From Neighborhoods to Washington: Conclusions and Policy Solutions

Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert and William Franko

in Digital Cities

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199812936
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979769 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Digital Politics

From Neighborhoods to Washington: Conclusions and Policy Solutions

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This chapter focuses on policy solutions to address both opportunity and inequalities in effective technology use. Actions can be taken by different levels of government, by both public and private sector actors. Federalism and private sector provision fragment power and authority across geography, and affect the contributions that actors can make in each level and sector. Affordability is a primary reason why Americans offline, not a lack of broadband infrastructure. We consider a range of policies, some under way and some only proposed. These include changes to the Universal Service Fund and low-income subsidy to address the affordability of Internet access in urban areas. Policy solutions need to address the high cost of Internet access in cities, and programs in poor neighborhoods must address both the cost of broadband and the skills that residents need to participate online. Chicago's Smart Communities Initiative is an innovative, but partial solution. We conclude with what we see as a need for continued local initiative, and more equitable federal policy to address the need for digital citizenship in America's cities and rural communities.

Keywords: public policy; federalism; urban; cities; Chicago; smart communities; internet; broadband; technology; inequality

Chapter.  6855 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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