FCC Equity and Diversity Charter, Chicago Renews Free Internet, Render Partners with Wessex

FCC renews equity and diversity commission, Chicago mayor renews free internet program, Render partners with Wessex.

FCC Equity and Diversity Charter, Chicago Renews Free Internet, Render Partners with Wessex
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

June 24, 2021 – FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced Thursday the chartering of the Communications Equity and Diversity Council, which will be dedicated to focusing on reviewing “critical diversity and equity issues across the tech sector.”

The committee, a recommissioning and redirection of the former Advisory Committee for Diversity and Digital Empowerment, will be expanded to focus on the entire tech industry, as opposed to only media. The committee was originally established in early 2017 to advise and suggest policies to the FCC which would advance and support the businesses of underserved communities.

In a press release, Rosenworcel said of the expanded duties that she is “hopeful that we can make meaningful progress on these issues as we look across the broader tech sector.”

The committee has been successful in bringing attention and awareness of how the FCC writ large is able to play a role in advancing underserved communities. In 2018 the group hosted the  Supplier Diversity Workshop in which they learned how they could empower women- and minority-owned small-businesses with specific attention to the deployment of next generation networks.

Jamila Bess Johnson will head the committee for the duration of its two year charter.

Mayor Lightfoot renews free internet program

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Tuesday the renewal of a program that would provide the city’s public high school graduates with up to three months of free high-speed internet.

The program, called Chicago connected, currently serves over 40 thousand families who are underserved and in need of internet services.

Over a year ago, Lightfoot looked to big donors, such as Ken Griffin and Barack and Michelle Obama, to cover the cost of this program and has been working to close the digital divide ever since.

The renewal of the program is set to include students attending City Colleges in the fall, who will receive free internet for up to three years to complete their degrees.

“Chicago Connected is a groundbreaking program that has and will continue to help close the digital divide, which further restricts access to high-quality education, health care, social services, jobs and more,” said the mayor in a statement to the Chicago Sun Times.

Wessex, Render partner to deploy fiber

Wessex, a UK-based telecommunications company, has partnered with Render, an American construction technology business, to accelerate their process of deploying gigabit broadband and fiber networks across the UK.

Render has been working for the majority of the last decade to bring high quality network and fiber to the United States and Australia. The partnership represents a large expansion for Render into the European market for gigabit broadband.

In a Render press release, Sam Pratt, CEO of Render Networks, commented that the company is “eager to bring the same innovation that’s enabling future-proof connectivity in Australia and the United States to the UK at a time when all communities across the country need it most.”

Render Networks is a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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