Yesterday (June4) was the second and final day of the Opportunity Online Summit in New York State. We listened to a couple more presentation and did table topics which allowed us to exchange information and brainstorm (services, connectivity, funding, political considerations & support).
One of the things I learned is that Internet access is not recognized by the Federal Communication Commission as a service, but as information. (I believe that I have that wording correct.) This means that Internet access is not regulated or even thought about the same way as telephone access. So even though we may consider the Internet to be as important as telephone or electricity, it is not yet considered in that light by regulators. We were encouraged by one speaker to make comments at www.fcc.gov about communication regulations, when items come up for comment.
If you are interested in funding for broadband access, then keep an eye on www.ntia.gov for notice of funding availability.here is stimulus funding (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) to enhance broadband access in unserved and underserved areas, and for underserved populations.For more information on that, go to www.nysbroadband.ny.gov.
Now that the Summit is over, the real work begins. I believe that the State Library has identified 85 libraries that are could apply for available funding. For the rest of us, there is advocacy work that needs to be done and partnerships that need to be built. Our smaller communities and libraries will not be able to do this on their own. For those that are truly, truly interested in rolling up their sleeves and making a difference in New York State in regards to broadband access, you can volunteer at bband at mail dot nysed dot gov .
This Opportunity Online Summit is one of several happening across the United States with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The American Library Association and Connected Nation, as well as the New York State Library, were instrumental in helping this event to occur. Because of the various resources behind this event, there was information and stuff provided that would not have been possible otherwise. In addition, the web page for New York is going to be enhanced with information from the two-day event, including videos. This will give participants and many other people information that they can use as we work on making broadband -- high-speed Internet access -- available to more people, communities and libraries in an affordable and sustainable manner.
BTW One item that we received was a reusable travel coffee mug. I notice today that the mug is biodegradable! Very cool!
Technorati tags: New York State, NYS, libraries, state library