Adelstein, Cerf advocate broadband access as a fundamental right

A group of Internet industry regulators and luminaries, including Google's Vint Cerf and FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, launched a new initiative today to make broadband Internet access a "basic right" for all Americans.

NEW YORK CITY (BetaNews) - Google Chief Technology Evangelist Vint Cerf, FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, and other technology and academic luminaries were on hand today to help launch, a new initiative spearheaded by the Free Press advocacy group to make broadband more accessible.

Speakers at a press conference this morning talked about how high-speed Internet access is now a necessity for everyone.

Van Jones, president of Green for All, said that during the California mudslides, Mexican migrant workers had died because they lacked the technology for easily accessing the most up-to-date weather forecasts.

Pointing to the need for broadband access among small businesses, Robin Chase indicated that without the Internet, businesses such as Zipcar -- a dot-com car rental firm which she co-founded -- couldn't even exist. Chase is also the CEO of Meadow Networks, a Web-based environmental organization.

Commissioner Adelstein suggested that although the FCC has been considering a range of plans for expanding broadband access, actual decisions have been hard to reach.

The role of Free Press is only to "convene", according to Josh Silver, executive director of the group. Any individual or organization can join the Initiative as long as it supports the "four basic principles" of access, choice, openness, [and] innovation," Silver told BetaNews.

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