For Immediate Release
August 20, 1996
Executive Director, Information Renaissance
An Internet First: Seminar on Universal Service/Network Democracy
Information Renaissance is hosting a five week on-line seminar on the provisions of the Telecommunications Act which deal with Universal Service for schools and libraries August 26. The seminar will address the Act's potential billion dollar a year subsidy for internet access for K-12 education, libraries and rural health care. The Act, passed last February, represents the first major revision of the 62 year old law.
For the first time teachers and librarians can be fully involved through online participation in the discussion regarding what technology is needed in local schools and libraries. Practitioners with hands on experience using network resources will be able to communicate their successes and their needs to federal policy-makers. Summaries of the online discussions will be submitted to the FCC for use in their decision about how students can best be served by the new Telecommunications Act.
The Universal Service/Network Democracy Seminar represents an important first for Network Democracy on the internet. The two-way nature of current high-speed data networks allows them to be used both as a means of disseminating information and of obtaining input from thousands of people at remote sites around the country or around the world. The Universal Service Seminar will bring together grass-roots practitioners of networking technology in our nation's schools and libraries with experts on telecommunications law and networking technology. The resulting synergy should maximize their impact upon our nation's educational infrastructure.
The seminar begins August 26 and runs through September 27. Complete information on the seminar and registration forms are available from the Information Renaissance Web site: http://info-ren.pitt.edu/universal-service
Major funding for the seminar is provided by The Heinz Endowments and the BellSouth Foundation with additional support from NYNEX and Pacific Bell.
Information Renaissance is a Pittsburgh nonprofit corporation which promotes the development of regional networking infrastructure in support of education, community development and economic revitalization.
For Immediate Release
September 24, 1996
Laurie Maak, Project Coordinator
Universal Service Seminar
(510) 649-1336, email@example.com
Robert Carlitz, Executive Director
(412) 624-9257, firstname.lastname@example.org
Network Democracy A Reality
Five hundred people in 50 states and Puerto Rico aren't leaving the future of telecommunications services for schools and libraries up to lobbyists and Washington insiders. They are participating in an Internet-based on-line seminar to debate issues and formulate comments to the Federal Communication Commission regarding the Telecom. Act of 1996.
For five weeks professionals in education, libraries, government and business have researched and discussed on-line the new Universal Service provisions for schools and libraries. Participants bring to the seminar over 2,000 person years of experience with network applications in classrooms and libraries -- more than all people involved in the preparation of corporate comments for the FCC on this issue. The seminar concludes September 27.
Participants in the Network Democracy seminar are reviewing comments filed with the FCC on the topic of Universal Service. Public access to these comments is provided via the Internet in conjunction with the seminar.
The seminar was created by Information Renaissance (IR), a non- profit organization based in Pittsburgh, PA. FCC Chairman Reed Hundt said the seminar is, "a great example of the way technology can increase communication, learning, and participation in public debate."
Not only does the seminar's concept of "Network Democracy" enable broad public participation in governmental proceedings, it is also very inexpensive, said Robert Carlitz IR executive director. Carlitz estimated the present effort cost less than 1% of what industry lobbyists have spent to advance their positions before the FCC.
"The seminar is a great way for people to hold this important dialog which has repercussions for every school and library in the country." Nanci Pass, Woodside Elementary School District, CA
"It is amazing!. . . this may be my only opportunity to provide input into the federal rule making activity." Bill Cosh, Wisconsin School Board Association
Support for the on-line seminar was provided by the American Micrographics Company, BellSouth Foundation, and The Heinz Endowments. Additional support came from Pacific Bell and NYNEX.
The Universal Service-Network Democracy seminar is located on the Internet:
http://info-ren.pitt.edu/universal-serviceVisitors can review discussion archives, participants' contributions, survey results, filers comments to the FCC, and related resources.