Access to high-speed Internet services – also known as broadband – has become a basic public necessity like water or electricity. Yet despite its importance, broadband in America is far from universal. Part of the solution is improving digital literacy for all Americans so they can acquire the skills they need to connect to the Internet. However, that still leaves the competition issues I raised earlier unaddressed that will need addressing to bring down costs, provide consumers more choices and result in better service. It is my hope the competition issues will be addressed at some point in the near future by the FCC.
Now as for digital literacy as I have stated the FCC has proposed using some USF funds to foster greater broadband adoption through investment in digital literacy training. Broadband adoption is important as is broadband deployment and I am glad to see the FCC taking actions to help bridge the digital divide. It is my hope that the FCC’s rulings in broadband matters help the people that need it not cement the power of the monopoly phone and cable companies. The status quo on broadband is unacceptable.
The future of all media lies in the Internet. Think about that for a moment. This means all information, communication, commerce and entertainment is increasingly going online. Increasingly new technologies and telecommunications services like broadband will play a greater role in our economy. With employers looking for new workers increasingly advertising job openings on the Web job seekers will need both the skills to access the Internet and a broadband connection to apply for positions and remain competitive. That is why broadband competition and digital literacy are so important.
President Obama gave a very interesting and energetic jobs speech Thursday night to Congress and the nation asking that Congress pass the American Jobs Act to address the jobs crisis and put people back to work unfortunately he decided to put Social Security cuts on the table. The Rebuild The American Dream Movement which responded to the speech is committed to protecting the American Dream for the now shrinking middle class and implement policies to expand and strengthen the middle class. Compromise is not a dirty word despite Tea Party Republicans thinking it is. It is essential especially in times when there is divided government to prevent gridlock and dysfunction. Nevertheless, sometimes its necessary to draw a line in the sand. Unfortunately, that’s something this President seems unwilling to ever do. At least former Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan stood for something. What does President Obama stand for? I wish I knew. I would really like to support President Obama’s 2012 re-election but disappointed with his politics. What happened to the transformational and strong candidate we elected President in 2008? He promised to bring hope and change to the nation. He’s certainly brought change much of it positive but where’s the hope? Compromising away the American Dream for workers, seniors, the disabled, and our nation’s students is unacceptable.
So why is President Obama advocating cuts to Social Security in the jobs speech he delivered to Congress? I really wish I knew. In a HuffingtonPost.com article writer Dean Baker the Co-Director of the Center for Economic & Policy Research rightly asks the same question. Social Security is a popular Democratic achievement, a program to provide seniors in old age retirement security. It is a promise that should be kept. Republicans have always wanted to privatize or cut benefits in the program. Democrats should not go along with these Republican demands but protect and strengthen Social Security. Reform the Trust Fund so Social Security can last longer than 2037 by raising tax revenues mainly on the super rich. Not all rich individuals are greedy. Warren Buffet wants Congress to raise his taxes. We need to have shared sacrifices toward deficit and debt reduction and have a future of shared economic prosperity.
President Obama’s proposed Social Security cuts may seem small but as Dean Baker writes in his article “Why Is President Obama So Anxious To Cut Social Security” these cuts will add up over time. He should instead be defending Social Security from Republicans like Mitt Romney spreading misinformation or lies about Social Security suggesting that Americans want benefit cuts versus tax increases (mostly on the rich) to make Social Security last longer than 2037 and Tea Party Republicans like Rick Perry calling it a ponzi scheme that either want to privatize or completely abolish the successful retirement security program. Let’s send the Obama White House and Obama re-election campaign messages opposing Social Security cuts asking that the President campaign in defense of Social Security and propose reforms to strengthen not weaken the program.
In my previous post I discussed the democratization of content across the Web and how the non-personalized neutral web can provide diversity of information providing access to even noncommercial and independent diverse sources of news. I’ve also mentioned the monetization of content, that while intellectual property theft and piracy of content is bad infringing on fair use and putting information behind pay-walls is not acceptable from a consumer standpoint. I wish to make clear that having a participatory, open, neutral unfiltered web is essential for users and for democracy. Now having addressed these issues it is my hope my posts have been informative and help educate others about the dangers of corporate control of our media and communications technologies.
So now I’ve covered Network Neutrality, the problem of the filter bubble, and a number of issues relating to spectrum policy in the United States. I’ve stated for Americans the SaveTheInternet.com Coalition is leading the fight for a free and neutral open Internet while OpenMedia.ca’s Save Our Net.ca web campaign is doing the public interest lobbying in Canada for open and nondiscriminatory access to the Web to be maintained. I hope readers have gained valuable insights form my posts and will consider sharing this information with others. So let’s build a movement for lasting positive, peaceful change that uses the open nature of the Internet to challenge power. Let us prevent the powerful from cracking down on our digital rights and defend the free and open Internet.
I have previously written about the Justice Department’s decision using antitrust law to protect competition and deny AT&T Mobility a spectrum monopoly in the wireless market by filing suit to stop Ma Bell’s merger with T Mobil USA so they could establish an anti competitive Ma Cell. I have also written about my pleasure in learning the FCC might also rule against the merger finding it in violation of the public interest. I was thrilled to hear of Justice’s ruling in the matter which supposedly surprised AT&T. I hope Justice wins at court but even if AT&T somehow won the news that the FCC might also reject the merger is good news for consumers and the wireless market.
Unfortunately some Republican lawmakers have decided to play politics with the decision and use the Justice Department decision as another excuse to accuse the Obama Administration of having an anti jobs and anti business agenda for the country. No doubt they have received campaign cash from AT&T and so they are upset with Justice’s decision having reviewed the facts to deny the merger. This is an outrage and we need to make clear to our lawmakers they are supposed to serve their constituents not the corporations funding their campaigns. We the people want more competition, consumer choice and innovation in the wireless market not less. We want lower prices and better service not the higher prices the merger would bring. So hit conservative critics hard on their criticism of the Justice Department.