Internet access has become central to American life. And yet a lack of access became dire during the COVID-19 pandemic when work, school, doctor appointments, court hearings, vaccine sign-ups and more moved online.
Reliable internet access was just one of the many ideas discussed on Thursday at a virtual town hall event hosted by Arizona State University and the Future of Tech Commission, a nationwide policy project launched by the Biden administration earlier this year.
The ASU event had a special focus on digital equity and ensuring that people of all races, genders, ethnicities and income levels have access to the technology that defines life in 2021.
The Future of Tech Commission is a bipartisan group designed to gather information that will eventually inform a long-term, coordinated technology policy that addresses everything from equitable access to the internet, online misinformation, consumer privacy and strong market competition.
The commission’s duty is to present the White House and the Federal Communications Commission with a blueprint of policy recommendations, both short and long term, later this summer. Their tour has already made stops in Massachusetts, Texas, California, Connecticut, Indiana, North Carolina, Florida and Europe since May.
The Arizona event on Thursday was the commission's last before they gather to start hammering out the details of its blueprint this weekend.
The forum had 700 people registered, which included speakers from ASU, the commission itself and members of Congress.