We are concerned with the future of the Information Superhighway and the problem of public access. We believe that any conception of Democracy in our time must take into account the technology of the networks and ensure its wide availability. Informed choice is a necessary requirement for Democracy. The new electronic networks provide information but we should make sure that it has relevant information, that is accessible to every citizen, and that is a requirement for the national as well as the state and city level. CCIA is working to enlarge awareness of these issues and contribute to the solution of these problems in the Chicago area.
But we also know that the new technology of Internet and related international networks is going to be used for business more extensively as the time goes by. It is not a secret that Chicago has been in decline for some time. This trend is going to continue unless steps are taken to ensure that knowledge about the networks and access to them is widely available in our city. Of course the Universities and Colleges in the Chicago area do provide access and training to their students. It also true that there are quite a few Internet service providers in the city offering low priced access to the Internet.
But we are concerned with those people that are not at school and they can not afford a computer, a modem and the monthly fee to get wired. We want to make sure that these people do get a fair chance to learn and access the network. A number of steps can be taken. For example the city could make available computer terminals through the public libraries. We believe that is a great idea and we are going to support any initiative to that effect by the local government. However we believe that a lot more can be done.
We feel that there is a need for a community based computer training center to provide instruction on basic computer use as well as teaching in how to use the Internet effectively and efficiently. As part of this effort we are currently studying the experiences of similar groups in other cities and hope to be able to announce something positive in that direction soon.