On August 6, 2019, Executive Director Francella Ochillo travelled to Texas for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Digital Inclusion Summit. The conference was designed to show why expanding broadband and fiber networks should be treated as an economic development issue. Leaders in local government, education, finance, and the nonprofit sector gathered to discuss ways to expand broadband access and promote digital equity in their communities. 


Francella’s keynote remarks addressed why digital access is a prerequisite for meaningful participation in a digital society. Specifically, she explained why improving online access does not only improve educational outcomes, health outcomes, and economic mobility for residents, it is a critical tool for disenfranchised communities. Francella urged participants to treat expanding digital access as an immediate priority. Doing so while implementing thoughtful digital inclusion strategies is an essential component in achieving our goals to make broadband access more affordable, help address digital skills gaps, and take advantage of emerging technologies.