCIO
Grant E. Seiffert, President, Telecommunications Industry Association
Thomas J. Tauke, Executive Vice President, Public Affairs, Policy and Communications, Verizon Communications
Joseph W. Waz, Jr., Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Public Policy Counsel, Comcast Corporation