Today I'm writing to invite you to participate in an experiment -- an interactive approach to drafting legislation on one of the most significant public policy questions today: What should be America's national broadband strategy?
Starting this Tuesday, July 24 at 7pm EST on OpenLeft.com, I will be engaging in a series of four nightly broadband policy discussions with the online community. During those four nights, I am looking for the best and brightest ideas on what Congress should do to promote and foster broadband.
I will begin each night's discussion with a conversation about some of the core principles I think are important, and then I'll ask for you to contribute your ideas that will help me craft legislation.
There are two reasons I'm asking for your help and participation. The first is because I think we need more public participation and transparency in the way Congress crafts significant legislation. This is an approach to legislation that has never been tried before. If it's successful -- as I believe it will be -- it may become the way lawmakers approach drafting bills on other issues like education, health care, and foreign policy.
The second reason I'm doing this is because broadband policy is one of the most important public policy issues today. Frankly, America does not have a national broadband strategy, and we are falling behind. That means our families don't have access to the best medical technologies, our students don't have access to the best educational opportunities, and our entrepreneurs are limited in the markets they can access.
As we work together to draft a bill to solve these problems, the three principles I want to begin with are:
Broadband access must be universal and affordable;
We need to preserve an online environment for innovation; and
We need to ensure that broadband technology enables more voices to be heard.
As I said at the outset -- this is not the traditional way legislation is written in Washington. Some people think that by giving people other than policy experts and special interest groups a seat at the table, this process will never work. I believe differently, and I have a feeling that this week, we'll prove them wrong.
I look forward to talking with you about America's national broadband strategy, starting this Tuesday night.