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FCC Chair: Private Sector Showing 'Serious Response'

A week after announcing a public-private partnership to drive nationwide broadband Internet adoption and digital literacy education, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski praised the private sector's response to the challenge, and appealed to more companies to join.

"We've seen the beginning of a serious response from the private sector," Genachowski said of the Connect to Compete partnership, at the Wireless EdTech Conference in Washington Thursday. "For people here in the private sector, I would reiterate what I said before, which is to recognize the broadband gap as a challenge as well as an opportunity for each of your companies."

(Check out next week's issue of Education Week for more on the educational ramifications of Connect to Compete.)

Genachowski, who has already seen two dozen companies and nonprofit groups sign on to Connect to Compete, also insisted that the United States has re-established itself as a global leader in mobile connectivity, based in part on becoming the first nation to establish a 4G wireless Internet network.

That doesn't, however, mean success in other areas of technology adoption, including in broadband Internet. Genachowski indicated Connect to Compete's work to connect the reported 100 million Americans still without broadband access will likely involve a diverse set of solutions, and also said more news about the program would be coming soon.

"On adoption, there's no silver bullet," Genachowski said. "We need to do a bunch of things. And we need to look at the different causes of the adoption gap. In some cases, it's relevance, ... in some cases it's literacy, ... and in some cases it's cost."

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