What They Are Saying: Federal Officials and Policymakers Highlight Historic Opportunity to Bridge the Digital Divide at Alaska Broadband Summit

This week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) in coordination with the State of Alaska, the Alaska Municipal League and the Alaska Federation of Natives hosted the Alaska Broadband Summit and Workshop.

During the event, federal officials, policymakers and other key stakeholders held important discussions on the implementation of the Internet for All Initiative in Alaska and how federal agencies can maximize resources with an all-of-the-above approach to connect as many unserved and underserved people as possible.

Read what policymakers and federal officials had to say during the event:

U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK): “We have one overriding goal for this summit, that I believe all Alaskans strongly support, and that’s to take advantage of this incredible, historic opportunity that we have right now to close the huge deficit that we have in our state in terms of broadband and internet connectivity and to coordinate the efforts across all Alaskan and federal shareholders to truly connect every community, every town, every village, in Alaska. Think about what that could do for opportunities in our state, the state with the least connectivity of any state in the country by far, think about what that can do in terms of education, or telehealth, or small businesses, the opportunities, and mind you, are endless.”

Mike Dunleavy, Governor of Alaska: “The purpose of the technical working group [in Alaska] is to ensure our work is technologically neutral. That means we utilize all tools to deploy high quality broadband service and quite frankly, that just makes sense for Alaska. It’s not going to be one technology fits all, we’ve got to deployed as much technology as possible, that suits the area where we’re going to be putting the broadband in. It could be fiber, it could be satellite, microwave or a combination of them all. All technologies are on the table.”

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK): “But we know that connectivity is not possible unless we are participants in really this broader world of broadband infrastructure and so being able to focus on that was really a key part of what I was trying to build out with this small group of lawmakers as we were trying to reach consensus. And I think it’s important to note that within that law, the focus, the real emphasis was on rural America. It was on not only underserved, but unserved and if there is a case in point for what the word unserved means, Alaska raise your hand, because we are it and so how we were able to target has been so important.”

Alan Davidson, Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA): “This is a once in a generation opportunity and people say that but it’s quite true. These kinds of resources they don’t come along very often we’re going to spend tens of billions of dollars in this country and we’re going to spend billions here in Alaska, most likely, and you know, that doesn’t happen all that often, so we need to get it right. Generations before us did this transformation, they brought electricity or water to rural communities, figured out how to build the highway system, this is our generation’s moment. This is our infrastructure project. This is our chance to make sure everybody is connected to the resources they need, to the internet, high speed, affordable, reliable internet service, so that they can thrive in the modern digital economy. So it’s going to take a lot of work, we need all of you to help, all hands on deck for this one, thank you for being here. I really do believe we’ll look back and say this is the moment we connected people with the things they needed to thrive in the modern economy.”

Learn more about how federal agencies can maximize the effectiveness of bipartisan infrastructure resources to eliminate the digital divide HERE.

Read more on Connect Americans Now (CAN) and our mission HERE.


Join our fight to bring broadband to all rural Americans. Tell Washington to take action to bridge the digital divide now!