May 20, 2016
As fans of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and the work Angela Siefer and others do to promote digital inclusion nationwide we were excited about attending the recent Digital Inclusion Summit. When it was announced that the FCC’s Gigi Sohn, Counselor to the Chairman, was going to be the keynote, well that was just icing on the cake.
After making sure all understood that Kansas City had recently caused her, a devoted New York Mets fan, a great deal of heartache, Ms. Sohn went on to say that the work that is being done in Kansas City around digital inclusion is a model for the nation. Digital inclusion and digital equity do seem to be on the lips of more people these days, with many at the summit referring to digital inclusion as a fundamental civil rights issue of the 21st century.
In the end, we were thrilled with both the timely summit and Ms. Sohn’s terrific comments on the Lifeline order, universal service reform and what she referred to as the “very gradual change we can believe in.” Voqal’s initiative Mobile Citizen, after all, operates on the ideal that access is a powerful enabler for social change.
We are encouraged by the work the FCC is doing in the digital inclusion space. Adopting new Lifeline rules and the additional good efforts of the FCC around universal service reform, however, does not mean the work is done. In fact, fresh with inspiration from Ms. Sohn’s speech and the learnings from the Net Inclusion Summit, it’s time to roll up our sleeves once again and continue Mobile Citizen’s efforts to get more Americans online! And not just getting them online, but ensuring that their service isn’t second class, thus contributing to a more equitable democracy.