I arrived in Washington, DC fifty-two years ago full of vim and vigor to take part in the great pageant of American reform, convinced that in the years ahead the political arc would bend ever-upward toward a fuller democracy. Yet all change is not progress. The arc hits speed bumps along the way. The awful damage we have inflicted, or let happen, to our democracy now threatens its very existence. Democracy’s discontents are many, and I will expand on a few of them below, but note first that every passing day of not confronting them makes democracy’s fulfillment ever less likely.
When the late Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow penned his “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace” in 1996, proclaiming “our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty,” he railed against “the great invertebrate in the White House” and the “Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel.” So what would Barlow have thought when, on April 28, 2022, 60 governments, mostly from the industrial world, met (in person or in their virtual selves) at the White House to sign a “ Declaration on the Future of the Internet,” initiated by the United States along with Au
Gov Greg Abbott (R-TX) and other top elected officials in Texas have plenty of evidence before them of the social, educational and economic consequences for hundreds of thousands of families around the state without broadband internet service at home. Once Congress finally passes enabling legislation, Texas is expected to receive $53 billion from the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) signed into law by President Joe Biden in November 2021.
These days, there isn’t a lot of harmony in the world of technology policy. But there is a bright spot of bipartisanship in a section of our airwaves: the 5.9 GHz band. In 2020, the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to modernize the rules in this spectrum to allow both Wi-Fi and automotive safety tech to operate. This win-win was celebrated by proponents of car safety and broadband alike. But now the Department of Transportation (DOT) is working on a study that may purposely have been designed to undo this decision.
The pandemic brought all kinds of innovative approaches to stubborn challenges: Small towns in Grafton County (NH) saw opportunities for business development, innovative school programs, and upgrading the way the local government functioned. But political will didn’t prevent the county from making these changes; poor internet service did. A lot of hard work, political capital and local and federal funding has been committed to improving Grafton County’s connectivity, resulting in the launch of broadband service in the Town of Bristol (NH) in September 2021.
About one-third of smart city projects fail and around 80 percent of prototypes don’t scale and reach their desired scope.(1) Poorly implemented smart city investments undercut civic trust and can have far-reaching economic and social consequences. US Ignite’s Fostering Civic Trust guide purports an ecosystem of trust that places people at the core of the smart city movement by focusing on five policy domains: (i) Data Governance; (ii) Cybersecurit
In courtrooms across the US, judges hear from lawyers, prosecutors, plaintiffs, law enforcement officers, witnesses and others, all with the mission to resolve criminal and civil disputes fairly and transparently. Most observers agree, however, that the volume and complexity of cases before the courts in recent years have slowed the proverbial wheels of justice to a crawl. Then suddenly, the courts came to grips with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and scrambled to defer in-person hearings. Many feared cases might grind to a standstill. Instead, something remarkable happened.
March 16 was the 12th anniversary of the release Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan (NBP). In March of 2010, the FCC responded to Congress’s direction to develop a plan for broadband with the intent to ensure every American has “access to broadband capability.” This proposal was assembled with input across 36 public workshops, 31 public notices, 9 public hearings, and approximately 23,000 comments from more than 700 parties.