In August, stakeholders involved in the ConnectAll initiative met to discuss current and future work to end the digital divide in United States. Called the ConnectAll Summit for Digital Inclusion, approximately 75 people attended, representing nonprofits, businesses, government, and other stakeholders. “Today is oriented around the ambitious initiative called ConnectALL. All in this room can get involved and take part in the digital revolution and not leaving any low-income Americans behind,” said R. David Edelman, Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy, National Economic Council.
During this day long event, attendees participated in panels and group discussions focused on digital inclusion and work to connect all people in America. Highlights include:
- Lauren Wilson of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) called on summit participants to contribute towards an upcoming report on non-price barriers to digital inclusion and to inform an understanding of digital inclusion across sectors. Jodie Foster, also of the FCC, walked participants through the exciting changes coming in December with the Lifeline Modernization Order, which extends the monthly federal subsidy for voice service to include broadband.
- Fred Logan, ConnectHome Choctaw Nation Manager, told of the Choctaw Nation’s ConnectHome journey from three percent at-home connectivity to a successful 66 percent after year one.
- Casey Sorenson of PCs for People encouraged summit participants to take part in their four-part model of device refurbishment. if just ten percent of purchased computers were refurbished and given to schoolchildren, we could close the digital divide, he shared.
- Did you know that in the United States, libraries outnumber McDonald’s, a common source for free Wi-Fi, three and a half to one? Andrea Sáenz of the Chicago Public Library shocked the room with this statistic and emphasized the library’s role in the digital age: libraries are primarily concerned with supporting access to information and knowledge, she said, and as the form shifts to digital, the libraries must follow suit as a critical partner in digital inclusion.
The event concluded with remarks from Jeffrey Zients, the director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.
“It’s a big deal for all of you to be here,” he said. “When you benchmark the US recovery, we’re doing better than our global competitors. This economic progress is because of our innovation.”