The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (better known as The Recovery Act) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. A significant part of the Act dealt with the creation of the National Broadband Plan. The FCC was tapped (with a February 2010 deadline) with creating a national plan that would “seek to ensure all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and… establish benchmarks for meeting that goal”. To help with meeting those benchmarks, the FCC turned to IdeaScale as a means of collecting the public’s thoughts on the issues surrounding the creation of a national broadband network.
Traditionally, it has been the standard for the FCC and other government agencies to collect ideas via a comment form on their sites. Using this old-fashioned model, ideas would be reviewed and some would be released back onto the site (or not). In the age of social interaction and community-building online, it was understood that this “one-way street” model was no longer acceptable. By leveraging the power of IdeaScale at broadband.ideascale.com, the FCC was able to create a powerful community dialogue around the hugely important issue of national broadband.