March 24, 2010

Connecting America

ACCORDING TO the experts, broadband services for all Americans is the "infrastructure challenge of the 21st century." On March 16th, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released its 376 page "Connecting America: The National Broadband Plan," setting forth a strategy to do just that.

In the report the FCC clearly sees the connection between Internet access as a vehicle for meaningful engagement with government and the host of other opportunities it provides to increase civic participation. The introduction to the chapter on civic engagement states, "Civic engagement is the lifeblood of any democracy and the bedrock of its legitimacy. Broadband holds the potential to strengthen our democracy by dramatically increasing the public's access to information and by providing new tools for Americans to engage with this information, their government and one another."

The report contains five civic engagement recommendations that include:

1. Create an open and transparent government'

2. Improve access to media and journalism, including increased funding to public media for broadband

3. Use social media to increase civic engagement

4. Increase innovation in government

5. Modernize the democratic process through such means as online voter registration.

The broadband plan also recommends modernizing the election process.

One of the simplest ways to participate in our democracy is through the ballot box. "By bringing the elections process into the digital age, government can increase efficiency, promote greater civic participation and extend the ability to vote to more Americans." The group recommends modernizing the voter registration process with an electronic process, portability of voting records and automatic updates of voter files with the most current address information available.

1 comment:

GlobalPublic said...

In addition to the five recommendations listed, the process of selecting government officials can include a combination of election and random selection.