May 22, 2022

ALA, Leading Digital Inclusion Advocates Launch Airwaves for Equity Coalition

From the American Library Association:

Today, the American Library Association, along with eight other of the nation’s leading digital equity organizations, announced the launch of Airwaves for Equity, a coalition focused on asking Congress to dedicate the net proceeds from future spectrum auctions to support digital literacy and inclusion efforts.

The coalition consists of the American Library Association (ALA), the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, the Center for Rural Strategies, Common Sense Media, Consumer Reports, National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), Public Knowledge, the Open Technology Institute at New America, and the Schools Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition.

ALA Senior Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Alan Inouye, who spoke at the launch webinar, said, “ALA is ready and eager to make a big leap with the Airwaves for Equity initiative to advocate for sustainable federal investments in digital literacy and inclusion that could support services libraries have long excelled at.”

Airwaves for Equity proposes that Congress dedicate a substantial portion of wireless spectrum auction revenues to endow a Digital Equity Foundation. The goal is to provide sustainable funding for initiatives designed to promote digital literacy and inclusion, from local digital navigator programs and telehealth to disability access and efforts to close the learning gap.

Leaders on the Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy and Commerce from both parties have embraced the concept of dedicating auction proceeds to help close the digital divide in other recent legislation. Because the FCC’s auction authority must be extended this year, the needed legislation will create an opportunity to leverage revenues from the invisible natural resource owned by the American people that has become essential as the internet goes wireless: the public airwaves.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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