Virtual symposium to focus on broadband access expansion

The PA Broadband Symposium on April 22 will bring Pitt together with state and regional partners to strategize and coordinate efforts for delivering broadband to the more than 800,000 Pennsylvanians lacking access to reliable, high-speed internet. 

The free, virtual event will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and will feature panel discussions and a series of speakers including Pitt representatives Mark A. Nordenberg, chair of the Institute of Politics; Mark D. Henderson, chief information officer; and Lina Dostillo, vice chancellor of engagement and community affairs, among others.

While the ongoing pandemic magnifies the impact of the digital divide on education, employment opportunities and health care, it also has increased momentum and funding opportunities for broadband expansion through recent passage of the U.S. Investment and Jobs Act along with legislation establishing the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority. The symposium will highlight the successes and ongoing challenges to expanding broadband internet access throughout Pennsylvania.

The symposium schedule:

  • 9-9:44 a.m. — Welcome and opening remarks by Henderson, and Aadil Ginwala, chief of staff at National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Department of Commerce

  • 9:45-10:29 a.m. — Policy Solutions for the Digital Divide panel discussion featuring Nordenberg and Kyle Kopko, executive director at Center for Rural Pennsylvania

  • 10:30 a.m.-11:14 a.m. — Building an Inclusive Digital Ecosystem panel discussion featuring Juliet Fink-Yates, the city of Philadelphia’s digital inclusion manager at Office of Innovation & Technology; and Iftekhar Kazi, vice president of IT and principal architect at UPMC

  • 11:15-11:59 a.m. — Access and Technologies panel discussion featuring Karen Lightman, executive director at Metro21; and Nathan Flood, president and CEO at KINBER

  • Noon-12:45 p.m. — Closing keynot and remarks featuring Rachelle B. Chong, former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission; and Dostillo

  • 12:45-2 p.m. — Networking fair featuring Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, Metro 21 Smart Cities Institute, Michael Baker International, Greater Pittsburgh Digital Inclusion Alliance, Age-Friendly of Greater Pittsburgh, the city of Pittsburgh and others

Register here.

— Shannon Wells


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