FCC Chairman Julius Genachwoski praised the cable industry
for its proposal to provide low-cost broadband to kids in low-income families
as a way to boost adoption among one of the key target populations.
"The cable industry's considerable investment in this
program represents an important step in addressing the many broadband adoption
challenges we face," he said in a statement Dec. 1. "Recognizing that
there is no silver bullet for promoting sustainable adoption, the A+ program
offers students the combined support of digital literacy education, discounted
computers, and discounted broadband access.
"This comprehensive approach promises to significantly
expand the educational, social, and economic opportunities for our next
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association
proposal is contingent on the government coming up with funding for digital
literacy education, and for either the government, the computer industry, or a combination
of both, to subsidize low-cost computers.
Genachowski, whose congrats had actually already been
conveyed by broadband advisor Blair Levin during a conference call announcing
the effort, was certainly not alone in praising the proposal, according
comments collected by NCTA from a spectrum of groups, including Common Sense
Media, on which Genachowski was a former board member.
"It's great news to see the cable industry take the
initiative to propose new ways to partner with the government to help the most
underserved kids get access to broadband," said James Steyer, founder and
CEO of Common Sense Media. "It's even more important to see that industry
leaders recognize that kids need digital literacy and media education programs
so that they can use broadband in smart, safe ways that will bring real
improvements not only to their education but also their economic futures."
NCTA said it would welcome participation in other ISPs, like
phone companies, to join the effort. AT&T said it had already been in
"Today's A+ Proposal by the cable industry is a welcome step,"
said AT&T senior executive VP Jim Cicconi. "The Internet has the ability to
change lives and can help children reach for the stars at a critical time in
their development. By focusing on some critical barriers to Internet adoption,
this proposal makes a positive contribution to the discussion about how best to
ensure that all Americans have access to the Internet. We have already
been in touch with the NCTA about the A+ Proposal, and look forward to working
with them and the FCC as details are developed."