Federal Communications Commission

Public/Private Partnership to Help Small Businesses with Broadband

April 6th, 2010 by Dave Vorhaus - Expert Advisor, Economic Opportunity

When the National Broadband Plan was released last month, Chairman Genachowski emphasized that it was the beginning of a long process, not the end. But one of the plan’s recommendations on a timely topic is already coming to fruition.

Recommendation 13.3 in the Economic Opportunity chapter calls for the executive branch to develop a public/private partnership that can provide technology training and tools to bolster digital literacy, web usage, e-commerce, and online communications tools and expertise among small, disadvantaged businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises in low-income areas.  The Small Business Administration, SBA’s volunteer arm, SCORE, and many of the leading firms from within the tech sector have been working diligently to get this partnership off the ground, and are ready to unveil the plethora of training tools, services, applications, counseling and financial support they have marshaled to help drive broadband use by these small businesses.

The partnership effort will officially kick off with an event at The Ronald Reagan Building this Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. EDT. Chairman Genachowski, SBA Administrator Karen Mills and SCORE CEO Ken Yancey will all speak about the importance of broadband to small businesses in general and this consortium in particular. In addition, representatives from founding private sector partners AT&T, Best Buy, Cisco, Constant Contact, Google, HP, Intuit, Microsoft, Skype and Time Warner Cable Business Class will outline their visions for the small business market and explain how this effort will help see those through to reality. We’d encourage all those who are able to register for the event and join us in person, or watch the event live online at and join the conversation on Twitter feed using #BBplan.

2 Responses to “Public/Private Partnership to Help Small Businesses with Broadband”

  1. Vondra says:

    Somehow, large corporations are in the game, no matter what. Other than as objects of the large corporations, how will small business be involved in the architecture, planning and roll-out of broadband?

    Please name some small/medium businesses that have the same stature and roll in this project as, say, AT&T, Best Buy, Cisco, Constant Contact, Google, HP, Intuit, Microsoft, Skype and Time Warner Cable Business Class.

    If you cannot, the you have yet again missed an opportunity to win over main street. Tossing to them a broadband bone is insulting, you know.

  2. Dave says:

    The purpose of this consortium effort is not to provide broadband service to small businesses. Rather, this particular initiative is focused on the usage of broadband, and thus is designed to provide discounted applications, services, content, and training to small businesses to help maximize their broadband connections.

    That said, as you rightly point out, it is important that small businesses are suppliers in this program, and not just benefactors. Among the founding partners, two small business technology firms, Engage and DRT Strategies, are full consortium partners contributing to this effort. SCORE will be continually recruiting additional small business partners as the consortium grows moving forward.

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