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Hon. Michael Copps: ‘I Believe His Reaction Would Be One of Anger’

[I recently asked these four questions. Below is one reply, from Hon. Michael Copps. Please join the conversation either by tweeting @Digital_Du_Bois or by leaving a comment at the bottom of this or any other post on]

I believe his reaction would be one of anger. Anger that his country is languishing within sight of the very technologies that could usher in a new era for all our citizens. Anger that we are still not much more than an outlier among the nations of the world in getting the most opportunity-creating technology since the invention of the printing press out to all of our citizens — no matter who they are, where they live, or the particular circumstances of their individual lives. 

Broadband is the essential infrastructure of the Twenty-first century, no matter if we are in an industrial or a post-industrial era. Citizens cannot  find work without it, educate their children without it, care for their health without it, start small businesses without it, open the doors of opportunity without it. Nor can nations compete — or regain their footing, as in our case –without ubiquitous broadband deployment and adoption. This is a civil rights issue — perhaps the preemiment one confronting us right now, because the outcome of so many other grteat challenges resides on how we deal with this one. 

Du Bois would have recognized this. We should recognize it, too. We have at our hands a tool that can create opportunity, prosper our nation, and advance democracy. We need proactive policies to make it happen–now. But it won’t happen without a lot more pressure from the grassroots, civil rights organizations, and advocacy organizations than we have seen thus far.  That sounds like a call to action to me.

– Hon. Michael Copps

Hon. Michael Copps
is Common Cause’s Senior Advisor for our Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. From 2001 to 2011 he served as a member of the Federal Communications Commission. Read recent, relevant blog posts by Copps here at the Benton Foundation website.

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