On October 24, 2019, Next Century Cities’ Executive Director, Francella Ochillo, provided keynote remarks at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science, Technology, and Human Rights Conference in Washington, DC. The three-day conference brings academics, scientists, engineers, government officials, and advocates together to collaborate on approaches to the most urgent challenges ahead of us.
Starting with examples of governments that have prioritized expanding high-speed connectivity, Francella discussed the importance of ubiquitous broadband access. She also identified public and private partnerships that are bringing broadband within reach for largely disconnected populations. Turning to initiatives in the United States, Francella showcased Next Century Cities member municipalities that have developed their own connectivity solutions.
Francella stated, “As the United States and others transition from a goods and services based economy to a knowledge based economy, those who do not have access to high speed connectivity inevitably be locked out of opportunities. This is a problem that we can solve.” She urged the audience start thinking of multi-disciplinary ways to expand broadband access and tackle digital inequity.