Originally published at corporate.comcast.com. Broderick Johnson is the Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Executive Vice President, Digital Equity for Comcast Corporation. Comcast NBCUniversal ranked No. 7 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.
The core of my passion for digital equity lies in partnership. It’s what comes up most frequently when I’m talking with the organizations that are in our communities doing the work and with government officials at every level.
What is an effective partnership when it comes to closing the digital divide? The answer is very different today than it was a decade ago, when Comcast first launched our Internet Essentials program.
Fast forward 11 years, today at the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of spending time connecting with and listening to hundreds of Comcast’s digital equity allies at the inaugural Project UP Partner Summit.
The two-day summit brought together more than 200 nonprofit leaders from across the nation to network with one another and to participate in digital equity activities, including hearing from expert speakers, participating in workshops and sharing best practices.
To kick off the day, it was my privilege to introduce FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, a demonstrated leader in advancing digital equity. NBC News reporter Zinhle Essamuah then conducted a keynote interview with Commissioner Starks.
Among the many compelling observations the Commissioner made today was this: “These are fundamental issues of fairness and fundamental issues of equity. But it is a complex problem.”
He then went on to outline what he sees as the three main issues that we face: access, affordability and adoption.
Government at all levels: local, state and federal, will be an invaluable partner going forward as tens of billions of dollars in infrastructure funds are distributed and committed to projects over the next decade. It’s on all of us to ensure those funds are used most efficiently to connect every home to the Internet and critically, give folks the tools to be successful and safe online.
Commissioner Starks also touched on efforts to eliminate disparities in broadband adoption rates for communities of color, considering of all Americans without a broadband subscription, 35% are Hispanic and 29% are Black.
It was noteworthy to watch this conversation while sitting among an audience of on-the-ground leaders who see the impact of these efforts in their communities. And the Commissioner credited them with much of the success we’ve seen, but also challenged us all to continue to innovate.
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