This week, NTIA recognizes International Digital Inclusion Week. Digital inclusion is more than a social program giving people access to computing and information technology; it is now an economic imperative in every community. The availability of robust Internet access is integral to a community’s ability to thrive socially and economically. Better connected towns, cities and states attract technology-based investment, encourage more innovation, streamline supply chains, and broaden opportunities for individuals and businesses. Local leaders at all levels find that broadband planning and investments reap benefits across the economy in education, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, tourism, and daily quality of life.
Early this year, I had an opportunity to represent the United States at the International Digital Inclusion Policy and Research Conference (link is external) in Liverpool, England. The conference afforded NTIA the opportunity to highlight several important trends that are driving broadband access and digital inclusion in the United States. We see policy and economic initiatives at the federal, state and local level around well-structured planning, program integration, library modernization, and performance measurement. Underlying these trends is the drive to streamline regulation and create the incentive for broadband infrastructure investment.