Broadband Connects America - Rural Coalition Launches

Broadband Connects America - Rural Coalition Launches

Posted September 6th, 2018 by seanm

Rural Coalition Advocates for Internet Access
"Broadband Connects America" outlines Principles to Connect Rural America

Two Humboldt County based organizations joined with more than a dozen national and regional groups to launch a new coalition to advocate for rural internet access and announce Broadband Principles to Connect Rural America

Immediate Release
September 6, 2018

Eureka, CA Today two local organizations, Access Humboldt and the California Center for Rural Policy, joined with a nationwide coalition of rural, consumer, community media, tech rights, academic, and civil rights groups in publishing a framework for Broadband Principles to Connect America. [http://www.broadbandconnectsamerica.com/]

The Principles provide a framework for policymakers considering how to support rural broadband deployment projects.

By engaging local community anchor institutions, these Principles offer solutions to modernize high-speed broadband infrastructure, address complex access and affordability problems in diverse rural areas, and deploy new broadband infrastructure to best connect all Americans.

Five Broadband Principles are directed to specific challenges facing rural communities:
- Restoring net neutrality is essential to closing the digital divide.
- Rural Broadband should meet the same adequacy standards as its urban counterpart.
- Funding should be simple and allocated directly to local infrastructure needs, not to absentee owners of last-mile carriers.
- Closing the rural digital divide will require a combination approach that is technology agnostic, addresses technology transitions from legacy networks, engages local participation, and reflects the complexity of challenges in deploying broadband to rural America.
- Deployment should be focused on achieving tangible universal service to all rural Americans rather than allocated based on profit per population density.

In addition to Access Humboldt and California Center for Rural Policy, Public Knowledge, Akaku: Maui Community Media, Axiom, Benton Foundation, Center for Rural Strategies, Citizens Connectivity Committee, Full Color Future, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, National Consumer Law Center, National Digital Inclusion Alliance, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Next Century Cities, Rural Community Alliance-Arkansas, Tribal Digital Village Network, and X-Lab also signed the Broadband Principles released today.

The following can be attributed to Connie E. Stewart, Executive Director at California Center For Rural Policy:
“Broadband, like every other type of infrastructure, needs to be built to address rural communities’ economic futures. Current broadband policy isn’t even meeting current needs! These broadband principles, when enacted, will help reduce the prosperity gap between rural, urban and suburban communities.”

The following can be attributed to Sean Taketa McLaughlin, Executive Director at Access Humboldt:
“Universal access to open and secure broadband networks is a fundamental human right and this is true across regions of diverse ecosystems and communities. Local jurisdictions are making substantial investments in public rights of way and infrastructure. The Principles to Connect Rural America reflect a shared vision across the rural landscape that will enable local communities to connect with private, non-profit and public sectors, and to build on local investments in community anchor institutions -- including public safety, health, education, public works, civic engagement, culture, arts and local media organizations. At the same time these Principles reflect a hopeful solution path to build sustainable connections with micropolitan, suburban and metropolitan folks as well. Access Humboldt has also released our own outline of five key rural impacts of open vs. closed networks - including Public Health & Safety; Education; Economic Opportunity; Culture & Arts; and Civic Engagement (attached below).”

Broadband Principles to Connect America are available online here. [http://www.broadbandconnectsamerica.com/]

For more information, contact Sean Taketa McLaughlin e: sean@accesshumboldt.net

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Access Humboldt is a non-profit, community media & broadband access organization serving the residents and local jurisdictions of Humboldt County on the North Coast of California USA, managing resources that include: cable access TV channels; KZZH FM 96.7 community radio; a wide area broadband network with dedicated optic fiber connections to twenty locations serving local jurisdictions and community anchor institutions; broadband access wireless networks; a Community Media Center with studio and other production equipment and training on the Eureka High School campus; and ongoing operational support for public, educational and governmental access media services.

AccessHumboldt.net

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