National Digital Inclusion Alliance Names the NTIA’s Emy Tseng the 2017 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion

Angela Siefer
National Digital Inclusion Alliance

National Digital Inclusion Alliance Names the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s
Emy Tseng the 2017 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) announced that this year’s recipient of the Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award is Emy Tseng, a Senior Communications Program Specialist at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Since joining the NTIA in 2009, Tseng has worked to increase broadband access and adoption in underserved communities throughout the United States. From 2009 to 2014, she managed a portfolio of local government and K-12 education grants for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. She was a major contributor to the Broadband Adoption Toolkit published by NTIA in 2013. She continues her work with NTIA’s BroadbandUSA program providing technical assistance to local and state governments that foster digital equity. Throughout her career, Tseng has demonstrated the ability to combine policy, practice, and data to create a holistic approach to digital inclusion.

Before joining NTIA, Tseng served as the Digital Inclusion Director for the City of San Francisco, where she shaped one of the earliest local government digital inclusion programs and served on the first California State Broadband Task Force. Her work in San Francisco not only promoted computer ownership, digital skills, and Internet access, but also paid special attention to the needs of marginalized communities, showing that it is in the best interest of cities to bridge the digital divide. Tseng additionally served as a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, where her work on “inclusive innovation” analyzed how vulnerable communities use, adapt, and shape technology to address their needs and goals.

Tseng’s other experience includes positions as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Community Technology Foundation of California, as a Program Associate for communications policy at the Ford Foundation, and as a software engineer in various technology companies. Ms. Tseng holds a Master's degree in Technology and Policy from MIT and a Bachelor's degree in Math/Physics from Brown University.

Anne Neville-Bonilla, Director of the California Research Bureau and a longtime colleague of Emy, states, “Whether working at the Ford Foundation, the City and County of San Francisco, or NTIA, Emy consistently asks the tough questions about what works and why. She approaches problems methodically, and is guided by passion and a commitment to digital equity. She knows that what works in San Francisco may not look the same in Hartford, but she always thinks about what could be applicable so that we are not reinventing the proverbial wheel. As a colleague and a friend, Emy is always available to brainstorm, talk through a challenging project, or give advice. She is a champion in the truest sense.”

The Digital Equity Champion Award will be presented on May 17, 2017 at Net Inclusion 2017: The National Digital Inclusion Summit, hosted in Saint Paul, Minnesota. NDIA introduced the award, named for the founder of the Benton Foundation, in 2016 to celebrate commitment and leadership in furthering digital inclusion. The inaugural award was given to David Keyes, the Digital Equity Manager for the City of Seattle.

The 249 affiliates that make up NDIA are on the frontlines of national and international efforts to close the digital divide. The expertise and experience of its these local governments, libraries, and nonprofit organizations allow NDIA to identify and share the best options for digital literacy training and public access programs, as well as advances in in-home broadband adoption.

NDIA formed in the spring of 2015 to serve as a unified voice for local technology training, home broadband access, and public broadband access programs. The organizations that comprise NDIA work together to create, locate, and share financial and operational resources for digital inclusion programs while serving as a bridge to policymakers and the general public.

Benton, a 36-year old operating foundation, humanizes communications policy, helping people understand how it directly impacts their ability to live and thrive in our democracy. The foundation realizes its goals by:

  • Providing the only free, reliable, and non-partisan daily digest that curates and distributes news related to communications and media policy through the lens of democracy and public interest issues;
  • Connecting communications policy stakeholders by sharing information and analysis to frame and promote conversation and a more inclusive debate; and
  • Supporting legal and policy experts who create and defend important communications policies.

For more information, visit

Emy Tseng