Submitted by New Media Rights last modified Tue, 03/08/2011 - 5:21pm
Public Interest Groups call for community inclusion in CA Broadband Buildout process
March 7, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Diego, California- On Monday, February 28th, 2011 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, New Media Rights commented on the importance of community voices in the broadband buildout process infront of the California Broadband Council. Mera Szendro Bok, Communications Officer at New Media Rights spoke before the council, saying "We can get more for the money that has been allocated for investment if community groups are able to bring to bear their unique expertise, which is a deep understanding of the needs of unserved and underserved communities.”
New Media Rights joined other public interest groups and individuals to support meaningful community group involvement will transparency by the California Broadband Council. Also present were Media Alliance, a San Francisco based media reform group, Access Humbolt, a community media center in Eureka CA, Viet Mai a San Diego based poet and Dr. Blanca Gordo, a Berkeley professor who writes on solving the Digital Divide.
This was the first meeting of the California Broadband Council was established from Senate Bill 1462 to coordinate federal funds and private broadband funding for statewide broadband deployment and adoption. $420 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) broadband grants and the $57 million in California Advanced Services Fund grants has already been awarded in the state and allocated to different projects. New Media Rights supports meaningful community group involvement with transparency by the Council on how monies are being spent, making sure the process ensures reach out and ask from the community.
Here is New Media Rights' statement to the council:
New Media Rights defends people's ability to share and create online, and access to the internet plays a critical and rudimentary role in people's ability to engage on the internet. Without broader broadband availability and affordability, there are still voices that don’t have access to this medium.
New Media Rights supports community groups being a part of the broadband infrastructure decision making process in a meaningful way. We can get more for the money that has been allocated for investment if community groups are able to bring to bear their unique expertise, which is a deep understanding of the needs of unserved and underserved communities. We ask the Council to expand it's membership to include organizations that promote digital inclusion.
Broadband buildout is something that affects communities for years to come, so it is imperative that in a time when people utilize the internet for everything from communicating to learning about the most affordable healthcare, that the stakeholders most affected by such are heard from. We also request the council establish work groups and advisory committees where we can collectively address community needs and bring the best ideas and practices forward.
New Media Rights supports the inclusion of individuals and organizations in the process that can provide insight into the needs of the specific unserved and underserved communities that will be reached with these new monies. We are here to support meaningful community stakeholder inclusion within a transparent broadband policy infrastructure process.