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FCC Commissioner’s Connecting Communities Tour is Broadband Focused

April 19, 2016 By Finley Engineering in

FCC Commissioner Mignon L. Clyburn is setting out a Connecting Communities tour, with plans to sound out people’s opinions regarding how to broaden access to affordable, robust communications services to all Americans. The full name of the tour is “Connecting Communities: Bridging the Communications and Opportunities Divide Tour.”

The Connecting Communities Tour is expected to span several months and to be chronicled on Twitter using the hashtag #ConnectingCommunities, the FCC highlights in a press release.

Connecting Communities Tour

During the Connecting Communities Tour Commissioner Clyburn will:

  • Meet with rural and urban communities to hear their perspectives on the benefits and challenges of embracing 21st century communications services;
  • Visit health care facilities using broadband to improve patient care;
  • Meet with startups, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and providers of all sizes;
  • Visit correctional facilities to understand the impact of inmate calling reform;
  • Meet with entities focused on promoting diversity and enhancing opportunities for women and minorities;
  • Tour Tribal lands to examine their unique communications challenges;
  • Visit local 9-1-1 call centers to learn about their efforts to upgrade to Text-to-911 and Next Generation 911.

 The Connecting Communities Tour is part and parcel of the ¨Outside the Beltway¨ program Commissioner Clyburn launched last year to promote digital inclusion. Previous activities have included workshops and discussions with community organizations, communications services providers, students and health care providers in Jackson, Mississippi; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Detroit, Michigan; and Cleveland, Ohio.

“I’m excited to embark on this national tour to hear from those seeking to bridge the communications and opportunities divide,¨ Clyburn was quoted as saying. ¨This is a unique opportunity to gain new insights and ensure that the FCC hears a wide range of perspectives, including the many voices that often go unheard.”

Following the tour the Commissioner plans to deliver a major policy speech this fall wherein she will share her observations and outline policies she has advanced during her term to foster wider communications services access regardless of location or economic status.

Congressional Initiatives

Congressional members are looking to bridge the Digital Divide as well. The bi-partisan Rural Broadband Caucus intends to ¨facilitate discussion, educate Members of Congress and staff and develop policy solutions.¨ 

“Access to reliable, high-speed Internet service is vital to economic growth in communities across America,” Caucus co-chair Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) stated in a press release. “Whether it is for commerce, education or public safety needs, broadband service allows individuals and businesses in rural communities to take advantage of new technologies and stay connected to a 21st Century economy.”