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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Panel Urges Getting Everyone in US Online, Broadband

The Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy urged the current administration to provide incentives to both cable service providers and ISPs to expand existing networks into areas which have little to no coverage. It also said getting everyone in the U.S. online was as important to this administration as completing the interstate system was to Eisenhower's.

However, the Commission admitted uncertainty when it comes to the collapse of the newspaper industry, though it noted something must fill the gap newspapers leave. It correctly noted the format of information delivery was less important than the delivery itself, but noted offering government subsidies to independent journalists could lead to a conflict of interest for both the government and independent journalists. Instead, it suggested offering more support to public radio and television stations, as well as libraries, largely for news-gathering purposes.

The Commission said the government should be as transparent as possible, offer as many options to information-seekers as it can (including mobile), and help local areas establish Web portals related to local news, data, and information.

© C Harris Lynn, 2009

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