Hosted virtually from Portland, Oregon, the Techlandia Summit ’21 is a series of programs designed to foster collaboration on focused topics that deliver better community outcomes through improved infrastructure and quality of life, efficient service delivery, sustainable and equitable growth, and long-term resilience.
Participants and thought leaders explored ways to improve the shared health, wellbeing, security, and prosperity of citizens through the deployment of data-driven and regionally appropriate services. This collaboration took place during a daily keynote and panel. The topic of Day Four was Infrastructure, with a focus on supporting and creating policies, partnerships, programs and infrastructure that will be needed to bridge the digital divide in Oregon.
Building Equitable, Resilient Smart Regions
The coronavirus pandemic put a magnifying glass on many of the inequitable challenges being faced within our cities and regions. Smart regions across the country are working to solve these challenges- whether it is mobility, telehealth, agriculture, infrastructure, citizen engagement, digital inclusion, quality of life, prosperity, and workforce development.
Infrastructure Keynote Jean Rice, Senior Broadband Specialist with the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, discussed the pillars of successful smart regions, use cases on how regions are making a difference in their communities by focusing on responses to current problems and how to make their communities resilient for the long run. In addition, how smart regions projects across the country can work to bridge the digital divide for access and adoption in underserved and unserved populations. NTIA and other funding opportunities to bridge the digital divide will be highlighted.
FACT SHEET: The Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds Will Deliver $350 Billion for State, Local, Territorial, and Tribal Governments to Respond to theCOVID-19 Emergency and Bring Back Jobs
Building Expanded Digital Infrastructure
President Biden’s recently announced infrastructure proposal refers to high-speed broadband as a service that is as essential as clean drinking water and a renewed electric grid. Throughout the pandemic a reliable connection to the Internet was sometimes the only access point for work, education and health care, among other critical services.
What are the current challenges for state and local government entities, community organizations, and private sector entities that are already active in communities doing digital equity work? A large infusion of federal resources focused on addressing the digital divide could be transformative, but what is needed in order to make this sustainable over time? What opportunities and challenges are presented by the latest technologies?
The final session for Techlandia Summit: Infrastructure was an interactive panel discussion outlining current challenges and the kinds of partnerships, programs and infrastructure that will be needed to bridge the digital divide in Oregon going forward.