The Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute hosted a panel discussion today at the Capitol detailing broadband's impact on the lives of senior citizens, people with disabilities and the small business community, and underscoring specific concerns the FCC needs to address as they move forward with calibrating Internet-related public policy and executing the National Broadband Plan.
The panel entitled, "Broadband Technologies & Trends in 2010: A Focus on Small Businesses, Aging, and Disability Communities" consisted of advocates from various groups: Charles Davidson, director of the Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute, Debra Berlyn, executive director of the Project to Get Older Adults onLine (GOAL), Karen Kerrigan, president of the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, Thomas Kamber, executive director of Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) and Jenifer Simpson, senior director of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).
During the panel these speakers highlighted some of life-enhancing impacts broadband has on senior citizens and people with disabilities such as: enabling remote health monitoring and real-time telemedicine consultations, sustaining essential communications services for the hearing impaired through real-time video relay, increasing mental well-being among senior citizens by providing increased connectedness and providing people with disabilities an array of educational and employment opportunities.
In addition the panel stressed the need for the FCC to reflect in its rule-making the unique importance and impact broadband possesses for senior citizens and people with disabilities. And urged the Commission to implement a regulatory approach that is sufficiently flexible, adaptable, and accommodating of the many new uses and services of broadband.
"In a world where broadband-enabled tools and services are components of everyday life and especially important for senior citizens and people with disabilities, it is imperative that public policy not inadvertently hinder or disadvantage these demographics with a rigid regulatory approach," said Chuck Davidson, director of the Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute. "Otherwise the vital uses of broadband that these communities depend on, including: broadband-enabled communication devices, video relay services, remote telemedicine services and delivery of time-sensitive medical services will be vulnerable to network congestion, reliability issues, and other problems in an environment where broadband providers are prohibited from managing or prioritizing traffic."
The Advanced Communications Law & Policy Institute (ACLP) at New York Law focuses on identifying and promoting constructive debate of the key regulatory issues facing the wireline, wireless, broadband, and IP platforms, collectively known as the advanced communications sector. ACLP's mission is to promote robust, solution-oriented dialogs amongst state and federal policy makers, industry, and academe concerning the issues presented in a constantly evolving advanced communications landscape. www.nyls.edu/centers/projects/advanced_communications_law_and_policy_institute