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Report, FCC Hearings Address Digital Access and Equity

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The Federal Communications Commission has been holding hearings around the country to gather information and recommendations from experts on creating a National Broadband Plan. The plan is due to Congress by Feb. 17, 2010, and will provide guidelines for building the infrastructure needed to expand Internet access to all Americans.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is scheduled to testify at a hearing Friday in San Francisco. His testimony is posted on the FCC site and includes quite a bit of discussion about the promise of mobile technology and the push for a 4G cellular wireless network. The site also has other documents related to the project.

Access is a top priority when it comes to technology, particularly for education as schools try to tap into modern tools for a range of solutions, whether it be boosting student achievement or keeping parents and communities informed. We've written about the broadband issue here and here.

A few days ago, the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy released its report on the topic of access, "Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age."

The commission has a range of conclusions and recommendations, including digital and media literacy in schools and libraries, ambitious standards for nationwide broadband availability, and "engaging young people" in creating digital information and capacity in their communities.

Here's John Merrow's take on the report, from his blog, Taking Note.

Many of us suffer from information overload, but some communities--geography again-have a very different problem: not enough information and insufficient skills to separate the wheat from the chaff....Who has access to technology is crucial--and access often comes down to geography

What do you think should be included in a national plan?

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Media literacy education for all citizens including parents, teachers and students

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