Keeping Tabs on the Digital Divide

The LinkAge

National ConnectHome Summit Wrap-Up

ConnectHome-141

ConnectHome-40On August 18 and 19, more than 100 local and national stakeholders joined together for the National ConnectHome Summit. This summit officially kicked off the beginning of the local planning aspect of the ConnectHome project.

At the National ConnectHome Summit Pre-Convening, corporate and philanthropic stakeholders gathered to discuss expectations and best practices from the national perspective for increasing digital inclusion in the U.S. as it relates to the ConnectHome Demonstration project.

Hosted by GitHub and EveryoneOn at the Google DC office, attendees heard from Deputy Assistant Secretary Calvin Johnson and senior leadership from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), EveryoneOn and best-in-class national peers like Best Buy, Apploi, ABC Mouse, GoogleFiber, Cox Communications, and GitHub on these topics. This event was a precursor to the National ConnectHome Summit at the White House.

 

The National #ConnectHome Summit

castro“ConnectHome is about making sure everyone has an opportunity to succeed” HUD Secretary Julian Castro

The National ConnectHome Summit featured a variety of dynamic speakers, including remarks from HUD Secretary Julian Castro; R. David Edelman, Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy at the National Economic Council (NEC) and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP); U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith; Principal Deputy Secretary for the Public and Indian Housing Lourdes Castro Ramirez and the Brookings Institution’s Blair Levin.

If we expect Internet with our coffee, shouldn’t we expect it for our kids? R. David Edelman

The Austin Experience: This panel focused on the work being done by the the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and how it is already connecting public housing residents in Austin. Many of the communities involved in the ConnectHome demonstration project have asked about this project and wanted to learn about best practices.

A National Commitments Panel gave some of our national stakeholders time to explain the importance of their commitments and how communities can take advantage. Panelists included Best Buy, ABCmouse.com, Public Broadcasting Service, The American Library Association, and the Metropolitan New York Library Council.

At the end of day one, communities were given time to speak with the Internet Service Providers that have provided commitments to ConnectHome.

USCTOmegansmith“This idea of not having access to the Internet…that’s just a crazy thing.” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith

A Local Digital Inclusion Panel featured several housing authorities (Fresno and Los Angeles), city technology and policy officers (San Antonio and Newark) and a non-profit (Tech Goes Home). This panel discussed best practices and questions about how to run and advocate for digital inclusion programs in communities.

Finally, the summit concluded with a panel–called Connecting America–of federal-level broadband experts,  including representatives from the White House National Economic Council, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the National Telecommunication & Information Administration (NTIA), and HUD. This panel focused on what has happened with broadband in the past few years and some of the potential for reporting metrics.

 

ConnectHome-47“Access to the Internet is access to opportunity.” Zach Leverenz, CEO, EveryoneOn

This summit has set the stage for the local summits, which will be under way in the coming weeks. We are excited to see what each community does to help further this mission of connecting all Americans.

Be sure to check out #ConnectHome on social media for more photos and quotes.


Sarah Graham is the communications and marketing manager at EveryoneOn. Contact her at sarah@everyoneon.org.