On January 29, 2020, the House of Representatives’ Communications and Technology Subcommittee held a hearing on “Empowering and Connecting Communities Through Digital Equity and Internet Adoption.” The hearing sought to identify barriers to digital equity and solutions for ensuring that all Americans can reap the economic, social, and educational opportunities that the internet makes possible. 

Next Century Cities members Seattle, Wash. and Chattanooga, Tenn. each submitted letters into the record for the hearing, emphasizing the importance of digital inclusion at the local level and highlighting city leadership in closing the divide.

Seattle’s Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote that even in “high tech cities,” there are significant gaps and barriers to digital equity, and described the city’s long history investing in solutions, including its innovative Technology Matching Fund. Read Mayor Durkan’s full letter here.

Chattanooga’s Mayor Andy Berke wrote about the importance of deliberate local initiatives, and that the city’s “success has depended not just on an ‘if you build it’ broadband strategy, but through investment in digital equity and inclusion.” Read Mayor Berke’s full letter here.