“This is really bigger than any of us; where we have the opportunity to provide a legacy for generations to come by being able to connect every American with fiber,” says Gary Bolton, president & CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. Speaking from the FBA’s booth at the soldout Fiber Connect 2021, Bolton was speaking of the unprecedented private and public investment in fiber infrastructure.
In the above interview, he points to the FBA’s efforts to reach across the political aisle. On April 1st, Bolton was in the White House making the case for fiber to solve the digital divide. At Fiber Connect 2021, Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn was the keynote speaker and she extolled the benefits of fiber broadband.
Bolton argues that ensuring access to all people, whether in rural and urban areas is important to achieving digital equity. The beauty of fiber is that, unlike copper-based networks, the quality is the same whether the subscriber is next to the central office or at the furthest reaches of the network.
Another, perhaps larger, challenge with digital equity, is affordability. Bolton, who is also a part-time lecturer with the University of Alabama in Huntsville, cites a recent diversity, equity, and inclusion study performed by his students that concluded the following elements lead to generational poverty;
- rents that consume greater than 30% of income,
- lack of 4-year degrees,
- and limited access to the Internet and computers
Bolton concludes by reinforcing the importance of fiber broadband to breaking the poverty cycle,
“It’s really important that we’re able to provide fiber to every American to really bolster up and make everybody part of what our future is.”
Fiber Connect 2021 coverage is made possible by Calix.