ATLANTA, GA – The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE) hosted national, regional and local elected officials, thought leaders, media representatives and North Carolina residents at Charlotte’s first Digital Empowerment Summit themed “Broadband: The JET Agenda: Jobs, Education and Technology.” The summit occurred at Johnson C. Smith University where panelists discussed the role of wireline and wireless broadband access and adoption in addressing some of the most critical issues facing underserved U.S. communities today, such as access to a quality and affordable education and economic development in low-income communities.
Several powerful voices were heard during the summit including federal chief technology officer of the United States Aneesh Chopra, actor, author and activist Hill Harper and actor, Malik Yoba. CNN’s Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi and CNN’s Technology Contributor, Mario Armstrong moderated the summit’s panel discussions: “The State of Broadband in Minority Communities,” “The Wireless Broadband Revolution,” and “Broadband: The JET Agenda – Jobs, Education & Technology.”
“We gather together today at a very exciting time in the telecommunications industry,” said Julius H. Hollis, ADE founder and chairman. “Today’s Internet serves as a shining light in our very troubled economy, playing a key role in adding jobs and supporting economic development as well as making the dream of broadband a reality for an increasing number of minority Americans who use advanced wireless technologies. Encouraging private investment that will enable us to deliver high-speed Internet access to all Americans and continue to drive innovation is absolutely critical.”
In line with its mission, ADE hopes to help communities like Charlotte to understand the impact of broadband in their lives and local economy. “We’ve got scores of young people who don’t know what kind of future we’re calling them to lead and they’re not plugged in to the information source to help them get there,” said Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx. “Today is not going to get us to the finish line, but it’s going to start a conversation that gets us closer to the finish line.”
“It starts with connectivity. We cannot begin to understand the power and potential of technology if we are not connected,” said Aneesh Chopra, federal chief technology officer of the United States. The world is moving further and faster ahead. We need to ensure that our broadband revolution puts us in a position for economic competitiveness around the world.”
The Charlotte Digital Empowerment Summit took place amidst ongoing debate in Washington over how to implement the FCC’s National Broadband Plan to deliver universal broadband. ADE's goal is to educate Americans about the benefits of new broadband technologies and be a voice of underserved communities to raise awareness of the importance of new technologies regardless of socioeconomic status.
About The Alliance for Digital Equality: The Alliance for Digital Equality (ADE), headquartered in Atlanta, GA, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer advocacy organization that serves to facilitate and ensure equal access to technology in underserved communities. The ADE 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.