This past Wednesday I had the chance to attend and speak at the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Speed Matters forum in Washington, DC. In addition to the close partnership between my organization, the Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE), and CWA this was a unique opportunity to be part of an event with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski. If you haven't already heard the Chairman's got a lot on his plate these days. A meeting will be held on December 21st in which the FCC Commissioners will vote on a compromise net neutrality plan. The proposal put forth by Genachowski takes a common sense approach to an issue that has been hotly debated in Washington, the media and the technology circles.
As someone who has been deeply involved in Internet policy and digital advocacy for the past few years I know what a long, tough road this has been. However I'm confident that through long deliberation and the cooperation of many stakeholders, a substantive and pragmatic plan has been created. So why is this vote important? My answer is simple -- investment and opportunity. Straightforward regulatory guidelines from the FCC will lift the cloud of uncertainty for businesses and investors, initiating critical change across the country. The telecommunications sector is no different than any other business entity and potential red tape or looming government regulations slow the rate of investment capital injected into new projects or infrastructure. With the FCC plan in place, high-tech investors will be able to plan for the future and implement their business strategies today. As a byproduct of this, America will see money begin to change hands and jobs begin to grow.
Furthermore it will allow our policymakers to focus on fully implementing the National Broadband Plan that will advance our goal of achieving universal access to broadband technology. Through our efforts at both the public and private level we can help guarantee all Americans can participate in the information revolution, regardless of skin color or socioeconomic status. Now, Washington has a real opportunity to not only breathe life back into our economy but also bring hope to the millions of Americans looking for work.
The final and perhaps most important aspect to remember is these investments and the work done by these new jobs will create a stronger, faster broadband infrastructure. It will create a solid foundation for our cities and communities to thrive and empower low income communities with information and learning resources right at one's fingertips. If we choose the right path forward, we will spark growth, creativity and a new generation of entrepreneurs. The stage is set and hopefully on December 21st we will have a chance to come together and advance our common objective of a more prosperous society.
Julius H. Hollis is the CEO of the Alliance for Digital Equality, a non-profit organization that receives funding from a wide array of organizations including those from the telecommunications, energy and entertainment sectors.
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