Net Literacy to Showcase Successes in a Washington DC Broadband Adoption Summit Held by the US Internet Industry Association and Broadband for America

Net Literacy has been invited to showcase its successes of increasing computer access to over 150,000 individuals at a broadband adoption conference held by the US Internet Industry Association and Broadband for America on June 22nd at the Park Hyatt Washington in Washington DC. More about the conference is available at the USIIA website.

In May, 2009, the USIIA named Net Literacy as the preferred model for increasing digital inclusion in America. Two of Net Literacy Board members serve on Broadband for America’s Adoption Committee. The USIIA and Broadband for America asked Net Literacy to serve as a joint participant of the conference.

“Since 2003, Net Literacy’s student volunteers have increased broadband adoption and thousands of students have donated hundreds of thousands of hours of their time in the service to others,” said Student Chair Daniel Kent. “During a time when American corporations and our government should be identifying the most efficient and effective model to increase broadband adoption, Net Literacy spends thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to increase digital inclusion when other organizations spend millions of dollars or tens of millions of dollars. A community-based bottom-up public private partnership with student volunteers is a way that most efficiently increases broadband adoption on the community level.” Net Literacy has been recognized and received award from two American Presidents. US Senators Lugar and Bayh serve as Honorary Co-Chairs, and Congressmen, Lt. Governor Skillman, and Mayors also serve on its Honorary Board of Directors. Since 2005, Net Literacy has help provide or expanded over 500 computer labs throughout the Midwest.

This one day conference will discuss methods and case studies that increase broadband adoption in America and provide American tax payers and broadband providers an ROI. In its recent report to Congress, the Federal Communication’s Commission cited Net Literacy’s Community Connects and Senior Connects programs. The FCC also agreed with Net Literacy’s suggestion that a Digital Literacy Corps be created and that K-12 students on free or assisted lunch programs receive priority for subsidized or free computer hardware and broadband in the plan.

Net Literacy’s programs are independently used by students from New York to California and around the world. The US Internet Industry Association submitted a Filing to the Federal Communication Commission naming Net Literacy’s model as the preferred approach to reducing the digital divide in the United States. Net Literacy was selected by the European Union Study on Digital Inclusion as one of the 91 most promising good practice initiatives based upon an investigation of 32 countries including the EU Member States, the United States, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and India. Microsoft’s publication Innovating for inclusion: A Digital Inclusion guide for those leading the way, cites Net Literacy as one of the best of class digital inclusions examples. Other organizations and consortiums, including the US Broadband Coalition with 170 members that range from Google to Comcast and from Verizon to Cisco Systems cited Net Literacy and its model as a policy consideration in its “Adoption and Usage Report” for its programs in broadband adoption, helping the disabled, and improving the education process. The report was prepared for the Federal Communications Commission in behalf of America’s broadband industry to support the FCC’s National Broadband Plan Blueprint report to Congress. The Federal Communications Commission cited Net Literacy’s programs that teach senior citizens computer and Internet skills, teaching senior citizens, and our Digital Literacy Corps in the National Broadband Plan to Congress.

June 22nd Washington DC Broadband Adoption Summit a Success!

Blair Levin Receives Net Literacy Hero Award

With nearly 150 attendees and a “dream team” of speakers from the FCC, nonprofits, broadband providers, and other government organizations, the Broadband Adoption Summit was a success and thoughtfully discussed barriers to and catalysts that will enhance broadband adoption. Above, Net Literacy’s Daniel Kent presents a Net Literacy Hero Award to Blare Levin, the FCC’s Executive Director responsible for crafting the National Broadband Plan for Congress. Highlights of the summit, co-sponsored by Net Literacy, the US Internet Industry Association, and Broadband for America, can be viewed by clicking on this link.

The Summit was webcasted by the US Telecom Association and was videotaped by Broadband For America. The five media articles that were written will help increase awareness to digital inclusion and the importance of increasing broadband adoption. Net Literacy and the USIIA will jointly co-author a series of white papers further detailing the issues discussed during this summit.

Speakers included the key architects of the National Broadband Plan, including Blair Levin (FCC Executive Director), Brian David (FCC Director of Broadband Adoption), John Horrigan (FCC Director of Consumer Research), and Karen Archer Perry (Advisor, Adoption and Use National Broadband Plan Team). Trade associations addressing the Summit included USIIA CEO David McClure, US Telecom CEO Walter McCormick, and Fiber to the Home Council CEO Joe Savage. Other speakers represented national companies, including Bright House Networks, Dell, Intel, and Cisco Systems, among others.

US Telecom Association to Webcast "Broadband Adoption Summit"

The US Telecom Association has decided to webcast the Broadband Adoption Summit because of the importance of this conference.

At 9:05 on June 22nd – visit and you can watch the Summit live as it takes place.

The Summit’s agenda is at

Federal Communications Commission Cites Net Literacy in National Digital Broadband Plan Presented to Congress

FCC's National Broadband Plan

Based upon a forty page response to the Request for Comments issued by the FCC regarding broadband adoption that I wrote in behalf of the Net Literacy student board, the FCC contacted me in January and I spent almost an hour talking with several members of the FCC’s National Digital Broadband Plan task force. The three most important recommendations that Net Literacy made were that

– a national Digital Literacy Corps be created to increase digital inclusion and broadband adoption at the community level (
– K-12 students on free or assisted lunch programs receive priority receiving resources and subsidized computer hardware and broadband
– Executive Order 12999 be strengthen to give schools a “right of first refusal” on surplused Federal computers to increase the use of technology in the classrooms during a period where funding for education is being reduced across the country

Net Literacy’s student volunteers were gratified that the FCC recommended the creation of a Digital Literacy Corps and that K-12 students on free or assisted lunch programs receive priority in the National Broadband Plan. Our response to the FCC included over 100 comments and recommendations, most of which were incorporated in the National Broadband Plan, because in part, the comment process was designed to validate FCC’s own assumptions through the use of public feedback to their proposals. Net Literacy was gratified to see that our new recommendation “that ENL population groups (English as a New Language) be recognized as a population group with low broadband adoption” was included in the Plan. Our request regarding Executive Order 12999 was not included, but I have met with Senators Lugar’s and Bayh’s to discuss how the inclusion of this in new legislation will impact student success and increase high school graduation rates.

The National Broadband Plan specifically cited our Senior Connects program that has increased computer access to over 40,000 Americans and our Community Connects program that has increased computer access to over 110,000 Americans in over 500 community centers, senior centers, preschools, faith-based organizations, schools, libraries, and other nonprofits.

No plan can be perfect in all aspects for every constituency when addressing a major challenge that America faces – but the FCC has done an outstanding job in reaching out to Americans to solicit feedback and comment; and thoughtfully created a road map that will ensure Americans receive the richness and benefits provided by broadband.

As a youth-founded all volunteer nonprofit whose outcomes cost about 10% as much as some other larger digital inclusion solution providers, we commend the FCC in providing a strong ROI on the taxpayer dollars invested in this project.

Respectfully submitted,

Daniel Kent

Broadband for America, the US Internet Industry Association, and Net Literacy to hold "A Roadmap to Broadband Adoption" Conference on June 22nd in Washington DC

Broadband Adoption Summit
Broadband Adoption Summit

All Day “Roadmap to Broadband Adoption” Conference to be held in Washington DC on June 22nd

Broadband for America, Net Literacy and USIIA invite you to join in a special conference to help bring the rest of America online through programs to stimulate broadband adoption.

Aimed at broadband providers, community service agencies, municipal managers, consultants, educators and economic development leaders, this conference is a roadmap to use of federal stimulus grants to build effective and sustainable community programs for broadband adoption and use among the one-third of Americans not currently online. For more information, contact USIIA at [email protected] or click here.

If you have applied for or received a broadband stimulus grant or loan, this is a must-attend event for your company!

Monday, June 21st

4:00 pm Joint meeting of the USIIA Board of Directors

5:30 pm Open Reception (Attendees and Speakers)

7:00 pm USIIA Board of Directions Dinner Invitation Only

Conference Agenda*

8:30 am Continental Breakfast


9:00 am Conference welcome by Dennis C. Hayes, Chairman, USIIA


9:05 am Introductory remarks by Harold Ford, Jr., Broadband For America Co-Chair


9:20am Introductory remarks by Don Kent, Net Literacy Chair


9:35am Keynote: A legislator’s view of the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act with respect to broadband adoption. What did Congress intend, and where do we go from here? Walter B. McCormick, Jr. (President & CEO of the US Telecom Association)


10:05 am Break


10:15 am “The Broadband Adoption Paradox” – An overview of the research indicating that broadband adoption rates remain a problem in the United States, and where efforts need to be made to correct this problem.

Panel Leader: John Horrigan, Consumer Research Director at the FCC (and formerly the Associate Director, Research, with the Pew Internet & American Life Project). Panelist: Rick Herrmann (Intel, Manager, US Public Sector Initiatives, State, Local, Education, and Advocacy) and Robert J Shapiro (Chairman of Sonecon).


11:00 am The Omnibus Broadband Initiative with Blair Levin. Now a Communications and Society Fellow at the Aspen Institute, Levin was formerly Executive Director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the Federal Communications Commission, and will share his insights into the nation’s broadband plans, policies and needs.


11:45 pm Lunch on your own

11:45 pm Speakers Luncheon – By Invitation Only


1:00 pm Conference welcome by Daniel Kent, Founder and Student President of Net Literacy


1:10 pm “Where Will We Get The Computers?” A panel discussion of how to create and implement an effective program for computer re-tasking and distribution.

Panel Leader: David McClure (USIIA President). Panelists: Don Kent (Net Literacy Chair) and Kerry Murray (Dell’s Senior Council for Global Public Policy).


1:40 pm “Outline for Community Adoption Programs” An outline of a sustainable broadband adoption program, necessary programs at the federal, state and local levels.

Panel Leader: Rick Jones (Cisco Systems, Director, Strategic Relations, US Public Sector). Panelists: Brian David (Federal Communications Commission Adoption and Use Director) and Mamie Bittner (Institute of Museum and Library Services Deputy Director)


2:30 pm Break


2:45 pm “Community-Based Adoption Models” A more specific discussion of the models for community programs, including where to conduct them, who should be targeted and how to manage the programs within various county/municipal/township organizations.

Panel Leader: Karen Archer Perry (Federal Communications Commission National Broadband Taskforce ). Panelist: Emy Tseng (National Telecommunications and Information Administration Program Officer, BTOP) and Elisabeth Stock (Computers For Youth President)


3:30 pm “A Student Empowered Digital Literacy Corps” A discussion of the Net Literacy model for development of a corps of high-school and college student volunteers to implement the community-based training programs.

Speaker: Daniel Kent (Net Literacy Founder and Student President)


4:00 pm “Promoting Broadband Adoption” A panel discussion of how to better market the value proposition for broadband within communities.

Panel Leader: Marva Johnson (Bright House Networks Networks Corporate Vice President Technology Policy & Industry Affairs). Panelist: Joe Savage (President, Fiber-to-the-Home Council), Laurie Lipper (Children’s Partnership Co-Founder and Co-President) and Narvarrow Wright (President of Maximum Solutions)


5:00 pm Reception

* Note: Conference agenda is subject to change.
** Accepted pending Agency approval

Net Literacy Launches Financial Connects Program


In 2007, Net Literacy’s student board decided that “Net” financial literacy was becoming increasingly important with the proliferation of online banking and financial resources – and the increasing danger of identity theft. Also, the student board believed that students’ general lack of financial literacy caused them to be ill prepared for life. A series of informal focus groups comprised of high school students found most financial literacy websites to be “a yawn” and “boring.” Since increasing students’ life skills is one of Net Literacy’s core mission component; grants were proposed and a summer program was funded thanks to Lilly Endowment, the Old National Bank Foundation, and Bright House Networks. Net Literacy student volunteers reviewed more than 5,000 financial literacy websites and identified the 200 “best of class” videos, interactive games, and other content that made financial literacy relevant and interesting to post on the website.

Twenty student volunteers spent 40 hours during the summer at IUPUI working very quickly to learn how to storyboard, script, produce, and edit videos. Indianapolis Public Schools believed that this website would be an important resource and the district nominated students from Northwest High School, Arlington High School, Arsenal Tech High School, Broad Ripple High School, George Washington Community School, Howe Community High School, and John Marshall High School to learn about financial literacy and produce 20 videos that mixed fact and fun together.

Net Literacy Chief Technology Officer Brian Kelley (Purdue University) and Student President Daniel Kent (Haverford College) built the website and used php to create the dynamic interface to showcase the 200 “Best of Web” financial literacy videos, interactive games, and content. Phase I of the website is at

Chairman of the House Education Committee Greg Porter visited the students as they were taping the videos during the summer program, and explains why the Indiana General Assembly passed financial literacy legislation in 2009.

A press conference was held at the Indiana Department of Education’s offices, and also, Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett praised Net Literacy for this service learning project.

While this was a step in the right direction, Net Literacy’s student board believed that students could learn about financial literacy and in a compelling manner, create their own videos and interactive web based games to both engage and teach students about financial literacy. Net Literacy applied for and was successful in obtaining a $98,000 grant from State Farm. Read more by clicking on the tab “Financial Connects Contest” on this website.

“State Farm supports service-learning because it combines service to the community with classroom curriculum in a hands-on approach to mastering subject material while fostering civic responsibility,” said State Farm Community Specialist Ed Perez. “The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm’s commitment to education, our community and our youth.”

Visit for more information about the different projects being funded and about the Youth Advisory Board.

Net Literacy’s student volunteers and student board of directors thanks State Farm Youth Advisory Board and State Farm for their trust, support, and advocacy. Learn more about Net Literacy by visiting

The Indiana Department of Education is providing support to Net Literacy during Phase II of this project – but Net Literacy is solely responsible for the content and site. Additional information about the Indiana Department of Education’s Financial Literacy Standards is at

FCC Conferences with Net Literacy to Further Discuss Our Filings With the Commission

The FCC contacted Net Literacy to further discuss the 40 page filing submitted earlier this month. 

In summary, Net Literacy recommended that a digital literacy corps be established, Executive Order 12999 be strengthened so that schools receive a “right of first refusal” for all computers deemed surplus by the Federal Government, and that the National Broadband Plan provide priority to the families of K-12 students on free or assisted lunch programs and without a computer at home when allocating hardware and broadband connectivity resources.

The Ex Parte filing can be viewed by clicking on this link.

For additional information, please contact Daniel Kent at [email protected]


Net Literacy Files Comments on Adoption to the FCC

Net Literacy ( filed comments regarding adoption to the FCC on December 2nd and in response to GN Dockets Nos. 09-47, 09-51, and 09-137.  The 40 page document responded to dozens of question in the FCC’s request for comments, but the three most significant arguments Net Literacy made were:

– K-12 students on free or assisted lunch programs and without a computer at home should be the National Broadband Plan?s highest priority.
–  A Digital Literacy Corps of student volunteers should be an important component of the National Broadband Plan.
–  Executive Order 12999 should be amended to provide K-12 schools a “right of first refusal” for all Federal Government computers deemed surplus.

The filing is available at

Please contact Daniel Kent at [email protected] for additional information.

US Broadband Coalition Issues Adoption & Use Report to the FCC

In any national broadband strategy, adoption and use need to play a major role. We’ve seen numerous examples of broadband driving future applications that will enhance lives. Advances in education, health care and economic development are out there, and many Americans are going to need to increase their technological competencies in order to realize the benefits.

While the U.S. Broadband Coalition submitted a report on a national broadband strategy to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Sept. 24, it recently submitted another that offers more detailed policy suggestions.

The Broadband Adoption and Use Working Group, chaired by Charles Benton of the Benton Foundation; Link Hoewing of Verizon; Karen Archer Perry of the Knight Center of Digital Excellence, and Kenneth Peres of Communications Workers of America, collaborated with more than 30 authors representing over 25 different firms to create a new report that was delivered to the FCC Oct. 29 and will be showcased in a public forum at the FCC Hearing Room in Washington D.C. Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. EST.

“Broadband Adoption and Use: Bridging the Divide and Increasing the Intensity of Broadband Use Across All Sectors of the Economy,” is a robust document focusing on policy options that promote: inclusion, increased intensity of broadband use, interoperability, integration of broadband and technology into other programs, and expanded innovation. The report’s hundred plus policy ideas address each of these principles directly.


As more functions in our society move online, the cost of digital exclusion continues to escalate. Conversely, the value associated with any given Internet-enabled service increases as more people or devices access that service. This report includes specific recommendations to bridge the digital divide. Its universal design principles seek to bring access to people with disabilities. The benefits of broadband can potentially reach 40 percent of American adults who currently have inadequate or no access.

Intensity of Broadband Use

While broadband appears to be well integrated in some sectors of our nation’s economy, we’re actually in the beginning stages of broadband adoption as a whole. The potential to further leverage broadband technologies across society and the economy creates unparalleled opportunities to grow our economy and enrich lives.

The report covers a number of policy options designed to increase adoption and use in the areas of economic development, health care, public safety, education, energy and sustainability, and democracy and civic engagement.


While broadband developments to-date are founded on the natural interoperability of Internet Protocol (the method by which data is sent from one computer to another), more application-level interoperability is needed to accelerate development across sectors and constituencies such as in health care and public safety. The report points out where policy and standardization can drive additional deployment and create new, more effective use models.

Integration of Broadband into Everything

Broadband technology and Internet-based applications can no longer be managed and funded in “technology silos” of policy and investment. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is integral to social services, education, health care, safety, civic rights and engagement, and all other sectors of the economy. The report recommends ICT investment and policy be incorporated into other federal and state programs such as housing, social services, education, and health care as integral funded and mission-aligned program components.


Strategic investments such as those made through the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act’s broadband stimulus funding, Universal Service Funds and USDA Rural Health programs are critical to filling gaps in the market in terms of access, adoption and applications.


The hallmark of the Internet age has been innovation. While change is necessary to broaden and deepen the impact of broadband across the U.S., changes must also preserve and encourage continued innovation at all levels of the economy and market. A number of recent studies have shown the Internet is the new platform for innovation not only in the U.S. but globally. Consider the number of new applications and devices over the past few years.

Could any of us have accurately predicted this exact kind of innovation would take place? Can we accurately predict the future possibilities that exist? Probably not.

But as the Coalition suggests, we can encourage policies that will “focus not on protecting status quo but in continuing to create a fertile environment for U.S.-based innovation, expansion as well as adoption and use.”

Over 30 industry experts from 25 firms contributed to “Broadband Adoption and Use: Bridging the Divide and Increasing the Intensity of Broadband Use Across All Sectors of the Economy,” In addition to the report co-chairs, Alcatel-Lucent, Net Literacy, Telcordia, Utilities Telecom Council, PC Rebuilders and Recyclers, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, OneCommunity and many others contributed to this report.

Each report section includes a statement on the opportunity, barriers and possible policy options to be implemented at the federal, state or local levels of government. While the report reflects a few areas of contention, there is strong overall agreement that increasing the adoption and use of broadband technology and services is good for America and for Americans.

With the Internet celebrating only its 40th birthday and search functions just over 10 years old, this is still a field in the early stages of growth and value. There is much we can do to create greater inclusion in adoption and to drive for greater value across those sectors where broadband is already in use and this report includes a menu of serious options for consideration.

Future events

The “Broadband Adoption and Use: Bridging the Divide and Increasing the Intensity of Broadband Use Across All Sectors of the Economy” report will be publicly released Nov. 13 and will be showcased in live and webcast events at the FCC Headquarters on the same day at 1 p.m. EST. Please go to for more details, or contact Karen Archer Perry at the Knight Center ([email protected]) or Don Kent at Net Literacy ([email protected]).

Credits – Knight Center for Digital Excellence