Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Harvard’s Berkman Center to Conduct Independent Review of Broadband Studies to Assist FCC

(Editor's Note: We republish today's FCC release in full. We think it signifies the level to which the Obama Administration is taking broadband policy, beyond the current 'broadband stim' grant and loan programs, seriously. The Berkman Center at the Harvard Law School is one of the leading academic research institutes in the world that studies the economic and societal impacts of broadband and Internet access. Fully coincidentally, in the late 1980s when one Barack Obama was our neighbor in the Winter Hill neighborhood of Somerville, Massachusetts, he was a student at a nearby law school. We can't recall which one.)

FCC Press Release via 07/14/09 The Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University will conduct an independent expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world. This project will help inform the FCC’s efforts in developing the National Broadband Plan.
“Advanced communications have the potential to enhance the lives of all Americans, improve public safety, create jobs, and support our economic recovery,” Chairman Julius Genachowski said.

“As the Commission embarks on the important task of crafting a National Broadband Plan, better data will inform and animate the activities of the agency. The Berkman Center’s independent review of existing information will help lay the foundation for enlightened, data-driven decisionmaking. I appreciate the Berkman Center’s invaluable assistance and look forward to seeing the results.”

Yochai Benkler, the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said, “I am pleased that the Berkman Center can contribute positively to the process Chairman Genachowski has envisioned for developing a national broadband strategy by providing to the Commission, and thereby the public, the results of our compilation and assessment of the existing literature on this important and timely subject.”

“A comprehensive assessment of these plans will be enormously helpful given our short timetable,” said Blair Levin, who is coordinating the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel. Knowing what has already been learned will improve our ability to deliver the best possible National Broadband Plan.”

Consistent with Chairman Genachowski’s recent public statements regarding an open and transparent National Broadband Plan process, the results of the Berkman Center review will be made publicly available.
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