High speed Internet will revolutionize civic engagement

President Obama continued to make history earlier this week when he launched Open for Questions - an online town hall that drew almost 100,000 participants and more than 3.5 million votes.

This was the first event of its kind for a sitting President and is just one of many applications of broadband Internet connections that improves the civic engagement of the American public.

According to a report by Speed Matters partner the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Obama is promising to put live webcasts of Congressional hearings and agency meetings on the Internet.

ITIF believes that without next-generation broadband, many citizens will be left out of opportunities to be empowered to engage in civic affairs.

The report goes on to advocate for public safety infrastructure (police, fire and medical emergency) to utilize next-generation broadband. This would allow them to share text, images and video across jurisdictions.

In Washington, D.C., National Capital Area Network (NCRnet) is a success story for shared information over high speed Internet connections. Local government agencies and organizations share information and interact in both crisis situations and in normal day-to-day operations. This increases efficiency and encourages a spread of valuable institutional knowledge.

The ITIF report, entitled "The Need for Speed: The Importance of Next-Generation Broadband Networks," was released earlier this month.

Wrapping Up Open for Questions (The White House Blog)

ITIF Report: Next-generation broadband networks crucial to boost economy (Speed Matters)

The Need for Speed: The Importance of Next-Generation Broadband Networks (ITIF)