San Francisco, CA, and Washington D.C., (September 30, 2009)- In a watershed moment for public libraries across the U.S., Digital Village Associates announced today new support for the national "Fiber to the Library" project with endorsements from The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), Fiber to the Home Council (FTTH), and Google Inc.
Dubbed "Fiber to the Library," the goal of the two-year-old initiative is to bring next-generation Internet connectivity into every U.S. community through the nation's 16,500 public libraries by 2012. The underlying concept is of libraries as Community Technology Hubs, places where people can test and explore new technologies in a trusted environment; find a professional guide to help navigate the often daunting world of online services, especially those created by government agencies; and research, archive, and digitize local historical and cultural information like newspapers, photos, and other unique documents.
While most libraries have some type of broadband Internet service available to patrons today, speeds are often too slow to accommodate the growing needs of library fixed workstations and patrons' own wireless devices. New demands for next generation applications like high definition video conferencing are worsening the situation.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deliver to Congress a National Broadband Plan by February 2010, representing a key opportunity to lay the groundwork for a communications infrastructure truly capable of meeting 21st century demands.
"One example of a type of broadband project we strongly support is
‘Fiber to the Library,' said Richard Whitt, Google's Washington Telecom and Media Counsel. "Like other anchor institutions, public libraries provide a place for all citizens to gather and utilize advanced technologies. Providing high-capacity fiber -- at 100 Mbps speeds -- to each and every public library can help transform those institutions into future technology hubs, local community nodes, and the essential information centers for the 21st Century. Any national broadband plan must take account of the enormous supply-side and demand-side potential of these unique community institutions."
"NATOA is proud to endorse the ‘Fiber to the Library' initiative. Countless local governments have worked with public libraries for more than a decade to offer high-capacity Internet access over fiber optics, much as we do to other key anchor institutions such as schools and first responders," said NATOA President, Mary Beth Henry. "Libraries serve the essential function in any community of offering connectivity to the unconnected, and as the public space where all can experience the value of next generation online applications."
The strategy to connect every library with fiber optic communications creates a future-proof investment while also extending the nation's physical infrastructure.
"New, broadband-intensive services will be generated sooner and made available more broadly via fiber-connected libraries. Providing next-generation broadband access via optical fiber to America's libraries assures our library system will be able to meet the information needs of the 21st century," said Joe Savage, FTTH Council President.
"Libraries serve as the most logical community hub and gathering place to provide access to emerging technology and information," said Digital Village founder, Don Means, originator of the FTTL initiative. "By contributing a tiny percent of ARRA funds to provide fiber speed internet to libraries we create the most cost effective, most equitable, and quickest way to deliver next generation broadband services into every community in the country—this is easily the biggest bang for the stimulus buck."
As part of the ARRA, the Federal broadband stimulus program has allocated funds specifically for libraries and provides the basis for states and local communities to complete the job. The ARRA appropriated $7.2 billion and directed the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access to underserved communities across the U.S., increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits.
NATOA promotes community interests in communications. A national trade association based in Alexandria, VA , NATOA represents local government jurisdictions and consortiums, including elected and appointed officials and staff, who oversee communications and cable television franchising.
About Google Inc.
Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com.
About Fiber-to-the-Home Council
The Fiber-to-the-Home Council is a non-profit organization established to help its members with planning, marketing, implementing and managing FTTH solutions. Council membership includes municipalities, utilities, developers, and traditional and non-traditional service providers, creating a cohesive group to share knowledge and build industry consensus on key issues surrounding fiber-to-the-home. The mission of the Council is to educate, promote and accelerate fiber-to-the-home and the resulting quality of life enhancements. Its objectives are to supply a consistent and accurate view of FTTH, promote FTTH market development, and to be recognized by the industry as the fiber-to-the-home resource.
For "Fiber to the Library"
Flashpoint PR, LLC
For "Fiber to the Library"
Flashpoint PR, LLC