October 22, 2016
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Alliance For Digital Equality Hosts Digital Empowerment Summit



Summit highlights the millions of Americans who do not yet have Broadband Internet access just hours after ADE files comments opposing rules or regulations that would adversely affect the unserved and underserved among us

ATLANTA,  -- The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) brought together a diverse group of policymakers, thought leaders, and media from across the country last week at their Digital Empowerment Summit in Los Angeles, CA:  "The State of the Underserved American in the Midst of the Broadband Revolution."  Television host Tavis Smiley, actor Hill Harper and CNN Contributor, Mario Armstrong moderated the event which featured a robust mix of community leaders and elected officials.  Representing America's Mayors from coast to coast were prominent speakers including the 41st Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, who delivered a keynote address, former Mayor of Miami Manuel "Manny" Diaz, and the 58th Mayor of the City of AtlantaShirley Franklin.

ADE's summit was held just weeks before the Federal Communications Commission is expected to present lawmakers with our nation's first ever National Broadband Plan, and hours after ADE filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing rules or regulations that would negatively affect the unserved and underserved among us.  The event highlighted a national panel of experts who discussed the role of wireline and wireless broadband access and adoption in addressing some of the most critical issues facing underserved communities in our country today, such as access to a quality and affordable education, disparities in healthcare and economic development in low-income communities.  

"At the moment, as the powerful in Washington DC are in the midst of debating well-meaning, but questionable policies that could potentially make broadband unaffordable to a vast majority of America's minorities," said Julius H. Hollis, ADE Chairman.  "Instead of prohibitions that might raise the cost of broadband and delay broadband adoption by lower income Americans, communities of color, and others on the wrong side of the digital divide, we should encourage policies that drive Internet empowerment.  As President Obama has made clear, we must make broadband more accessible and more affordable so that every American can fully participant in Internet society."

"The goal of bringing Broadband Internet access to each and every American is a priority of our President, and a noble one at that," said Manuel A. Diaz, Vice Chairman of the ADE Board of Directors.  "As we work to achieve this goal, however, it is exceedingly important to note that policies that raise costs for average Americans will disproportionately impact minorities and low-income communities.  We need to make sure that broadband policies do not place a heavier burden on individual consumers or restrict implementation of innovative approaches."

"There is a broadband gap that still exists today," said Dr. Victoria M. DeFrancesco Soto, a member of the ADE Board of Directors.  "Under-utilization of broadband is an economic and social challenge among minority families in general. This is a disparity America literally cannot afford and it must be a priority.  As we work to achieve broadband for all, we must ensure that the last to join the broadband revolution are not the first to drop off."

"Closing the digital divide can transform this imperfect society of ours into an oasis of true and lasting economic equality for all Americans, said Hollis.  "ADE is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that all Americans "regardless of their race, ethnicity or income" are empowered to join the digital revolution."

Highlights of the Summit can be viewed by tuning in at www.alliancefordigitalequality.org.

About The Alliance for Digital Equality

The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) is a non-profit consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved and un-served communities.  The Alliance also serves as a bridge between policymakers and minority individuals in order to help the public understand how legislative and regulatory policies regarding new technologies can impact and empower their daily lives.  For more information on The Alliance for Digital Equality, please visit www.alliancefordigitalequality.org.


SOURCE Alliance for Digital Equality


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