U.S. is falling behind in being digitally literate


U.S. is falling behind in being digitally literate

By Julius Genachowski
Sunday, March 14, 2010; A19

The Internet has transformed America with its power to generate innovation and opportunity and by its ability to connect, inform and entertain us like no technology in history.

But we are not even close to realizing the full potential of high-speed Internet, or “broadband,” access. Universally deployed broadband networks can be America’s engine for enduring job creation, economic growth and tremendous improvements and savings in education, health care and energy conservation.

This vision of world-leading 21st-century broadband networks and their benefits will not occur spontaneously. While the United States invented the Internet, when it comes to broadband we have fallen behind as other nations have raced ahead. Some studies show us to be as low as 15th in the world in broadband adoption; others have us higher, but none puts us even close to where we need to be.

Our nation is at a high-tech crossroads: Either we commit to creating world-leading broadband networks to make sure that the next waves of innovation and business growth occur here, or we stand pat and watch inventions and jobs migrate to those parts of the world with better, faster and cheaper communications infrastructures.

This, of course, is not a choice — which is why, this week, at the behest of Congress and the president, the Federal Communications Commission is delivering the first National Broadband Plan: a comprehensive strategy for dramatically improving our broadband networks and extending their benefits to all Americans.

The bad news is that we have a long way to go to meet this generation’s great infrastructure challenge:

Millions of Americans can’t get broadband today. Period. With so many of our daily interactions moving online — including job listings and job training during the worst recession in decades — that’s unacceptable.

— Tens of millions of Americans with access to broadband have not signed up. Our surveys show that they aren’t connected because they can’t afford it, don’t know how to use it or aren’t aware of its potential benefits.

— The vast majority of us don’t have broadband that’s fast enough to take advantage of remote video learning or medical diagnostics, or dozens of other existing and emerging applications.

— An entrepreneur can’t run a small business today without broadband, but 26 percent of rural business sites don’t have access to a standard cable modem, and more than 70 percent of small businesses have little or no mobile broadband.

— Just as mobile broadband becomes ever more important, we face a looming shortage of spectrum — the electromagnetic oxygen on which our mobile networks run.

The starting point to solve these problems is a set of goals that are ambitious but achievable with a national commitment.

— First, to ensure opportunity, every American should have access to all essential broadband services at home.

— Second, to ensure that we have the advanced networks we need to empower American businesses, we must substantially increase the capabilities of our networks. This means driving toward one gigabit to every community in America, through libraries, schools and community colleges; and creating the world’s largest market for affordable, very high-speed broadband — a “100 Squared” initiative of affordable 100 megabits per second to 100 million households — so that inventors around the world will flock to our platform.

— Third, to ensure that we capture the next wave of change, we must lead the world in the speed and reach of our mobile networks.

— Fourth, to ensure the safety of Americans, every first responder must have access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.

With smart policies, we can enable and accelerate the private investment necessary to achieve this future. If we have the political will, we can reclaim the licensed and unlicensed spectrum our wireless networks need to thrive. We can transform the multibillion-dollar fund that supports the universal availability of traditional voice communication to one that supports universal broadband. We can promote competition, for example, by removing barriers, encouraging investment and empowering consumers with the information they need to make the market work. And we can offer every American the tools to be digitally literate — a prerequisite to participating in the new economy.

If we adopt these and other good ideas, we can harness the power of a technology with the greatest potential to advance our economic and social welfare since the advent of electricity.

Imagine a world where children in low-income neighborhoods can have access in their classrooms to the best teachers in the world and access at home to the most up-to-date e-textbooks. Picture a time when diabetic seniors living in rural areas without ready access to doctors can get nutrition counseling on home computers.

History teaches us that nations that lead technological revolutions reap enormous rewards. We can lead the revolution in wired and wireless broadband. But the moment to act is now.

The writer is chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

From: angelaflynn80@msn.com
To: letters@washpost.com

Regarding:  U.S. is falling behind in being digitally literate

by Julius Genachowski

Broadband access is a great asset, however perhaps not everyone is interested in it.  FCC Chairman Genachowski says that 70% of smaill businesses do not have adequate broadband and that an entrepreneur cannot run a business without such access.  This does not compute.  Obviously many entrepreneurs are running their business without broadband.

There are 245,912 cell phone towers in the United States, and yet there have been no studies conducted in the U.S. on the risk to human health caused by increased exposure to radiofrequency radiation emissions (EMF/RF).  Studies in other countries show increased rates of cancer, sleep disturbances and memory problems in those living closest to cell towers.

I moved away from  wireless antennas after I started experiencing the typical symptoms of memory loss, inability to sleep and irritability.  I hear from people all over the country who have had to move or install EMF/RF shielding after antennas went in near their homes.  I also hear from people who are fighting the placement of antennas near their homes and children’s schools due to the overwhelming evidence that it is harmful to our health to have chronic exposure to the EMF/RF from the transmitters.

If Chairman Genachowski wants to keep our country safe he will work for a national fiber optics network.  Fiber optics uses the least energy and has the greatest bandwidth for all broadband systems.  It also has no EMF/RF emissions and is therefore will not harm the broadband users or their neighbors.

Angela Flynn

Wireless Radiation Alert Network

5309 Iroquois Road

Bethesda, MD  20816

FAX 301-229-4752



1 Comment

Filed under EMF

One response to “U.S. is falling behind in being digitally literate

  1. sandaura

    We began this story winter or 2006 in Massachusetts, trying to bring attention to serious problems of disruptive and noxious noise due to DSL conducted across power lines. Despite the backing of scientists and researchers, and reams and reams of studies and papers pointing to this phenomenon, we continue to live day after day with this same noise caused by DSL transmitted on dirty power lines. The noise is obvious all through the town, and in many towns where the ambient background noise levels are quieter than large cities. Since we began this fight three years ago in MA, we have also lodged complaints in New York State, as we have homes in that State. We filed with New York State Public Utilities Commission and Attorney General’s office because of noise we found at our homes outside of Albany and Manchester, NY. The Commission has contacted Verizon, Albany Frontier Communications, Rochester, National Grid, Albany and RG&E of Rochester, NY. I have been working with the power quality engineer, Dave Shields since September 09. The technician who was with him heard the noise with the power to my parents house and with the main power to the house turned off. I asked for them to perform this test so that they would not try to point at the trouble as being inside the home instead of outside and coming in, as it is doing. Unlike National Grid, RG&E have been very cooperative. They tested outside and the results prove there is serious harmonic distortion on the system. I am hearing from people everyday who are becoming aware of the noise and are very troubled by it. Like us, they have investigated to no avail and the noise continues even during power outages, wakes them from deep slumber, and causes other irritations throughout the day. Likewise, they do not know what to do about it.

    Despite the comfort in knowing RG&E have confirmed there is a problem, I have yet to receive any opinion or comments regarding the technical results in the form of graphs, waveforms, reports. The corporate office of RG&E called and said they are having a corporate conference to go over all the notes and reports, and will get back to me with feedback. They didn’t argue our conclusions that the DSL is the source and the cause of the Radio frequency interference on the power lines, but instead were quite agreeable, saying that no one should have to live with this in their environment.

    The response from the State and Utilities in NY has been somewhat more receptive, but since the Commission has contacted RG&E to follow up on the complaint; RG&E spokesperson, Arthur Kruppenbacher; has contacted us to state We will not be providing additional analysis of data, doing additional testing, or making contacts with other utilities since the testing we have done to date has not shown any substantiation of additional work. This is the same response we have gotten in MA when they are asked to be more transparent and request that testing be more comprehensive. Our issues in Massachusetts have an additional complication in that some of the noise was being generated by a neighbor’s 25KVA pad mounted transformer. There is thudding and a low, almost infrasound rumbling, from that transformer all day long and all night long, as well. National Grid not only refuses to remove the transformer from the ground and place it on a pole, they have refused to check for possible cable breaks, knowing that the transformer caught fire, several years back. Additionally, they refuse to conduct the proper pure tone/noise testing to help identify and mitigate the problem. They have ignored suggestions from the maker of the transformer itself, and have contaminated testing by covering microphones with plastic wrap and then denying they had any results from one of the overnight meters. This is all true and documented, and sounds like a strange sci-fi novel, but it is sadly true.

    Our days for the past three years have been filled with searching for and speaking with experts, researching possible solutions, emailing power quality engineers and physicist who are more likely to discuss this problem with some degree of intelligence, and having to hold our tongues with engineers who don’t know the first thing about transmission of noise. All the while, this incessant noise is pounding in our brains, with the torture intensified at night because of the siren pure tones when the signals are conducted across the power lines which act as antennae, carrying the noise far and wide. Add to this the fact that lawyers “versed” in environmental concerns have to start at square one, meanwhile charging up to $500 per hour to learn from us about the issue, while they are bombarded by power company reps who tell them we are nuts.

    The air in our town, and probably yours, too, is thick with harmonics and pure tones, due to wireless technology, DSL, and microwave towers, erected and installed to create a superhighway of invisible carcinogenic radio frequencies. Children play on playgrounds and on baseball fields while pure tones provide a nauseating background melody, blending eerily with the sounds of chirping birds and wind through the trees. Bike riders and Appalachian trail hikers wonder what that ringing and buzzing is. Dozens of witnesses have heard the noxious tones and have wanted to shorten their visit to our town, and our homes. They report that their heads fill with pressure and they wake up repeatedly, feeling nauseous, anxious and overheated. As the visitors leave, they offer condolences, some writing letters to the Department of Environmental Protection, begging them to help end this torture for us. But to no avail. The authority and regulatory agencies won’t come out here, or anywhere in Massachusetts to do any effective testing, and then they allow the utilities to drag their feet for years, pretending interest, while all the while putting up road block after road block, so that no regulatory tests ever get done.

    Every morning I wake exhausted and not with joy for the new day and all the wonderful possibilities it has to offer. I pick up the phone and start

    calling again for help that doesn’t come. It is like “Ground Hogs Day” The same hell just repeats itself over and over and over and this has been the routine for over 3 years now. No wonder the second home owners in our neighborhood rarely come here. Time will never be able to replace the moments I have lost. I fear the stress of what we are involuntarily being subjected to will manifest in illness; that will become more evident in the near future.

    We are living on reserves with the constitutions inherited from our
    strong family genes, but how long will that last?

    How can human beings turn their back at people who are suffering? I have cried on the phone and have cried in frustration and anger at Barbara Kwetz, Bob Knorr, the governor’s office, Christine O’toole at the Department of Public Utilities, Karen Robinson complaint mgr. for DTC and DPU, our town, our senator Downing, and our Rep “Smitty” Pignatelli. We sat with Pignatelli in his office for an hour and brought evidence and recordings for him to hear. He was an electrician contractor before going into wasting space in government. After our meeting he promised to get back to us, but he never. After our meeting he would not call us back or respond to our emails. He just disappeared, just like all the rest of the cowards.
    > in my latest YOUTUBE ENTRY I wrote:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mLtygxIaFs> 1 23 10 Cheryl Wenning from Verizon Corporate office left us a voice message stating there is nothing they can do to assist us. They are at the mercy of the State; they will do anything the State requires them to do! The State has been playing the same game stating that the Utilities are not cooperating and blame the utilities for the delay. The State has failed to protect us, thereby causing serious, irreversible health risks to me, my family, my animals and our community. This is inexcusable.

    We urge anyone who has any interest in helping rectify this global issue, to contact your Attorney General’s Office to complain about the impact of DSL and wireless technology. United we can pressure the “power” companies to install the necessary protections to end the infiltration of dangerous contaminants into our lives. We have the right to a safe and hazard free environment.

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