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Joint Center Releases Policy Recommendations Aimed at Increasing Digital Adoption in Communities of Color

Contact: Betty Anne Williams
(202) 789-3505








FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Commissioner Michael Copps Address Joint Center Luncheon

WASHINGTON – The National Broadband Plan now under development at the Federal Communications Commission represents an enormous opportunity to help improve conditions in long neglected communities, the Chairman of the FCC said in remarks to an event hosted yesterday by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a Washington research and policy institution that focuses on the concerns of African Americans and other people of color.

Chairman Julius Genachowski was joined at the event by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who had served as acting chairman in the months prior to Genachowski’s confirmation by the U.S. Senate in June, and who himself urged an audience comprised of black elected officials and policy professionals to continue to focus on access to broadband as a key element in bringing greater educational and economic opportunity to their constituents. Both Chairman Genachowski and Commissioner Copps also stressed the importance of including a diverse range of voices to ensure that the National Broadband Plan is inclusive and its recommendations can be easily implemented in any community.

The FCC has been directed by Congress to deliver by next February a plan for bringing broadband to all Americans, and the Commission is now seeking and evaluating public comment on the initiative.  At yesterday’s event, Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), a member of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, emphasized the importance of reaching all populations as the nation expands broadband availability.

At a previous Joint Center forum on Monday, new FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn made her first policy speech as a commissioner, in which she called for the National Broadband Plan to address existing gaps in broadband adoption as well as access.

Yesterday’s event, organized by the Joint Center Media and Technology Institute, also included the release of a report, Broadband Imperatives for African Americans: Policy Recommendations to Increase Digital Adoption for Minorities and their Communities, which was produced through a collaboration between the Joint Center and leading organizations representing black elected officials and the state and local levels.  The report stresses the importance of broadband access to achievement and success, and urges policymakers to consider a number of initiatives aimed at increasing broadband adoption in minority communities, including mandating that government assisted housing have a broadband connection, encouraging young people in these communities to play a major role in efforts to increase broadband adoption, and working to ensure that the expansion of broadband in low-income areas results in enhanced access to education, health care and employment opportunities.

“The Broadband Imperatives report is the first time that African American elected officials have issued a formal statement to the FCC in this area,” said Ralph B. Everett, President and CEO of the Joint Center. “As the nation strives for universal access to high-speed networks, these elected and appointed officials can and will play a vitally important role in ensuring that the great promise of broadband really does deliver progress and opportunity in struggling communities.”

The Broadband Imperatives report, was completed in collaboration with the following national organizations that represent African American elected officials:  National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women, National Conference of Black Mayors, National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, and National Association of Black County Officials.  A full copy of the report is available at the Joint Center web site,

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies is one of the nation's leading research and public policy institutions and the only one whose work focuses primarily on issues of particular concern to African Americans and other people of color. It will mark its 40th Anniversary of service in 2010. To learn more about The Joint Center please visit



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