American Library Association (ALA) President Camila Alire today released the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Plan (NBP):
“There are great opportunities proposed in the National Broadband Plan and still much important public debate facing the American public on these critical broadband issues. As the plan moves forward, it must lead to digital inclusion — not exclusion. Since libraries serve a critical role in today’s information society, ALA will be active in this important policy-making.
The plan captures the need for universal affordable broadband access to individuals at home through libraries and other anchor institutions as well as for local governments and all levels of education institutions. We thank the FCC for taking on the tremendous challenge of developing a national broadband plan and outlining how the discussion should move forward.
Libraries may be affected by many areas of the plan including the following:
- The plan’s proposals to sustain and improve the E-rate funding and to simplify the application process for libraries and schools
- The critical need for digital literacy recognizing that public libraries in all communities as well as the libraries in schools, higher education and health care institutions, are primary providers of digital literacy education
- The need for broadband to make government at all levels more effective and efficient and to provide interactive e-government services and more online government information
- The plan’s recognition of how broadband technologies can be used to foster civic engagement — another arena supported by our libraries
We look forward to vigorous and healthy debate as the NBP moves forward.”