If You Missed It: The Future of the Internet Town Hall

By Tracy Dingmann

If you missed Tuesday’s town hall in Albuquerque with Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Copps on the Future of the Internet, you can catch up right here with these links.

The event was sponsored by the organizations The Center for Media Justice, Media Literacy Project and Free Press.

Writing at NMFBIHOP.com, Claus Whiteacre said:

Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps spoke to hundreds of supporters about the need for net neutrality Tuesday evening at the Albuquerque Journal Theater at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Net neutrality is the principle that all content on the internet should be treated equally, and that internet service providers cannot discriminate between different types of content.

“When broadcast came about the corporation said ‘trust us.’ When previous FCC commissions removed limits on media consolidation we were told ‘trust us.’ With this new medium they are saying ‘trust us,'” Copps said.

Andrea Quijada, the Executive Director of the Media Literacy Project, served as the MC for the evening. She shared how an open internet is needed for the most basic of services.

“With 30 of our 33 counties being medically underserved, we know that the internet is not just about civic participation,” Quijada said. “With a state poverty rate at 19 percent we know that the internet is not just about access.”

“America cannot have a digital divide, this is an injustice for those that have been too long denied,” Copps said in his speech.

George Lujan of the SouthWest Organizing Project gave his account at ElGritoNM.org:

Perspectives from the community included single mothers explaining how the internet allows them to provide a strong sense of family; students detailing how far they have to drive just to finish nightly assignments; local artists and slam poets offering a cultural perspective; professionals trying to bring the online world to offline communities.

The point was clear- we need an open internet, we deserve an open internet, and now we demand an open internet.

Finally, those who would like to see an accounting of the entire event can visit this link to the webcast at SaveTheInternet.com.

Electronic Bootstraps: A Local Town Hall on The Importance of Keeping the Internet Free and Accessible to All

By Tracy Dingmann

Making and keeping the Internet affordable and accessible to all people is now the great equalizer in a world that increasingly depends on online communication.

People in New Mexico’s many rural and underserved communities know far too well that keeping the Internet free and open is crucial if people are to get the same educational, health, and business opportunities as everyone else.

The Internet is essential, and all of us need access to these new “electronic bootstraps” in a world where such crucial things as job applications, governmental forms and even filing a complaint with your local police department MUST be done online.

Right now, big cable and telephone companies are trying to dominate the conversation on the future of the Internet. They are trying to convince Congress and the American public that private, corporate control of the Internet is needed to insure the viability of this now public medium.

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Will New Mexico get its broadband chance with the Recovery Act?

(Credit: Jim Hannon/The Times Daily, via AP)

(Credit: Jim Hannon/The Times Daily)

Even though it was the United States Department of Commerce that championed the Internet as a means of universal commercial and democratic information exchange, the U.S. ranks 12-16th in broadband penetration. We are the only developed country in the world without a coherent broadband strategy. New Mexico, despite being host to such high-tech agencies as Los Alamos National Labs and Sandia National Labs, lags behind almost all other states in broadband penetration.

This was supposed to change when President Obama added $4.7 billion of spending to the 2009 Stimulus spending bill to

accelerate broadband deployment in unserved and underserved areas and to strategic community institutions that provide important public benefits.

How is this to be accomplished?

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