• On Tuesday, March 9, 2010, the Newseum in Washington, DC hosted America ’s Digital Inclusion Summit which focused on broadband adoption. The National Broadband Plan was a key focus of the summit and Chairman Julius Genachowski stated the Plan “provides a vision for federal, state and local leadership and partnerships with the private and nonprofit communities that will bridge the digital divide and transform America into a nation where broadband expands opportunities for all.” President and CEO Alberto Ibargüen of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which co-hosted the event, warned that without universal broadband adoption, the United States will “end up with a new category of second-class citizens.”
  • FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn also spoke at the Digital Inclusion Summit. She stated that, to increase adoption, the National Broadband Plan will recommend a three-part National Digital Literacy Program that will include a National Digital Literacy Corps, a one-time investment to bolster the capacity of libraries and community centers, and an Online Skills portal for free, basic digital skills training. The Program is “designed to give all Americans the skills they need to get and stay online.” The Digital Literacy Corps “will mobilize hundreds of digital ambassadors in local communities across the country” and “can target vulnerable communities with below-average adoption rates.”
  • On March 10, 2010, Chairman Genachowski spoke as part of a panel at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library in Washington DC noting recommendations in the National Broadband Plan that will reduce barriers to broadband access faced by people with disabilities. Some recommendations in the Plan include: a government-wide Accessibility Initiative and establishment of a Broadband Accessibility Working Group; an ongoing Accessibility and Innovation Forum at the FCC for stakeholders to share best practices and collaborate on accessibility solutions; action by the FCC, Department of Justice and Congress to update accessibility laws and policies and make sure they are enforced; authorization by Congress for limited use of Universal Service Fund for assistive technology users and developers; use of TRS funds for broadband services and assistive technology subsidies and for funding additional IP-based services. Chairman Genachowski identified legislation introduced by Congressman Ed Markey, D-Mass. – the “21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act” (HR. 3101) – as a starting point for these actions.
  • On March 11, 2010, the FCC announced it has launched several new “digital tools” to test their broadband service and report areas where broadband is not available. The tools are called the “Consumer Broadband Test” and the “Broadband Dead Zone Report.” The Consumer Broadband Test comes in Internet and mobile applications versions for the Android and iPhone. It is the FCC’s first mobile application and “measures broadband quality indicators such as speed and latency, and reports that information to consumers and the FCC.” The Broadband Dead Zone Report “enables Americans to submit the street address location of a broadband ‘Dead Zone’ where broadband is unavailable for purchase.” Chairman Genachowski praised the transparency afforded by these new digital tools.