Today (Dec. 22, 2008), the Media & Democracy Coalition — of which FMC is a member — released a "Statement of Public Interest Groups on Proposed Broadband Principles in Upcoming Economic Stimulus Package." That's a mouthful, we know. Despite its tongue-twisting title, the document offers well-thought out reasons why policymakers should focus on a coherent national broadband policy that includes accountability, local approaches, metrics for access and adoption, and a committment to open network structures.
FMC believes that better broadband penetration will expand the legitimate digital music marketplace, and ultimately connect more artists with more listeners. We also think that any internet strategy must honor the principles of net neutrality, which provides all musicians — established or developing — with a means to reach potential audiences. And as you may have noticed, we're pretty into localism — be it in community-based broadcasting or online initiatives that contribute to sustainable cultural communities.
The following is from the intro of the statement:
President-Elect Barack Obama and Congressional leaders are calling for government support to fund universal broadband Internet access as part of a potential economic stimulus package. We applaud these discussions and strongly believe that providing every community in America with high-speed Internet access – particularly those who have long remained on the margins of public participation and debate – is essential to the economic and democratic future of the U.S.
The undersigned organizations, which represent a broad coalition of local and national public interest groups, strongly support investments in broadband build-out, as well as the training, tools and other resources needed to connect those that are currently on the wrong side of the digital divide.
The economy is inextricably tied to infrastructure, of which the internet is an increasingly large part. We hope that the incoming leadership recognizes this, and takes steps to enhance democracy, culture and American competitiveness through smart and forward-looking broadband policies. The future of music (and so much more) depends on it.
Read the full statement here.