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The Alliance for Digital Equality Leadership in Nation's Capital to Advocate for Increased Minority Access to Broadband Technology
Mar 25, 2010 (04:03 PM EDT)

Following the release of the Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan, ADE encourages a focus on affordable access and increased broadband adoption to achieve universal broadband

ATLANTA, March 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) leadership including Chairman Julius H. Hollis, Vice Chairman Manuel (Manny) A. Diaz and Senior Advisor Shirley Franklin, traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to advocate for increased minority access to broadband technology.  Their trip follows the recent release of the Federal Communications Commission's National Broadband Plan, and served as an opportunity for the ADE leadership team to begin dialogue with key policymakers, thought leaders and the media regarding the plan's implementation.

"Following the release of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, we hope to draw attention to the millions of un-served and underserved Americans who do not yet have Broadband Internet access," said Chairman Julius H. Hollis. "There is still a digital divide that exists today.  In fact, statistics suggest that African-Americans and Latinos are not making use of home broadband and Internet technology as extensively as the rest of the population.  The ADE is committed to serving as a leading voice for these communities as our country moves to implement the Broadband Plan and provide universal broadband."

The leadership team arrived in Washington, D.C., on Monday, and immediately began meeting with policymakers to discuss bridging the digital divide.  The Communications Workers of America (CWA) hosted a reception in ADE's honor that evening, at Art & Soul Restaurant in downtown, Washington, D.C. that drew a prominent mix of thought leaders and the media, including members of the Hispanic Institute, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, the National Puerto Rican Coalition and the National Urban League.  Larry Cohen, president of CWA delivered opening remarks along with Julius H. Hollis, Mayor Diaz and Mayor Franklin.

During meetings with policymakers, ADE highlighted the critical need to incent private investment in order to fund the build out necessary to offer broadband to all.  The group also focused on the need to ensure that broadband access remains affordable, in light of the $350 billion needed for this build out, as estimated by the FCC, and the importance of digital literacy programs to improve broadband adoption.

"Broadband technology is a great equalizer for people of color to advance in the areas of education, healthcare and economic development in today's global, digital economy," said Vice Chairman Manny Diaz.  "As such, universal broadband is a noble goal that we look forward to working with Congress and the FCC to achieve.  In particular, we hope to utilize our Digital Empowerment Councils, a program that essentially works like the FCC's Digital Literacy Corps."

"We were pleased to see that the FCC's plan for universal broadband provides a regulatory environment that is favorable to achieving universal broadband," said Senior Advisor Shirley Franklin.  "We must continue to incent this private investment, and must work to get our schools, hospitals and public safety officers connected.  This is a critical piece to the universal broadband puzzle."

About The Alliance for Digital Equality: The Alliance for Digital Equality, headquartered in Atlanta, GA, is a nonpartisan, non-profit consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved communities. The Alliance also serves as a bridge between policymakers and minority individuals in order to help the public understand how legislative and regulatory policies regarding new technologies can impact and empower their daily lives.

SOURCE Alliance for Digital Equality