April 27: Speaking Up for a Fair and Open Internet

This week, Seattle will get our chance to weigh in on the future of broadband in the US, as the FCC returns to Seattle with a pair of events focused on preserving an open Internet.

On Tuesday evening, Apr 27, FCC staff will be featured guests at a community conversation on open Internet and net neutrality, hosted by Reclaim the Media along with Hidmo, KBCS Community Radio and the NW Media Action Grassroots Network. The event, Speaking Up for a Fair and Open Internet, takes place 6:30-8:30pm at Asian Counseling and Referral Service, 3639 Martin Luther King Way in Seattle.

Then, at 9:30am on Weds. Apr. 28, the FCC will hold an official workshop on Preserving the Open Internet, downtown at the Federal Building. Both events are free and open to the public.

Want to come to one event but not both? The Tuesday evening event will offer far better opportunities to speak and interact with FCC staff and other featured guests; the focus of the event will be talking together about Internet policy and how it connects with related issues including social equality, education, economic development, social equality, and communications rights.

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FCC announces panelists for Apr 28 Open Internet hearing

Today the FCC announced the roster of expert panelists speaking at the April 28 open Internet workshop in Seattle. The public workshop will take place at 9:30am at the Federal Building in downtown Seattle. While attendees will be allowed to pose questions or comments only through written notecards, the workshop will also be streamed online, where viewers will be invited to comment via Twitter.

Panelists will include Seattle Chief Technology Officer Bill Schrier, and net neutrality opponent Carl Gipson from the Washington Policy Center, as well as academic researchers and corporate representatives. The public interest sphere will be represented by Gigi Sohn from the DC-based nonprofit Public Knowledge.

Read more. is expanding into Seattle is expanding its coverage to Seattle, currently soliciting support for three Seattle-focused stories to be researched and written by independent journalists, The project, launched a couple years ago in San Francisco by David Cohn, uses an innovative community-funded model for investigative journalism. With the help of independent journalists and readers, identifies news stories that need to be researched and reported--then sets a reporting budget and solicits contributions to fund the reporting.

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LPFM: Light at the end of the tunnel?

These days, it may be difficult to imagine the US Senate working on anything other than health care. But now that lawmakers appear to be nearly done with that mammoth issue, other business awaits. Grassroots media watchers across the country are hopeful that, with the leadership of Senator Maria Cantwell, a long-awaited bill expanding Low-Power FM community radio could soon become law.

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FCC releases National Broadband Strategy

On March 16, the Federal Communications Commission released its national broadband strategy, a year in the making. The document is as inspiring as it is broad-reaching--envisioning a dramatic nationwide expansion of truly high-speed (gigabit) Internet access, the world's best wireless broadband systems, and completing next-generation networks supporting health care, public safety and community institutions as well as business and government.

The FCC's plan is being praised widely (read more for an initial response from the Media & Democracy Coalition, of which Reclaim the Media is a member). But their job isn't done yet. The FCC will continue to gather public input about the strategy; key policy battles such as net neutrality remain unresolved; and many urban and rural communities are still working at the local level to expand affordable access.

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Let's Get Connected! Digital Justice forum on March 3

Hidmo Community Empowerment Project, Reclaim the Media and NW MAG-Net present Let's Get Connected: Internet and Social Justice in Central and South Seattle, a community forum on winning better, faster, and more affordable Internet access in the historically underserved neighborhoods of the Central District and Beacon Hill. The event, Let's Get Connected, takes place Weds. March 3, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Garfield Community Center on 2323 E. Cherry Street, Seattle.

Participants in the March 3 "Let's Get Connected" event will be invited to share their own experiences with local Internet access, while community media producers document their stories on audio and video. Featured guest speakers will discuss the history of telecommunications access in central and South Seattle, present-day challenges for fair, affordable access, and ways the City can respond to public outcry for digital justice.

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Tales from the Coffeehouse: Naomi on Internet access in Seattle

"I use social networks such as facebook and twitter to let the public know about events taking place where I work. This works really well and is so effective."

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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Leah on Internet access in Seattle

I am a student at Seattle Central Community College, and working my way toward a masters in teaching. My enrollement, class registration, applications for graduate programs, financial aid and classwork. I need reliable internet access. I feel very lucky to have internet access at home. Without this, I'm not sure I would have been able to juggle work, school, and applications. Having access at home meant I could register for classes after work hours, take an online class and research graduate programs into the wee hours of the night.

I even applied for unemployment benefits online when I lost my job! had I not had this kind of access, I cerntainly would have been at a serious disadvantage financially and academically. Everyone deserves this kind of access!

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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Paul on Internet access in Seattle

"The internet is very important to me – I am a single, independent consultant that has clients all over the country and even two in foreign countries. I communicate with all of my clients via the internet using email, websites, Facebook, and Skype. I send work presentations and invoices $$$$. I also talk with my granddaughter on the internet."

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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Ahmefule on Internet access in Seattle

"As a musician, I use the Internet to send recordings of rehearsals to band members so they can practice the material at home. Also, I applied for a job yesterday and they don't accept paper resumes."

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey