Due to the COVID pandemic, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s (“NDIA”) annual conference had a different look and feel this year. It is traditionally a production fueled by volunteers where digital inclusion practitioners and other stakeholders gather in cheerful conference rooms to discuss ways to close the digital divide. This year’s conference was split into a weekly online series that put a spotlight on a variety of issues that pose ongoing challenges to broadband adoption. NDIA’s recordings include:

On May 26th, Francella Ochillo, Next Century Cities’ Executive Director, joined the panel discussion, Current and Potential Federal Policy and Funding for Digital Inclusion. She encouraged community leaders to get involved in federal and state proceedings where broadband programs are conceived. Panelists, including those from Common Cause, the National Consumer Law Center, and Public Knowledge, highlighted ways in which communities could benefit from federal funding pools like the Emergency Broadband Benefit, Emergency Connectivity Fund, and American Rescue Plan Act Resources. Additionally, Francella emphasized the importance of developing relationships with state broadband offices to ensure that federal funds that are directed towards states and municipalities reach communities in the greatest need.