Every year, technology and telecommunications policy experts from across the country gather for a symposium on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus. This year, the 2020 Silicon Flatirons’ flagship conference examined optimism and pessimism in the tech sector.

Next Century Cities’ Executive Director, Francella Ochillo, spoke on a panel with Brittan Heller, Foley Hoag LLP; Dave Maass, Electronic Frontier Foundation; Jamie Tomasello, Duo Security; and Richard Whitt, GLIAnet. The discussion, hosted by Professor Blake Reid, explored the various ways in which technology has become embedded in society. As Francella discussed, high-speed connectivity is an indispensable tool that has changed how we work, learn, connect, and experience one another.

Conference topics included how technological advances across fields such as artificial intelligence, telecommunications, social media, health care, data analysis, and media have brought dramatic transformations for society by increasing transparency, improving health outcomes, spreading knowledge and information, and increasing connectivity. Francella provided insights on how broadband access makes all of those things possible and why broadband should be treated as essential infrastructure. She also reminded the audience of the millions of Americans who are still waiting for reliable, affordable high-speed connectivity in their communities.