The Hill invited lawmakers, policy practitioners, and tech stakeholders to participate in a discussion on closing the digital divide. Moderated by Steve Clemons, The Hill’s Editor-At-Large, the panel included: 

    • US Rep. Suzan DelBene, Co-Chair, Women’s High Tech Caucus
    • Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas Independent School District
    • Francella Ochillo, Executive Director, Next Century Cities
    • Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, Federal Communications Commission
    • Jason Oxman, President/CEO, Information Technology Industry Council

Next Century Cities works to show why every resident in every community should have access to high-speed connectivity. Francella Ochillo explained why tackling the digital divide should be a national priority as long as communities continue to struggle with broadband access, broadband adoption, and the lack of digital tools. She also emphasized why policymakers, lawmakers, advocates, and concerned citizens must work together to find solutions.

Steve Clemmons shared key takeaways from the May 20, 2020, discussion: 

“The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare many of the inequities in our society as my panelists Francella Ochillo of Next Century Cities, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa of the Dallas Independent School District, and Jason Oxman of the Information Technology Industry Council made clear and which Nokia’s Brian Hendricks pondered as we race to modernize and add more technology and connectivity into the mix. What was clear in a world ravaged by COVID-19, there is an ever greater urgency to solve these problems of the past that haunt society — and to just fix them. Some are doing that, but it takes money — and lots of money is churning out of Washington. But it takes political will and steady focus. That may be the toughest part.”

Click here to watch the program.