This past Tuesday marked the fourth annual OneWebDay, a day intended to raise attention to issues regarding public ownership of the Internet. Washington, DC’s OneWebDay events included a panel discussion with experts in public media, as well as a keynote address by Blair Levin, executive director of the Omnibus Broadband Initiative at the FCC. As a participating organization of this event, we were proud to participate in the convening.
Each panelist provided the audience with a “Bold Idea” for the future of the Internet. Suggestions tended to fall into two categories – 1.) The potential for the Internet to improve the way of lives for Americans (for example – with more access to medical information, individuals can take a more interactive approach to maintaining their health) and 2.) Ideas on ways to ensure the future of the Internet is an all-inclusive one. Discussion focused on providing access to individuals who cannot afford home access, live in an area where home access is not possible, do not know how to use the Internet/a computer or may not speak English
As was stated in Public Media 2.0: Dynamic, Engaged Publics, “If public media 2.0 looks less highly stratified and culturally balkanized than the public media of today, it will be because of conscious investment and government policy choices.” It’s clear that organizations, including some of those represented at the panel (Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Byte Back, Inc., and Media Action Grassroots Network – to name a few) are preparing to make sure the Internet of the future is not one fueled by a homogenous voice. Instead, many realize that diversity is key in guaranteeing the future of the Internet as a forum for a robust exchange of ideas.
In addition to the panel discussion, OneWebDay’s DC events included a day of service at Byte Back a non-profit organization dedicated to providing computer training for individuals facing times of economic hardship.