Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Amen Brother!

Every so often you run across a public official whose focus is actually on serving the public. Even in the Federal bureaucracy. Even at the FCC. Where the usual focus has been on serving the corporations that the bureau was created to regulate. At a recent public hearing in Pittsburg FCC commissioner Copps had this to say (link to word doc):
We still have much to do in making the technology tools of the 21st century work for every American. And I always underline those two words: “every American.” Because no matter who you are, where you live, how much money you make, whether you are young or old, rural or inner city, healthy or dealing with a disability, you will need—and you are entitled—to have these tools and services available to you. I think it’s a civil right; I really do...

Sitting at the FCC in Washington DC, it’s all too easy to be lulled into believing that technology and broadband are issues that matter primarily to a handful of big companies—a few network operators, a few big trade associations, a few multi-billion dollar equipment manufacturers. Because these are the folks we hear from so often—often every day—and they are also the folks who can afford to hire fancy K Street lawyers and deploy small armies of lobbyists at the FCC and on Capitol Hill. But the truth is that these issues are about each of us and all of us. We are all stakeholders, with a right to be heard, when it comes to charting our communications future. This is, after all, the stuff that is shaping how you and I are going to live our lives. Broadband matters to us as individuals, as human beings, as consumers, as small business owners, entrepreneurs, computer science professors and elementary school students, newspaper reporters and broadcast journalists, archeologists and astrophysicists, musicians and bloggers, coffee shop owners, producers, actors, and directors—the list is as long and broad as America. Broadband is reshaping how all of us communicate with each other and learn about the world around us. So we better get it right.
Gee, that's actually both smart and public-spirited. Who'da thunk?

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