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Broadband Opportunities Reach Philadelphia

January 19, 2011 by Guest Arun Prabhakaran and Mary-Anne Smith Harris of the Urban Affairs Coalition

Freedom Rings Partnership Helps to Close Digital Divide

The Freedom Rings Partnership officially kicked off on January 17th, by sponsoring the signature project of the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service – volunteers refurbished used computers to be distributed to the community, assembled digital literacy kits, and participated in a high-tech scavenger hunt called “Race to Connect.” Tom Power, NTIA Chief of Staff, joined Sharmain Matlock-Turner, President and CEO of the Urban Affairs Coalition (UAC); John Fry, President of Drexel University; and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for this exciting event hosted at Girard College.

The Importance of Trust on the Internet

January 28, 2011 by Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling

The rapid growth of the Internet economy has provided educational, economic, and social benefits to consumers and businesses. But with these growing benefits comes growing unease about how consumer's personal information on the Internet is collected, used, and protected.

Preserving consumer trust is essential to the sustainability and continued growth of the Internet economy. Data privacy day provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of privacy policies that promote online trust and broadband use.

Whether making purchases online, communicating with family members, or conducting business - consumers must know that they have control over their personal information. As innovative new applications and services are developed, it is important that users know that their information is safe and that providers have clear rules about how to respect individual privacy.

As more and more personal data is collected on the Internet, policy makers need to ensure the consumer trust that is an essential foundation of the digital economy and broadband use.

Report from Michigan: Building Our Information Economy

February 01, 2011 by Dr. Kurt DeMaagd of Michigan State University

In 2010, I helped to lead three Michigan State University projects that received BTOP broadband stimulus awards to increase computer access and broadband access throughout Michigan. These three projects will expand broadband access in library computer centers in rural areas, create additional public computer centers in Michigan’s core urban areas, and stimulate broadband adoption by expanding knowledge and access to broadband in urban areas of Michigan. Now more than ever, our state needs to focus on its economic growth. These projects are providing that positive change, and helping transform our state to participate in the information economy.

Building a Competitive Nation with Empowered and Engaged Latino Communities

February 11, 2011 by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez

On Wednesday I spoke at a League of United Latin American Citizens conference about how BTOP is expanding broadband access and adoption in the Latino community. Though it’s been roughly 15 years since the “digital divide” gained national attention, the issue remains a serious one for Latinos. In fact, NTIA’s Digital Nation Report shows that even after adjusting for income and other socioeconomic characteristics, Latino households lag White households in broadband adoption by 14 percentage points.

This issue is growing in importance as computer skills and high-speed Internet access are increasingly vital to full economic and civic participation in American society. In terms of employment, for example, a recent study shows that between 1998 and 2008, the number of domestic IT jobs grew by 26 percent, four times faster than U.S. employment as a whole. By 2018, IT employment is expected to grow by another 22 percent.

LULAC is on the front lines of addressing the Latino broadband gap through its network of technology centers and its partnership with BTOP grantee One Economy, which is conducting a comprehensive digital literacy program in 50 cities and towns. LULAC is helping One Economy bring its Digital Connectors program to Latino communities in need, providing technology training for students who will in turn serve as community ambassadors of broadband opportunities.

NTIA Launches National Broadband Map

February 17, 2011 by NTIA State Broadband Data and Development Program Director Anne Neville

Today we launched the first-ever public, searchable nationwide map of broadband access.

The National Broadband Map is an unprecedented project created by NTIA, in collaboration with the FCC, and in partnership with each state, territory and the District of Columbia. The map was created at the direction of Congress, which recognized that economic opportunities are driven by access to 21st century infrastructure.

With funding from NTIA’s State Broadband Data & Development Program, state partners have gathered and worked to validate broadband data from thousands of providers across the country. Together, a dataset and website were developed that includes more than 25 million searchable records displaying where broadband Internet service is available, the technology used to provide the service, the maximum advertised speeds of the service, and the names of the broadband providers. Whether you are a consumer seeking more information on the broadband options available to you, a researcher or policymaker working to spur greater broadband deployment, a local official aiming to attract investment in your community, or an application developer with innovative ideas, the National Broadband Map can help. And if you don’t find the answer you’re looking for on the map itself, you can download the entire dataset.

NTIA Visits Its BTOP Recipients

March 01, 2011 by Anthony Wilhelm, Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications

Starting this week, federal program staff from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will begin post-award site visits to get a first-hand perspective on project progress and oversee grant recipients of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), a portfolio that approaches $4 billion in federal infrastructure investments. As a core component of the Program’s comprehensive monitoring strategy, these comprehensive visits will allow us to evaluate grant recipients' performance in meeting milestones and complying with grant terms and conditions.

NTIA uses a variety of tools to monitor grantee progress, including regular conference calls, detailed review of quarterly reports, and careful tracking of the expenditure of federal funds. Site visits are a critically important tool to corroborate information provided in written reports and to inspect equipment paid for by the federal government.

Our program staff will be digging deeper on the site visits and, like any good stewards of funds, will be focusing on the core areas of program performance:

(1) Project management - Is the project on time and meeting milestones?

(2) Financial management - Is the project on budget?

(3) Grants management - Are grant recipients and subrecipients meeting all relevant federal requirements?

NTIA Administrator Strickling Addresses Broadband Program Progress

March 30, 2011 by NTIA

At an event in Washington, D.C. yesterday, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling described the progress of broadband stimulus projects, noting that Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grantees have thus far installed more than 4,000 computers for public use and provided computer training to more than 65,000 people.

“These Recovery Act projects are already providing an essential link to economic and educational opportunities for thousands of Americans,” said Strickling.

Strickling said that BTOP grantees deploying infrastructure projects have already entered into approximately 90 interconnection agreements with other Internet service providers, which will enable these additional providers to connect to the new infrastructure in order to more affordably expand their own broadband service to local homes and small businesses.
“BTOP’s ‘open’ networks allow us to maximize the impact of Recovery Act dollars and spur additional private sector investment,” he said.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition, Strickling cited data in NTIA’s recently launched National Broadband Map showing that most community anchor institutions, such as schools and libraries, do not have broadband service at fast enough speeds.

“These findings validate BTOP’s focus on addressing the broadband needs of community anchor institutions so that they can harness the power of broadband to improve education, health care, and public safety.”

Spotlight on Commerce: Anna M. Gomez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information

September 28, 2011 by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez

As Deputy Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, I serve essentially as the Chief Operating Officer of the agency. Though much of my time is spent on management, I also work on public policy, especially the challenges of expanding broadband Internet use in underserved communities and improving communications for the nation’s first responders. I am honored to play a role in addressing issues that are so vital to our nation’s safety and economic future. 

My career path began early. I was born in the United States but spent most of my childhood in Bogota, Colombia, where my father’s family lives. I knew since childhood that I would one day become a lawyer because my mother always told me so. (I would like to think that she recognized in me a precocious talent for logic and deduction, but she was actually commenting on my willingness to argue a point!) I returned to the United States as a teen and did indeed go to law school. I am glad that I did because the law is a good foundation for a career in public service, though it is certainly not mandatory.

My first full-time job was in the litigation group of a law firm. I enjoyed it but wanted to practice communications law instead. While at the firm, I ran the D.C. Hispanic Bar Association’s mentoring program for Hispanic law students. It brought me to the attention of a partner at the firm, who soon went to work at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). I joined her at the FCC, where my communications policy work began.

The National Broadband Map Gets an Update

September 21, 2011 by Anne Neville, Director of NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative

Earlier this year, we launched a ground-breaking interactive online map that shows what high-speed Internet services are available across the country. Like the spread of railroads and electrification spurred new economic opportunities during America’s past, broadband is supporting new economic opportunities in America today. Experts agree that we must better understand where sufficient broadband exists in order to address where it does not.

The National Broadband Map, powered by a searchable database of more than 20 million records, has already drawn more than 500,000 different users. Today we are rolling out the first significant update of the map since it was unveiled in February. The map has new data, current as of December 31. And the number of broadband providers supplying that data has increased to 1,731, up from 1,650 at launch.

Most of these new additions are small providers, including rural companies in places as varied as Alaska and Massachusetts, that may not be household names. Including them in the map will help ensure that consumers shopping for broadband service are aware of all their options.

In addition, the map now offers a new research tool that produces snapshots of individual broadband providers, showing where they offer service, what speeds they offer, and how much of the country – or of a particular state or county – they cover.

NTIA: Small Agency, Big Impact

September 15, 2011 by Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

In the 21st century global economy, America’s competitiveness requires a modern communications infrastructure, a technology-savvy workforce, and public policies that preserve the Internet as an engine for job creation, innovation, and economic growth.  NTIA’s activities–at a cost of about a penny per month for each American–represent a modest yet critical investment in our economic future, one that can pay dividends for decades.


Broadband Internet is an essential ingredient not only for job creation but also for improving education, public safety, and health care. Consider this:

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