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

Women’s History Month

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, the Verizon team has come together to share what Women’s History Month means to them and the importance of continuing to celebrate and uplift women across our communities. Thank you to our video participants for sharing their stories and advice with us:

Heidi Barsuglia, Vice President, Public Policy & Legal Affairs; Dominique Cano-Stocco, Executive Director, External & Government Affairs; Sophia Garcia, Executive Director, Community Affairs & Government Relations; Azmeena Hasham, Executive Director, Community Engagement; Erica Jacquez, Executive Director, External & Government Affairs; Ku’ulei Jakubczak, Director, Government and Community Affairs; Christine Keener, Director, Government and Community Affairs; Gabrielle Kohlmeier, Associate General Counsel; Rudy Reyes, Vice President & Associate General Counsel, Western Region; and Marcela Zamora, Vice President, Federal Government Relations.

Telehealth Services Help Care Providers and Patients During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, care providers have increasingly relied on telehealth services to provide patients with services while also limiting the spread of the virus. Registered Nurse and IT Professional Cindy Cronin discusses how telehealth has expanded care offerings during the pandemic. Hear more about how telehealth services will benefit from 5G:

Community Partner Chat: New Jersey Institute for Social Justice

One of the most rewarding aspects of our community engagement work is the opportunity to partner with many non-profit organizations and support innovative programs that help advance the diverse communities we serve.  In May 2020, we launched our Verizon Community Partnerships Initiative to celebrate community organizations supported by Verizon and highlight their important work. 

Today, we feature Ryan Haygood, President and CEO, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Below we share an important conversation on the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice’s work in fighting racial inequality and opening up opportunities for people of color across the state of New Jersey.

Community Partner Chat: Legal Aid Justice Center

One of the most rewarding aspects of our community engagement work is the opportunity to partner with many non-profit organizations and support innovative programs that help advance the diverse communities we serve.  In May 2020, we launched our Verizon Community Partnerships Initiative to celebrate community organizations supported by Verizon and highlight their important work. 

Today, we feature Angela Ciolfi, Executive Director, Legal Aid Justice Center.

Below we share an inspiring conversation on the Legal Aid Justice Center’s work in fighting for equal justice.

Community Partner Chat: Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District

One of the most rewarding aspects of our community engagement work is the opportunity to partner with many non-profit organizations and support innovative programs that help advance the diverse communities we serve.  In May 2020, we launched our Verizon Community Partnerships Initiative to celebrate community organizations supported by Verizon and highlight their important work. 

Today, we feature Anthony Smith, Executive Director, Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District.

Below we share an important conversation with Anthony about Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District’s work in improving communities.

Protecting the Sacred: Balancing & Embracing Technology in Indian Country

As 2020 has been a challenge for many communities, national conversations have often forgotten about the impact this year has had on tribal populations across the country.

On November 17th, Verizon State Government Affairs in conjunction with the Native Americans of Verizon (NAV) Employee Resource Group hosted an online discussion with tribal thought leaders on important technological issues their communities are facing today.

The conversation focused on ways to improve digital equity, the impact of COVID-19, and how non-tribal organizations can engage with tribal communities focused on a common purpose.

The event was moderated by Rima Qureshi, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Verizon, and can be viewed below.

Remarks By:

  • Ku’ulei Jakubczak, Director of Local Government, Community Affairs, and Tribal Nations, Verizon

Panelists:

  • Fawn R. Sharp, President, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI); President, Quinault Indian Nation
  • Kimball Sekaquaptewa, Chief Technology Officer, Santa Fe Indian School

Telepharmacy Services Help Patients During COVID-19

SmartScripts is an online retail pharmacy delivering services directly to patients and consumers in an entirely virtual format. Pharmacists are able to connect with patients through the phone and videocalls to ensure they are receiving the information they need. Hear more about Telepharmacy services from SmartScripts Founder & CEO Todd Thompson:

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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.