FCC Endorsing Open Government


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 processes

While 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.