Today President Barack Obama unveiled ConnectALL, an initiative to connect 20 million more Americans to broadband by 2020. The following may be attributed to Adrianne B. Furniss, Executive Director of the Benton Foundation:
The Benton Foundation welcomes President Obama’s ConnectALL initiative and the goal of connecting 20 million more Americans to broadband by 2020. Some segments of the U.S. population have reached near-100 percent broadband adoption rates. For these populations, market forces have been sufficient to get us toward our goal of universal adoption. But there are nagging, persistent divides in broadband deployment and adoption. These divides hold us all back – witnessed in the economy, in education, in public health and safety, and in civic discourse.
At Benton, we call these communities on the wrong side of the divide digital deserts. Until we connect them, we will not be a truly inclusive digital society. We salute the Obama Administration for focusing on connecting the last of the digital deserts that exist in this country – so we can bring the richness of the Internet to all our nation’s diverse groups of people, who will then enrich the network even further.
To go from desert to oasis, you need water. To go from digital desert to oasis of opportunity, we need broadband. The ConnectALL initiative provides irrigation so we can start to grow digital opportunity where the rain has yet to fall.