• On March 1, 2010, Eugene Huang, FCC Director of Government Performance and Civic Engagement for the National Broadband Plan, spoke at a summit hosted by MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media as part of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan on “Broadband and Civic Engagement.” Huang revealed that the National Broadband Plan will recommend increasing the transparency and accessibility of government by putting more information online and increasing the opportunities to interact with government through the Internet. Huang identified specific goals such as making documents available for free on the Internet, citing the cost of using PACER to retrieve court documents. He also suggested broadcasting government meetings on the Internet and allowing interactive questions from the public.
  • FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski spoke at the executive council winter session of the National Congress of American Indians in Washington, DC on March 2, 2010, about increasing broadband access on tribal lands. He noted that broadband adoption on tribal lands may be as low as 10 percent, and identified the need to gather more data regarding adoption on tribal lands. Citing the benefits of broadband access, Chairman Genachowski indicated the National Broadband Plan will provide funding to increase access through the planned reformation of the Universal Service Fund. The Plan will also recommend that the FCC expand its Indian Telecommunications Initiative and allow Tribal representatives to participate in FCC University training programs at no cost.
  • The Social Science Research Council released a report on “Broadband Adoption in Low-Income Communities” that was commissioned by the FCC as part of the National Broadband Plan. The study interviewed 170 non-adopters, community access providers, and other intermediaries in order to “analyze the factors shaping low rates of adoption of home broadband services in low-income and other marginalized communities.” Some findings were that 22 percent of non-adopters were un-adopters — they had broadband access but dropped it based on income, opaque billing practices, and unpredictable service costs, among other reasons. Non-adopters also expressed skepticism of the service provider’s claims of coverage. The study is available here.
  • On March 4, 2010, at the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development in Washington, DC, Chairman Genachowski and US Small Business Administrator Karen Mills highlighted ways that the FCC’s National Broadband Plan will promote broadband opportunities for small businesses. Specifically, the National Broadband Plan will recommend: reviewing competition rules to ensure broadband choice for small businesses; expanding resources and opportunities for small businesses with regards to IT and broadband; creating new entrepreneurial mentoring programs; and creating a public-private partnership for digital literacy training to support small businesses in the country’s neediest areas.