The Federal Communications Commission, in fulfilling their obligation to create broadband plan, is required (pdf) to lay out "a plan for the use of broadband infrastructure and services" in a series of contexts, including civic participation and other national purposes.
As the FCC has prepared their highly anticipated broadband plan (holding a variety of public events), they have heard from a number of transparency advocates, and recognized the role technology has to play in creating a more open, accountable government. (Andrew Rasiej and I testified at an earlier FCC workshop on e-government.)
As the FCC discusses and announces their findings, they seem committed to the sort of government policies that can help turn Internet access into a transformative tool for citizenship. Slides from a Commission meeting on 2/18/10 underscore this comittment:
Increasing the quantity and quality of civic engagement • Make the federal government more open and transparent - Release more government data and information on digital platforms • Create a more robust digital public media ecosystem - Support public media’s transition to digital platforms for content and delivery • Engage citizens using online and social media channels - Implement broadband-enabled tools to increase civic participation • Engage citizens to increase innovation in government • Modernize democratic processesWhile they describe the goals in broad terms, this is the sort of commitment necessary for our vision of empowered digital citizenship to become a reality.
Update: Sunlight submitted comments to the FCC to the same effect last June, which can be read here.