With new investments in broadband infrastructure, can we finally close the digital divide? | The TechTank Podcast

Hazeline Panditaratne completes her math assessments  from her computer in Broward County, Florida, U.S. May 29, 2020. Picture taken May 29, 2020.  REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona

President Biden has put forth a Build Back Better agenda that now includes physical infrastructure and job creation to stir economic recovery in the United States. Broadband infrastructure is included in his trillion-dollar plan, alongside water, roads, and bridges, as well as the modernization of schools and other institutional assets. Making high-speed broadband and the applications it enables available to all citizens are at the core of his agenda, which resonates with the recent proposal of a “Tech New Deal” by podcast co-host, Dr. Nicol Turner Lee. Prior to President Biden’s announcement, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn released the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act with Senator Amy Klobuchar and other Democratic co-sponsors. The bill introduced comprehensive broadband infrastructure legislation to get high-speed broadband access to all Americans, with a specific focus on closing the digital divide. The proposed legislation will invest over $94 billion in infrastructure, and ensure internet access for citizens to learn, earn, and access telehealth from a viable broadband connection.

In this episode of TechTank, Dr. Nicol Turner Lee speaks with Rep. Clyburn about his new legislation and with former Federal Communications Commission Acting Chair and Commissioner Mignon Clyburn. The discussion will touch upon Dr. Turner Lee’s proposed “Tech New Deal” as a path for reaching the legislative goals of the House Majority Whip’s proposed legislation.

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TechTank is a biweekly podcast from The Brookings Institution exploring the most consequential technology issues of our time. From artificial intelligence and racial bias in algorithms, to Big Tech, the future of work, and the digital divide, TechTank takes abstract ideas and makes them accessible. Moderators Dr. Nicol Turner Lee and Darrell West speak with leading technology experts and policymakers to share new data, ideas, and policy solutions to address the challenges of our new digital world.