Governor signs bills to promote broadband infrastructure and digital equity
Gov. David Ige signed four bills into law on Thursday relating to digital equity.
Burt Lum is the host of HPR’s Bytemarks Cafe and the state’s broadband strategy officer.
"How do we demonetize this technology? A lot of times we get enamored by the fact that there’s this million-dollar project here, or this other great 5G technology," Lum said at the ceremony.
"But how do we make sure that we don’t just do those projects? That we do projects that enable the betterment of all in our communities. So how do we not forget the people that are sometimes marginalized or disfranchised or on the edges?" Lum said.
The four bills are:
— SB2214: Public libraries will offer digital navigator programs, and give free access to computer classes. Activities will be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
— SB2184: The Department of Education will establish a Digital Learning Center within the department. The center will expand computer classes and IT services to Hawaiʻi public schools.
— SB2479: Requires all new public housing projects and state low-income housing projects to include broadband infrastructure for tenants.
— SB2076: Requires the University of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi Broadband and Digital Equity Office to provide internet access to all Hawaiʻi residents. Ige executed a line-item veto that would have funded the broadband expansion from the American Rescue Plan.