There are so many different ways that broadband impacts our daily life. We can use it to connect with friends, read the news, pay our bills, watch videos, shop and much more. Broadband is now an integral part of our lives, yet there are many people who still have not adopted broadband in their home, or who are in areas where they are unable to access the service. Starting yesterday, however, our nation has committed to a plan that will get everyone connected to broadband—and to the benefits it provides.
The FCC unveiled its national broadband plan this week and with a new plan will come an ambitious implementation effort. After a year of debating the issues and countless workshops and public filings, the FCC is expected to issues rules to implement all the plans’ goals to achieve widespread broadband access.
Implementation is key so that consumers can receive the benefits. If the plan is not implemented correctly, consumers will lose out. In order to accomplish this most effectively, the FCC must work with providers to ensure that integral components of the plan are not left of the implementation. As the plan is rolled-out and new consumers begin to adopt broadband, network providers will have an important role in keeping consumers safe on the net. It’s important that consumers are aware of the possible dangers, such as spam and “phishing” emails, identity theft, and other forms of cyber crime. Network providers can help inform and protect their own consumers on the net.
For example, consumers often receive unwanted, unsolicited email messages, and for most of us these messages may seem just harmless and annoying. However, these unsolicited messages can cause real harm to our computers—and sometimes to our own online reputation. Consumers also need to be aware of protecting their privacy and security online using tools such as privacy and safety settings. More information on can be found in my Consumer Guide to Online Privacy.
As the FCC launches its national broadband plan, more consumers will begin to go online and experience the benefits of broadband. When new users begin to connect, implementation of the plan becomes more and more important, as does their own privacy online. The Internet is an incredible resource—and all consumers should be able to experience its benefits safely and securely.
Debra Berlyn is President of Consumer Policy Solutions and director of the Consumer Awareness project, an effort dedicated to educating and informing consumers about online privacy issues. She maintains a Web site and blog at http://www.consumerawarenessproject.org.