New Orleans The meetings get larger, but the results do not seem to change. The long delayed meeting between Local 100 United Labor Unions, Arkansas Community Organizations, and representatives of Comcast finally occurred in Little Rock late this week with regional vice-presidents from Michigan and the Arkansas area. It was another “dog-and-pony” show without any significant movement on Comcast’s totally inadequate outreach in enlisting lower income families into the critically important world of the internet. The digital divide for Comcast is clearly just something to talk about, not something to really do something about.
To their credit the Comcast folks at least seemed to be listening more in Little Rock than was the case in Philadelphia or Houston, but the silence remained deafening when the company was asked to explain how it could be possible that they had only enrolled about 500 families in Arkansas. Equally disturbing was the fact that none of the Comcast team could really answer any questions about the computers that they were supposedly making available as part of the program.
Comcast continues to want some kind of special ribbon simply for participating in the race that our members are desperately losing to close the widening distance between them and everyone else with access to computers and digital tools. More paradoxically while wanting some special applause from us for merely showing up on the field, they continue to seem to forget that the program came as part of a FCC mandate for which they already have been awarded a huge prize in the acquisition of NBC/Universal.
This issue is not going away, but it seems it will take a lot more effort from all of us and our allies around the country before Comcast crawls off of its self-constructed pedestal and comes down to where the rest of us are, rolls up its sleeves, and begins to do the real work, rather than just pretending they are on the program.