The FCC has unanimously approved the final rules to implement the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program. In the wake of the news, Gary Smith, CEO of Ciena, made the following comment.

“The pandemic has created a heightened level of urgency to close the digital divide. Many families across the States still lack basic broadband connectivity, technology, and computing devices. At the rate technology is advancing, there will undoubtedly be long-term economic and social impacts of a population that lacks the necessary digital skills.

The good news is that steps are being taken industry-wide in telecoms to erase the divide, and both the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund and the Emergency Broadband Benefits programs are examples of positive steps in the right direction. Ultimately, the digital divide isn’t going to solve itself, it requires a lot of effort from companies across the industry. I encourage every technology leader to take this opportunity to ask themselves, “What am I doing to promote digital equity and address the digital divide?”