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Blog Posts by Jordan Usdan

Low-Cost Broadband and Computers for Students and Families

by Josh Gottheimer and Jordan Usdan, Chairman's Office
November 10, 2011 - 05:10 PM

Yesterday, at a public school in Washington, DC, joined by cable and technology executives and nonprofit leaders, FCC Chairman Genachowski announced an unprecedented effort to help close the digital divide, bringing low-cost broadband and computers to millions of low-income Americans.

Right now nearly one-third of the country – 100 million Americans – doesn’t have high-speed Internet at home.  Compare that to Singapore and Korea, where broadband adoption rates top 90 percent.  Minorities and low-income Americans are the hardest hit by this divide.  Research shows that cost, relevance, and digital literacy are the primary reasons many people aren’t connecting. Whether we're talking about jobs, education, or health care, in this day and age, getting online is a necessity, not a convenience.

The “Connect to Compete” effort will offer millions of families eligible for the National School Lunch Program discounted $9.95/ month broadband Internet, $150 laptop or desktop refurbished computers, and free digital literacy training.  This represents a $4 billion in-kind offering for tens of millions of Americans. And it won’t spend any taxpayer dollars.

Yesterday, President Obama said: “This important partnership between my Administration and American businesses represents a major step towards closing the digital divide -- connecting more families to the 21st century economy, creating new jobs and unleashing new opportunities, and helping America win the future.”

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FCC and Connect To Compete Tackle Broadband Adoption Challenge

by Josh Gottheimer and Jordan Usdan, Chairman's Office
October 13, 2011 - 12:14 PM

Connect to Compete

Yesterday, joined by executives and nonprofit leaders, Chairman Genachowski announced a first-of-its kind national effort to address broadband adoption, digital literacy, and the employment skills gap.  If you have a moment, there are two articles worth reading from USA Today and the New York Times.

Right now, nearly one-third of the country – 100 million Americans – don’t have high-speed Internet at home. That’s compared to Singapore and Korea where the adoption rates top 90 percent. 

Some facts:

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Chairman Announces Competition Winners

by Jordan Usdan, Attorney and Policy Advisor
August 5, 2011 - 11:08 AM
This morning FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the winners of the agency’s latest contest on, a competition for scientists and software developers to engage in innovative research and create useful apps that further the understanding of Internet connectivity and network science. A video of the Chairman’s remarks and the award presentation are available. 
The three winning teams were recognized at a ceremony with remarks by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C.  The winning teams also presented their apps and research to the Commission. 
The three winning teams are University of Michigan & Microsoft Research; School of Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology; and The ICSI (International Computer Science Institute) Netalyzr Project. Descriptions of the winning entries are detailed below.
The Open Internet Challenge sought to encourage the development of innovative and functional applications that provide users with information about the extent to which their fixed or mobile broadband Internet services are consistent with the open Internet.  The research component of the challenge sought academic papers that analyze relevant Internet openness measurements, techniques, and data.  The challenge was designed to encourage and reward the creation innovative and useful research. 
The challenge is posted on, a new website and digital platform where entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizen solvers can compete for prizes by providing novel solutions to problems large and small.  Details of the challenge are posted.
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