One of the foci of the ICT Cluster of the Science, Technology and Society Initiative at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is on access to the internet and telecommunication policy.
Broadband access is an especially important issue for members of the Western Massachusetts community. All except one of the communities without broadband access in Massachusetts are located in Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin or Hampden counties. Reliable internet access is key to economic development in these areas and critical for sustained growth and job creation. STS is pleased to sponsor and organize dialogues around issues of internet access and telecommunication policy.
Please visit our Resources page for more information about Broadband in the state, including recent articles about Governor Patrick's Broadband Initiative, frequently asked questions, and contact information for the State's Department of Telecommunications and Cable.
The Town Hall Forum and lecture documented on this page took place in April 2008. STS is pleased to announce that since these events took place, the MA broadband access law has been signed and the MA Broadband Initiative has been launched. For an article about these events, please click here.
Town Hall Forum: Broadband in Western Massachusetts
A public Town Hall Forum with MA Department of Telecommunications and Cable Commissioner, Sharon Gillett was held Wednesday, April 30, 2008 from 10 am to 12 noon in the Lincoln Campus Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
About the town hall: The Town Hall Forum was designed to provide an opportunity for researchers, citizens, advocates, and students to discuss Governor Patrick's current broadband initiative and related policy issues concerning telecommunications and cable.
About Commissioner Gillett: Sharon E. Gillett was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick in the spring of 2007 to head the Department of Telecommunications and Cable. Prior to serving in state government, Commissioner Gillett was a Principal Research Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she chaired the Broadband Working Group of MIT’s Communications Futures Program and taught courses on telecommunications and Internet policy. She also conducted research on municipal broadband and its economic impact and served on Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s Wireless Broadband Task Force. Commissioner Gillett received her MBA and MS in Technology and Policy from MIT and her AB in Physics from Harvard University. Commissioner Gillett is responsible for overseeing state regulatory functions pertaining to telecommunications and cable services, including promoting competition and consumer protection and responding to carrier and consumer inquiries and complaints. She also advises the state on broadband policy.
The town hall meeting is sponsored by the Science, Technology and Society Initiative at the Center for Public Policy and Administration and the National Center for Digital Government.
For an unedited audio recording of the Town Hall Forum, please click the audio box:
Audio [1:51:26, 44.6 meg] .
A special thanks to Ed Russell from Active Ingredients Media for recording the Town Hall.
Amherst Community Television (ACTV) also video recorded the Town Hall Forum. Video clips of the forum have been made available to local cable access groups. A full video is available through videolectures.net
After the Town Hall Forum, Commissioner Gillett gave at a public lecture on the role of government in creating access to the internet:
Public Lecture: "Government's Role in Broadband"
Thompson Hall, room 620
ABSTRACT: In this talk Commissioner Gillett will focus on the different roles government plays in achieving universal broadband. She will relate her public sector experience to her academic understanding of this issue by reflecting on her 2006 paper on municipal wireless broadband through the lenses of her experience as a member of Boston’s wireless task force, and her first year of service as the Commonwealth’s Telecommunications and Cable Commissioner.
click here for a PDF of Commissioner Gillett's slides