Musicians should know at least the basics about broadband. Our microphones work on broadband (due to spectrum). Our music, played through the internet, is heard because of broadband. If that’s not important enough, broadband enables Americans to learn, research, engage in civic activities, economic opportunity and contribute to the clean energy economy through lower carbon emissions and energy efficiency. If a community lacks access to broadband, and many in the United States today still do, their connect-ability is impeded. In early 2009, Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to create a National Broadband Plan to ensure that every American has access to broadband. When President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, nearly $7.2 billion was obligated for broadband-related activities under the auspices of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service. The final funds were dispensed and so far the reports have been positive. Read more .
On October 8, the Obama Administration made a clear commitment to people with disabilities by signing into law the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. The disabled are often unable to access devices, software, services, and content online. Assistive technologies such as Braile, alternative communication devices, and screen readers are expensive and sometimes not interoperable with new technologies. The Administration is making it a priority for people with disabilities to enjoy the full benefits of the broadband age, which includes access to artist sites and music services, among many others.
On October 21, as part of this initiative, the Federal Communications Commission partnered with the University of Colorado and Raising the Floor to launch “Lifted by the Cloud: Visions of Cloud-Enhanced Accessibility”. Cloud computing can allow people to access the assistive technologies (language translation, audio versions of documents, captioning).
The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that people with disabilities and in rural communities enjoy full access to the benefits of the broadband age. Though it will never be a juicy news topic, these policies will dramatically impact the lives of the disabled and outlying communities. The commitment by the federal government and the Obama Administration to expand broadband is arguably one of the most important issues of this century.
- Shai Littlejohn
Shai Littlejohn is an attorney in the music industry, singer-songwriter and Professional Music major at Berklee. She is currently interning with the Future of Music Coaliton, an artist’s rights lobby and advocacy group in Washington DC. Though late November, Shai will work as an integral member of the coalition team in developing, organizing and promoting both the Future of Music Policy Summit as well as the Dear New Orleans Benefit Rock Show.
Follow Shai on Twitter for continuing tips and updates on music law and policy at https://twitter.com/ShaiMusic.
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