Digital equity—or, digital opportunity, if you prefer—is having a moment. The US is making an unprecedented investment to ensure that individuals and communities have the capacity to fully participate in our society and economy. This is a huge undertaking with momentous implications on the future of the Nation. Each state has been asked to envision how life there can be transformed by achieving digital equity.
On Monday, September 26, Benton Institute for Broadband & Society Director of Research and Fellowships Dr. Revati Prasad hosted an online panel discussion, From the Ground Up: Broadband Mapping By and for Communities, on how communities and states are collecting data on local broadband availability as the Federal Communications Commission rolls out the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program.
The Roman philosopher Seneca said that good luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. In what the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has called “our broadband moments,” preparation requires bold community leadership that moves a community to gather data and build trusted relationships allowing them to be ready to act when opportunity arises. President Biden has pledged to make sure that every American has access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet. Full participation in our twenty-first century economy requires no less.
Millions of records that the Federal Communications Commission’s top lawyer once fought to hold back from state law enforcement officials now serve as key evidence in a year-long probe into cases of Americans being impersonated during the agency’s latest net neutrality proceeding.
Whether they are Wi-Fi kiosks, urban sensors, fiber networks, or built-from-scratch “smart” neighborhoods, new urban technology deployments are under the microscope. Despite the potential of these projects to drive innovation and economic growth, they are often met with mixed reception and a myriad of justifiable questions. Take the Quayside project in Toronto led by Sidewalk Labs.
Under the leadership of the White House, the Department of Education partnered with Civic Nation to launch the Online For All Campaign, bringing together a diverse coalition of supporting organizations to engage in local community action and large-scale mobilization efforts to ensure every household can get online.
I’ve been asked to speak tonight about my career as a public interest communications lawyer and advocate, a grantmaker, and a public servant. When someone asks you to reflect on your career and perhaps offer some wisdom, it can only mean one thing – you’re old! Seriously, though, I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have had exciting and diverse experiences in civil society, philanthropy, government, and yes, even in the private sector. But like cooking a great meal, building a successful career requires a mix of a lot of different ingredients.
Puerto Rico has released its Digital Equity Plan and Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program Initial Proposal Volume 1 for the input and comments of its citizens. The comment period is currently open until Sunday, October 15. Citizens can visit the website at the following link.
The Oklahoma Broadband Office (OBO) is inviting public comments on the state's Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program Initial Proposal Volume 1.
The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin (PSC) released the draft Wisconsin Digital Equity Plan for public comment. Once approved by the PSC, the Digital Equity Plan will guide the state’s strategy to improve digital equity, ensuring all in Wisconsin have the skills, devices, and broadband service necessary to fully participate in society and the economy. After the public comment period, the PSC will review the public comments and finalize the plan during an open meeting for submission to the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA).