Technology is the asphalt of the future. Think about that. What a powerful and insightful statement.
While I wish I could take credit for coming up with it - that goes to Senator Catherine Cortez Masto who said it at a hearing several months ago.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on all aspects of our lives with the magnitude of the health and economic consequences well documented. The infrastructure sector has not been immune either with transit ridership cratering, air travel continuing to struggle, and more than $8.5 billion of roadwork planned in 14 states and 19 localities cancelled or delayed. The impacts of these services on everyday life is real. But imagine not having access to high speed broadband.
The digital divide has become more pronounced as we all have come to rely on broadband more than ever during the pandemic. Whether it be for distance learning, business meetings, telehealth appointments or keeping in contact with family and friends - access to broadband is as essential as electricity and clean water. Yet, according to the Federal Communications Commission, 21 million Americans lack basic broadband access. However, many experts suspect that the number could be as high as 162 million. Those in urban areas enjoy a 97% access to broadband but many in rural communities remain underserved or lack a connection.
Next week (September 14-21) marks the 8th annual United for Infrastructure: A Week to Champion America's Infrastructure. While the name has been rebranded, the mission has not changed.
The Week will feature events around the nation all seeking to highlight the importance of infrastructure to economic growth and improving Americans' quality of life. All the events this year will be virtual, so I encourage you to sign up and join the conversation! The calendar of events can be found here and you can register for events here.
As we all come together next week to highlight the importance of infrastructure let's heap special attention on increasing access to broadband. After all, technology is the asphalt of the future.