Originally published: April 6, 2010
Last updated: November 29, 2010 - 11:38am
The Federal Communications Commission's Blair Levin provided introductory remarks at an event sponsored by a group whose mission is to increase broadband adoption among older Americans, called Project GOAL (Get Older Adults Online).
He noted that the National Broadband Plan proposes a Digital Literacy Corps. The program would employ young Americans to go out into their communities and teach digital skills -- promoting both digital literacy and pointing their communities to relevant content on the Internet. It would have the added benefit, I should add, of providing Corps members job skills for a lifetime. The Plan also proposes specific ways to develop and support local adoption efforts. To echo a Washington favorite, we found that all adoption is local. Communities are different, barriers are different, and effective solutions are different for different locations and demographics. National efforts have a place, but local efforts are more effective and important. Third, we recommend the development of applications that improve the relevance of broadband. With the help of the Knight Foundation, we've begun an "Apps for Inclusion" contest, which asks innovators around the country to develop applications that target under-adopting communities, including seniors. This last recommendation again underscores an important point. If the federal government tries to tackle barriers to adoption alone, it will fail. We must instead draw on the power of community groups, private companies, and government all together. It is one of the great merits of the Internet that it embraces the distributed efforts of many people to solve problems and create knowledge. Our efforts to promote adoption must reflect the same sensibility. We must crowdsource adoption. We need your help, and today will be a great start.
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