Federal Communications Commission

Connecting America’s Stories: A Government Of, By and For the People

June 8th, 2010 by Page Schindler Buchanan

President Obama has set clear goals that federal agencies must strive to meet -- changes that will result in greater government efficiency, transparency, and responsiveness.

The National Broadband Plan team heeded that call -- highlighting successful initiatives and identifying areas for improvement -- and their recommendations show how broadband innovation can help drive government accountability. Across the nation people shared their stories and ideas about Broadband, helping to shape the future of government accountability and civic engagement in our country.

Alberta in Little River, California

Why is Broadband important? Try to access a US Government website and wait 5 minutes for it to load. Try to download a tax form. An email with a file attached may take an hour or more. Try to run a business.

Expanding access to broadband is an important step, but getting government agencies online and working together with citizens is the next frontier in our society.

In this video, members of the Government Performance and Civic Engagement team talk about the plan and exciting innovations that are already happening.

Eugene Huang led the Government Performance and Civic Engagement team on the National Broadband Task Force.

One of the things that we found was that there were pockets of government inefficiency, certainly. But there were pockets of excellence in government that we found throughout the country, and using the Broadband Plan to highlight those best practice examples… was a historic opportunity, in my estimation, to chart a new course for the country, not just in the coming year, but in the next decade and years to come.

By opening up government, not only does government become more accountable and accessible to people, but innovations can happen in the public and private spheres.

Kevin Bennett worked with Eugene on the plan.

We’re also seeing agencies develop Open Government plans, so that each agency becomes more open to citizen engagement, more approachable.  There’s more information provided online to citizens.  So instead of government maintaining its often stereotype of being a Black Box – a place that’s difficult to navigate, hard to understand - it becomes more open and engaging for citizens and there becomes a more two-way dialogue developed.

Rob in El Centro, California

I love that it is possible to bring public meetings to the masses through broadband. You can access a meeting "on-demand" 24/7 and be apart of the decision making process.

One of the most exciting aspects of the plan is that the team reached out to Americans in the development of the plan itself.  A national survey, live workshops around the country, the Broadband blog, crowdsourcing from, Facebook and Twitter all played a role in creating the recommendations in the plan.

Eugene Huang

We really attempted to practice what we preached in the Broadband Plan in terms of engaging citizens, seeking input, using new forms of new media. 

As an example, if you took a look at how developed over the course of the Broadband Plan.  We reached out to the public at large to solicit their ideas for what went into the Broadband Plan.  We broadcast over the web all of our public hearings.  We did so in a very open and transparent process.

One of the things that we are very fond of it the number of Twitter followers we had: Third highest number of Twitter followers in the federal government behind the White House and the Centers for Disease Control.

David in Peyton, Colorado found a way to demonstrate to us exactly why we need to make broadband AND the government more accessible.

As a test of my dial-up speed, I downloaded the 'National Broadband Plan' PDF file (11.77MB) in a total of 72 minutes. I hope the FCC broadband plan is successful.

Check out these links to learn more about improving government performance and increasing civic engagement through broadband technology, and please continue to share your stories about broadband with us.  Follow us on Twitter @FCC and stay tuned into #bbplan for more on the future of broadband.


One Response to “Connecting America’s Stories: A Government Of, By and For the People”

  1. Guest says:

    I hope the city San Bernardino, CA goes along with the plan.

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