National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL)
Rep Calvin Smyre
202 624-5457 (office)
706 326-3888 (mobile)
(BLACK PR WIRE) (December 9, 2009) WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- State Representative Calvin Smyre, (GA), President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) will be a panelist at the Federal Communications Commissions workshop on examining how local government officials can ensure that underserved communities are connected to vital telecommunications infrastructure and how to increase broadband adoption rates. Rep. Smyre issues the following statement:
We, the members of NBCSL, have continuously highlighted the importance of increasing broadband accessibility and adoption rates in underserved communities because we realize that in the information age, connectivity and usability are vital to economic development. The Universal Service Fund and various broadband grant programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act present key opportunities to increase broadband adoption rates and create economic and educational opportunities for underserved communities. This dialogue will go a long way in helping to create a National Broadband Plan as required under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The input of local officials is an integral component of these plans because local officials, especially those that represent underserved communities, feel the economic impacts of poor broadband adoption rates. For example, many employers require job seekers to submit applications online thus rendering those from underserved communities at a significant disadvantage. Further, many opportunities for educational advancement are only available online. For years, we have talked about the Digital Divide; now, there is a national effort to redress these imbalances and foster greater economic growth.
About the National Black Caucus of State Legislators
Founded in 1977, NBCSL consists of 646 state legislators, from 42 states, the Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, committed to opening doors and educating its membership on important policy issues so they can be more effective advocates for their constituents. Annually, NBCSL holds symposia to highlight issues such as health disparities, housing inequality and broadband accessibility. NBCSL is actively engaged in the implementation of policies to protect and benefit all Americans. To learn more about NBCSL, visit www.nbcsl.org.