FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn spoke to SEATOA earlier this week, and she mentioned municipal broadband as an important part of a connected United States.
Much thanks to Catharine Rice for providing the excerpts below:
Excerpt from Speech by FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn
SEATOA’s 9th Annual Conference
Asheville, NC – April 27, 2010
The theme of this conference “Expanding Community Networks,” is exactly what the National Broadband Plan is about – to ensure that broadband is made available to all Americans, no matter where they live….
….In addition to recommendations about improving providers’ access to infrastructure for building broadband, the Plan also acknowledges that in some jurisdictions, no provider is constructing a broadband network. Thus, the Plan recommends that Congress clarify that State and local governments should not be restricted from building their own broadband networks. I firmly believe that we need to leverage every resource at our disposal to deploy broadband to all Americans. If local officials have decided that a publicly-owned broadband network is the best way to meet their citizens’ needs, then my view is to help make that happen.
One example of a town that took control of its own digital destiny – Bristol, Virginia saw additional jobs created in that area. And last month I heard Lafayette, Louisiana’s City-Parish President, describe the development of economic opportunities in his city, that were a direct result of the fiber network built by the community.
Right here in North Carolina, I understand that Wilson and Salisbury are trying to invest in fiber optic systems, that they hope will transform their local economies. When cities and local governments are prohibited from investing directly in their own broadband networks, citizens may be denied the opportunity to connect with their nation and improve their lives. As a result, local economies likely will suffer. But broadband is not simply about dollars and cents, it is about the educational, health, and social welfare of our communities. Preventing governments from investing in broadband, is counter –productive, and may impede the nation from accomplishing the Plan’s goal of providing broadband access to every American and every community anchor institution……