-- ANNOUNCEMENT --
                                April 15, 1996

                         FCC Universal Service Filing
                             Supports Public Access

Last Friday, April 12th, the Center for Civic Networking (CCN) and the
Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GLIS) at the University
of Illinois Champaigne/Urbana filed comments to the FCC Joint Board on
Universal Service.

The comments are of interest to community networks, public access cable and
community computer centers, schools, libraries, community development
corporations, state telecommunication policy analysts and others.

The filing outlines a set of universal service recommendations and
described data analyses that could support them. The Board was urged to
develop Universal Service policy that promotes a leveling effect between
information haves and have-nots while stimulating new sectors in the
economy such as microenterprises and home-based businesses. At the same
time this framework is explored, the Board is asked to carefully examine
results of analyses that illustrate the characteristics of affected
population groups.

The Center's Richard Civille <[log in to unmask]> said: "The
Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service has been tasked with a
solemn responsibility. Its recommendations will influence decisions that
will affect the new economy and individual quality of life in the United
States for decades to come."

Dr. Ann Bishop, Assistant Professor at the Graduate School <
[log in to unmask]> said: "We strongly urge the Board to seek out and examine
data that will illuminate how their recommendations may impact economic
opportunity and quality of life not only on disenfranchised groups, but on
emerging economic sectors."

Bishop is a co-founder of Prarie-Net, a well established community network
project serving over 15,000 in southern Illinois. Civille is a co-founder
of CapAccess, a community network in the National Capital area serving over

The filing outlines a Universal Service framework that provides:

* Market incentives and individual tax credits to increase computer
  ownership among low-income households and microenterprises;
* Electronic mail services for low-income children and job-seekers;
* Development of public access network services that offer useful and
  beneficial information products and services that address community
  needs and civic life;
* Mechanisms to finance network literacy programs through adult
  education programs, public libraries, and schools;
* Improved Federal data collection on the individual use of
  networked information.

These recommendations are based on  "The Internet and the Poor", written by
CCN's Richard Civille and published in "Public Access to the Internet"
edited by Brian Kahin, MIT Press, 1995.

The Center for Civic Networking and the Graduate School of Library and
Information Science at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana have
undertaken a joint project to submit a set of white papers to the Board,
based upon Census Current Population Survey (CPS) data that describe
emerging groups of information haves and have nots, policy implications of
the data and options for decisionmakers to consider.

The joint project will analyze Census data on demographic groups such as:

* Home-based businesses and microenterprises;
* Discouraged workers;
* Disabled individuals;
* Family farms;
* Group households; and
* Single mothers on public assistance.

These groups will be examined from national samples over a several year
period, and then broken down into geographic regions, income quintiles,
ethnic background and individual interests such as civic participation.

Civille said: "We hope that in the coming months, the Board will consider
the demographic characteristics described in these white papers and by
similar studies we hope will be submitted by other organizations."

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To receive a copy of the filing or a copy of The Internet and the Poor,
please respond privately to this email message.

The materials will be available on the CCN web-site in several days, at

The filing is available either in MS-Word binhex format or text.

"The Internet and the Poor" is available in MS-Word binhex format *only*.

Richard Civille                         Center for Civic Networking
Executive Director                   P.O. 53152
(202) 362-3831                     Washington, DC 20009
[log in to unmask]