Alum leads Louisiana’s charge to bridge broadband gap in wake of COVID-19

Originally written for the Carey Business School portal in July 2021.

For Veneeth Iyengar (MS Finance ‘11), the past three years have been something of a homecoming. Veneeth was appointed as director for broadband development and connectivity for Louisiana in March 2021. Under the newly created office, he is working to close the gap in access to digital services– from education, telehealth, and more.

Born and raised in Louisiana, he went to college in the Midwest before working in Southeast Asia, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Now executive director for broadband development and connectivity for the state of Louisiana, Iyengar is in his home state working to bridge the gap between issues of accessibility, affordability, and the economic need for connectivity in the digital age.

“Our first goal is to understand the depth and breadth of households in Louisiana considered unserved due to lack of broadband,” he said. “How many households can’t afford it? How many adults lack the digital skills to move forward in a digital society? How do we allocate these pots of money coming from the federal government? How do we remove digital dive by 2029?”

According to Iyengar, 643,000 households in Louisiana, representing 1.6 million Louisianans, lack high-speed internet either because of access, device, affordability, or literacy issue. While issues of accessibility and affordability aren’t new, Iyengar’s office is new, created by the governor in March. Iyengar refers to the office as a “startup” because he’s charged with creating and fulfilling the mission.

Read the full version of this article on the Carey Business School portal.

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