Updated Sep 27, 2023 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on the digital divide in America

The big picture: On Wednesday, September 27, in Washington, D.C. Axios tech policy reporters Ashley Gold and Maria Curi hosted conversations looking at how broadband decision makers are working to reduce the hurdles toward a fully connected country.

  • Guests included NTIA Administrator & Assistant Secretary of Commerce for communications and information Alan Davidson, Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Federal Communications Commission chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

Alan Davidson discussed how federal investments into broadband are going and what challenges still remain.

  • On newly announced funding for tribal broadband grants: "We really have had a huge gap in Indian Country, and from telehealth to jobs to education, these kinds of programs are going to be transformative for those communities. So I'm really excited to be announcing these grants today."

Sen. Ben Ray Luján emphasized that there are still large numbers of people in the U.S. who lack access to adequate broadband connectivity.

  • On the importance of state efforts to improve broadband access: "I'm concerned that the number of people across the country that I would have hoped would be connected at this stage right now, that it's under-connected. So there has to be a better effort state by state."

Jessica Rosenworcel spoke about FCC efforts to reintroduce debates around net neutrality.

  • On broadband infrastructure and net neutrality: "I think the pandemic changed us as a nation … we decided as a nation that broadband is no longer a luxury good. It's a necessity for everyone everywhere, and we committed to make sure it reaches everyone everywhere like never before … so now that we've decided that this infrastructure is so essential for modern life, I think we should decide it remains open."

Sponsored content:

In the View from the Top sponsored segment, AT&T executive vice president of federal regulatory relations Rhonda Johnson emphasized the important role the ACP has played in improving nationwide connectivity.

  • "You heard 20 million plus people probably at this point are taking advantage of it. It's something that is a safety net for individuals and it certainly is not a partisan issue, whether you're in a blue state or red state, a purple state, urban or rural, you find and we have seen that there is a widespread adoption of the program."

Thank you to AT&T for sponsoring this event.

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