Task Force to Prevent Digital Discrimination Listening Session in Topeka, KS
On October 5, 2023, the FCC's Task Force to Prevent Digital Discrimination hosted the latest in a series of listening sessions to gain additional information and understanding from affected communities, state, local, and Tribal governments, public interest advocates, and providers about challenges, barriers and experiences in ensuring all people of the United States benefit from equal access to broadband. The purpose of the listening session was to continue the Commission's outreach in support of its ongoing efforts to promote equal access to broadband for everyone.
The listening session took place, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Sunflower Foundation, 5820 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka, KS 66606 (https://sunflowerfoundation.org/about-sunflower-foundation/). The program agenda included presentations from the Task force, local leaders, and stakeholders, and included an opportunity for members of the public to share their broadband access experiences in furtherance of the Commission's goals to create a framework for addressing digital discrimination.
11:30 AM — Welcome
- Alejandro Roark, FCC
- Deputy Mayor Neil Dobler, City of Topeka
- DEI Officer, Ernestor De La Rosa, City of Topeka
11:40 AM — FCC Task Force Presentations
- D'wana Terry: Background On Proceeding
- Sanford Williams: Overview of the Task Force
- Alejandro Roark: FCC Digital Equity
11:50 AM — Presentations
- Jade Piros, Director of Broadband Development, Kansas Commerce Broadband Development Office
- Scott Gowan, Chief Information Officer, Topeka Public Schools
- Michelle Stubblefield, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Greater Topeka Partnership
- Susan Harris, Executive Director, Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging
- Lazone Grays, President, ISBA, Inc.
- Shari Schawo, Program Services/Program Coordinator, Topeka Shawnee County Public Library
- Felicia Welch, Assistant Program Administrator, State of Kansas Department of Children and Families
- Leslie Scott, Program Manager, KC Digital Drive
- David Jordan, President & CEO, United Methodist Health Ministry Fund
- Melinda Stanley, Federal Program Officer, National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA)
12:40 PM — Wrap Up Led by FCC Staff
1:00 PM — Program Concludes
Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. Requests for accommodations should be submitted via e-mail to email@example.com or by calling the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at (202) 418-0530 (voice). Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed. In addition, please include a way for the FCC to contact the requester if more information is needed to fill the request. Last minute requests will be accepted but may not be possible to accommodate.
On December 21, 2022, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking looking to implement provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act pertaining to the prevention and elimination of digital discrimination. The Act establishes various requirements for the prevention and elimination of digital discrimination and tasks the FCC to adopt rules to facilitate equal access to broadband internet access service. This series of listening sessions will help to inform the FCC as it develops these new rules.
Additional information about the listening sessions and the Task Force's work can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/task-force-prevent-digital-discrimination. To contact or request a meeting with the Task Force to Prevent Digital Discrimination, email PreventDigitalDiscrimination@fcc.gov.