The internet enables the collection and responsible sharing of data to address challenges in the United States. To address the challenges of today, the nation needs data to be timely, relevant, and detailed according to White House Chief Scientist, Denice Ross.

Data is essential to a healthy democracy and a thriving equitable society. The internet is an enabler for the United States data supply chain. However, it’s easy to become complacent with already collected, but when a crisis hits the need for better data becomes clear.

Then, “we realize how much more we need out of our data. We need it to be more frequent, detailed, and granular,” Ross said during the State of the Net conference on Feb. 28.

Lack of proper internet access in recent years proved that United States data has several inadequacies. For example, during the pandemic, data was a crucial element to providing resources to communities in need. However, limited internet access led to failures in providing an accurate representation of disparate and rural communities leading to inequalities in COVID-related care, vaccine distribution, etc.

Ross highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a step forward in the right direction to improving access to high-speed internet, ensuring the collection and responsible sharing of crucial data to answer challenges facing the country today.

“Ensuring every American has access to reliable high-speed internet is a key aspect of the bipartisan infrastructure law. It sets aside $65 billion in funding to help ensure that every American has access to reliable high-speed internet with this historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment,” Ross said.

Additionally, the legislation will help lower prices for internet service and help close the digital divide, so that more Americans can afford internet access.

This investment, according to Ross, will create the opportunity for a more reliable data supply chain, ensuring that the United States gets more out of its data to respond to various challenges the nation is or may encounter.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.