DIGITAL OPPORTUNITY INVESTMENT TRUST

WHEREAS, our emerging knowledge-based economy makes access to technology and ongoing education a national imperative; and

WHEREAS, historically, federal investment in education, from the 19th century Land-Grant Colleges Act to the 20th Century GI Bill, and federal investment in research and development such as National Institute for Health and the National Science Foundation, have led to great societal and economic advances; and

WHEREAS, further, the United States has made an enormous ($25 billion/year) investment in connecting classrooms to the Internet and bridging the "digital divide", thus increasing the percentage of classrooms in public K-12 schools connected to the Internet from 3 percent in 1994 to 77 percent in 2000; and

WHEREAS, the United States needs to invest in content and applications to leverage this increased access to hardware and networking infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, there have been a number of recent proposals to maximize the public benefits of new communications technologies such as the Internet, software, and broadband networks, for example, Lawrence Grossman and Newton Minow have proposed creating a Digital Opportunity Investment Trust, which would support innovative uses of digital technologies for education, lifelong learning, and the transformation of our civic and cultural institutions; and

WHEREAS, under their proposal, $18 billion in revenue from upcoming spectrum auctions would be allocated to capitalize the trust fund; and

WHEREAS, the Trust would stimulate innovative ideas and models designed to enhance learning, broaden knowledge, encourage an informed citizenry, bring the contents of the nation's libraries, museums, universities and schools into the digital age, and help these institutions teach the skills and disciplines needed in an information-based economy,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors endorses the concept of a Digital Opportunity Investment Trust, to be established by the aforementioned spectrum auctions, and urges Congress to move forward on legislation to implement this Trust; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors urges Congress to enact such safeguards as are necessary to see that a significant allocation of these funds benefit K-12 public school students as well as communities significantly impacted by the "digital divide".