Community Partnership Chat: Rhode Island Pride

Join Verizon’s Adriana Dawson as she celebrates Pride Month with local RI Business Owner and representative of Rhode Island Pride Anthony Santurri. The two discussed the role RI Pride plays in bringing together the greater LGBTQIA+ community to commemorate the community’s diverse heritage, foster inclusion, educate and create awareness of issues, and celebrate achievements in equality. Watch the video to learn more!

LEADForward Community Partnership Chat: The Arc of Prince George’s County

Join Verizon’s Candice Austin as she chats with Rob Malone, Executive Director at The Arc of Prince George’s County. They discussed how The Arc of Prince George’s County has been a leader in providing comprehensive support for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. They further discussed how the organization was able to leverage technology and pivot to virtual programming during COVID. Watch to learn more about this incredible organization!

LEADForward Community Partnership Chat: Latin American Youth Center (LAYC)

In this installment of the LEADForward Community Partnership Chat series, Verizon’s Mario Acosta-Velez speaks with Lupi Quinteros-Grady, President of the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC), in Washington DC. The two discussed how LAYC has transformed the lives of over 70,000 youth and families for decades through tailored programs and tireless service. Watch the video to learn more!

Community Partnership Chat: National Civil Rights Museum

In this installment of Community Partnership Chats, Verizon’s Justin Tanner speaks with Dr. Russell Wigginton, President of the National Civil Rights Museum. The two discuss the extraordinary role the museum plays in furthering the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and how they have leveraged technology to pivot to online programs in recent years. Watch to learn more!

Verizon Boosts Investments in Texas and Florida

Since the beginning of the pandemic, nearly 500K Verizon Wireless customers have permanently relocated to Texas and Florida. In that time, busy-hour traffic times and data traffic have spiked in major cities including Dallas, Houston, Miami, and Tampa. With the transition to greater remote and hybrid work, the network demand continues to rise and with it, the need for reliable and accessible coverage. This is why Verizon’s continued investments in Texas and Florida are so important. 

Verizon recently announced a combined investment of nearly $250 million across both states in order to address the exponential population increases and growing demand for network coverage. Investments over the next two years involves building nearly 10K new network solutions, including new macro towers and small cell sites, expanding 5G Ultra Wideband service, and supporting Texans, Floridians, and local first responders in the upcoming hurricane season. Staying connected is a crucial part of today’s world, and I’m proud to see Verizon investing in local communities to ensure that people are able to get the coverage and support they need. 

To learn more about Verizon’s investments in Texas: https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-investment-texas-pandemic-influx-people
To learn more about Verizon’s investments in Florida: https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-boosts-investment-florida

A historic opportunity to close the digital divide

By DONNA EPPS, SVP FOR PUBLIC POLICY AND STRATEGIC ALLIANCES, VERIZON 04/11/2022 09:00 AM EDT

We are at a pivotal moment for the digital future of the U.S. Last fall, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which makes a $65 billion investment in broadband access and adoption. In a matter of months, states will start making decisions about how to use this funding to support broadband projects in their communities. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to connect the millions of homes in this country that still lack access to reliable, high-speed broadband service.

Verizon applauds Congress and the administration for this investment in broadband access and affordability. Companies like Verizon have spent billions of dollars building, upgrading and expanding broadband networks. As a result, U.S. broadband networks are the envy of the world. Verizon also recently announced a program to make our Fios service free to consumers who participate in the FCC’s new Affordable Connectivity Program, with no data caps or equipment charges. But more needs to be done to connect the remaining unconnected homes and businesses and to overcome the various barriers to broadband adoption.

It is critical that the country get implementation of these new programs right. Thanks to the IIJA, policymakers have an opportunity to help facilitate digital equity and assist vulnerable communities nationwide. Under the IIJA, the federal government sets up the parameters of new broadband programs, while the states are responsible for distributing the funds and identifying the entities that will build broadband networks. The decisions states make will be key to ensuring that broadband reaches those without adequate service today. To achieve the goal of finally closing the digital divide, policymakers need to adopt smart policies to streamline the process for obtaining broadband grants, maximize technology options and equip the most effective digital equity programs to support greater broadband adoption via digital skills training. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and states can do this by giving states flexibility to adopt the broadband solutions that best meet their needs, while ensuring that funds are distributed fairly and efficiently through a standardized process to make certain that funded projects will be able to serve citizens for years to come.

First, to ensure that this money reaches all of the unconnected, states need to be able to choose from a variety of broadband network technologies. State and local officials are uniquely positioned to understand the specific broadband challenges in their communities. In some cases, fiber optic broadband like Verizon’s Fios may be the best solution for connecting the unconnected. In other locations, fixed wireless broadband may be a better option. For example, 5G fixed wireless broadband is a practical alternative in areas where fiber optic technology is simply too expensive and will take too long to deploy, or where customers have few or no choices for their provider. States must have the flexibility to consider all potential technologies that meet the IIJA’s robust performance standards, so they can identify the right fit for their communities.

Second, to give states more choices in partners to deploy broadband, they must work with the federal government to standardize the procedures for distributing broadband funding. A patchwork and bureaucratic approach across 50 states and potentially involving thousands of counties, cities or municipalities coordinating to disburse broadband money could make it more difficult and costly for broadband providers to participate — and thus ultimately less efficient to deploy. But giving states the right tools to identify providers with experience in building broadband and serving customers over the long haul will be critical to ensuring that these programs are successful. In the past, each of the hundreds of colleges in this country had their own application. Today, the Common Application for college opens up a world of over 900 colleges (including many state colleges) to high schoolers through a single, standardized application. The purpose of the Common Application was to reduce barriers to applying to college. Similarly, standardization in the broadband funding process will increase participation, enhance the applicant pool and give states more choices in broadband providers.

Congress and the administration have now made available a historic and unprecedented opportunity to finally connect all Americans, to make broadband more affordable for low-income families and to strive toward digital equity for all vulnerable communities. Getting this right won’t be easy, but if all stakeholders — NTIA, the states, civil society and the private sector — work together constructively and collaboratively, we can improve the lives of millions of people by investing this new broadband funding wisely and effectively.

Originally posted on Politico.com.

Big news from Verizon on bridging the digital divide!

By Donna Epps, Verizon, SVP, Public Policy and Strategic Alliances | 03.16.2022

Today, Verizon announced that for the first time, we are offering free Internet through our Fios Forward program to customers who qualify for the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). With Fios Forward and ACP, qualifying customers will have access to premium high-speed Internet (with speeds starting at 200 Mbps for downloads and uploads) without data caps, extra fees or router costs, helping them maintain connectivity for virtual learning, remote work, telehealth visits and more. To qualify, a customer should first be approved for ACP and have a Fios Mix & Match plan. Once their service is active and they are approved for ACP, customers should call 1-800-VERIZON to have the Fios Forward discount applied. For additional information visit: www.verizon.com/fiosforward.

Verizon builds the networks that move the world forward. But we recognize that far too many Americans face challenges connecting to those networks. For some, broadband is not available where they live, while others face cost and non-cost barriers to subscribing to broadband.  Although broadband prices have gone down over the last five years, over 10 million families have taken advantage of the $30 per month subsidy provided by the ACP. While the high demand for the ACP shows the necessity of this important benefit, that even more people are eligible for the program but have yet to sign up makes clear that more work needs to be done to overcome the various non-cost barriers to broadband adoption, such as increasing digital skills training, so that we can get all communities connected.

Our announcement also is part of Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental, and social advancement. The company’s total 2020-2025 responsible business investment is slated to exceed $3 billion.

We are proud to have participated in the Emergency Broadband Benefit and the ACP since the inception of each. But as we say in our credo: “tomorrow we will do better.” Our free Fios Forward offer for low-income families will help close the digital divide and make sure more people benefit from the education, healthcare, economic, and social benefits of broadband.

Words of Pride – Amplifying Our Voices

In celebration of Pride Month 2021, Verizon spotlighted community partners empowering and supporting the LGBTQ youth. Verizon and leading national organizations serving LGBTQ youth and advancing programs spoke about initiatives that empower youth, prevent suicide, promote access to often life-saving technology, and build more inclusive communities. Panel features:

Sam Brinton, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs, The Trevor Project; Kathy Godwin, President of PFLAG National Board of Directors and PFLAG Parent; Stephenie Larsen, Founder & CEO, Encircle; Aruna Rao, Executive Director, Desi Rainbow Parents & Allies and PFLAG Board of Directors; Chris Wood, Executive Director, LGBT Tech; Rudy Reyes, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Western Region, Verizon (Moderator); Craig Silliman, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative, Legal and Public Policy Officer, Verizon (Closing Remarks)

ICYMI: Not Invisible: Taking Action on the Crisis of MMIWG

Verizon’s Thought Leadership panel on Thursday, April 29 kicked off the National Week of Action for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Our panelists discussed how individuals and companies can support Indigenous Advocates in their work to support Indigenous Women, and also how we can help non-native people get involved as allies in the movement.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and the National Partners Work Group on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls are organizing a full National Week of Action (April 29-May 5) to call the nation and the world to action in honor of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Indigenous-led, grassroots efforts are exposing systemic barriers that mandates the response of governments in consultation with tribes to address the MMIWG crisis.

Featuring:

  • Lucy Rain Simpson, Executive Director, NIWRC
  • Jordan Daniels, CEO of Rising Hearts, Indigenous Runner and Activist for MMIWG
  • Moderator – Ku’ulei Jakubczak, Executive Director – Government and Community Affairs: Utah, Nevada & Tribal Nations, Verizon

Artwork by Danielle Fixico

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US Tech Future is a Verizon-led community-focused initiative working to engage the local community in a discussion about technology and how it can improve the lives of local residents for their benefit and the benefit of the community as a whole.

Our mission is to engage with citizens and community stakeholders in USA to provide information on how technology can work to have a dramatic impact on the way we work and live in our communities.