The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) is a nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher that provides resources for government officials, executives, journalists, educators, and community leaders. On April 8, 2021, it hosted a webinar to address a pressing global policy issue the digital divide. 

Over 400 local and state officials registered for the discussion. Francella Ochillo, Next Century Cities Executive Director, and Kathryn de Wit, Pew Charitable Trusts’ Broadband Access Initiative Project Director, described the broadband policy landscape at all three levels of government. CFR Vice President for National Program and Outreach, Irina Faskianos, moderated the discussion, inquiring about resources for local and state officials to expand broadband infrastructure and support adoption strategies.

Francella reiterated why broadband is essential infrastructure in resilient communities and also highlighted the importance of accurate broadband data. Emphasizing how the digital divide undermines other community goals, Francella highlighted the instrumental role that broadband plays in workforce development and economic growth. Additionally, she encouraged local officials to take advantage of federal grant funding opportunities and being able to tackle the affordability barrier for low-income households with the Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Watch the recording here.