Hawaii State Broadband Coordinator Recognized with Two Prestigious Awards

Posted on Mar 14, 2023 in News

For Immediate Release: March 14, 2023

HONOLULU—State Broadband Coordinator of the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office, Burt Lum, was recently recognized with two awards for his important work championing digital equity in the state of Hawaii. He was recognized earlier this month with the Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award, presented by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, during the NDIA’s Net Inclusion 2023 – its annual conference hosted this year in San Antonio, Texas. Additionally, Lum was recognized as a Hall of Fame Laureate by The Junior Achievement of Hawaii.

In March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lum was one of the co-conveners of the Hawaii Broadband Hui – a grassroots community gathering which convenes more than 500 partners from diverse backgrounds who collaborate to increase Hawaii’s digital capacity. Lum and the Hui have made notable progress by mobilizing their efforts, which have resulted in establishing a Broadband and Digital Equity Office, making Hawaii one of the first states across the country to prioritize digital equity.

“There has been a lot of good progress made thus far here in Hawaii towards bridging the digital divide and there is a lot of work that still needs to be done towards eliminating inequality to improve the health and well-being of Hawaii’s communities. I firmly believe that these awards are a testament to the entire community – particularly those in the Broadband Hui – who are working day in and day out to increase digital literacy education and advocating for digital equity in Hawaii,” said Lum.

The Hui has supported broadband infrastructure development in rural communities; provided digital devices for students and families; supported the accessibility of telehealth; provided information on low-cost internet options and adopted a Digital Equity Declaration to set a vision and goals for a more equitable digital future. Lum’s dedicated efforts and collective action are integral as Hawaii aims to achieve full digital equity in the near future and over the long term.

“This year, Burt stood out as a Digital Equity Champion because of his commitment to Hawaii and his national leadership. With every state now formulating Digital Equity Plans, champions like Burt are modeling what’s possible when states use holistic digital inclusion solutions to pave the way to future digital equity,” said Angela Siefer, NDIA executive director.

The Digital Equity Champion Award recognizes an outstanding individual who has made a difference in the field of digital equity, from promoting the ideal of accessible and affordable communications technology for communities, to crafting programs and policies that make it a reality.

The Junior Achievement of Hawaii recognizes prestigious leaders that have dedicated their careers in helping communities in Hawaii as Hall of Fame Laureate honorees. The Junior Achievement of Hawaii Business Hall of Fame is an annual event honoring Hawaii’s distinguished business leaders since 1990 and was held on March 9, 2023 at the Japanese Cultural Center. Junior Achievement’s purpose is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.

For more information about the Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Awards and past champions, visit www.digitalinclusion.org/champions/. To check out the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), visit www.digitalinclusion.org/. To learn more about Junior Achievement, visit hawaii.ja.org/.

Photos and videos from the events are available here.

About Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT)
DBEDT is Hawaii’s resource center for economic and statistical data, business development opportunities, energy and conservation information, and foreign trade advantages. DBEDT’s mission is to achieve a Hawaii economy that embraces innovation and is globally competitive, dynamic and productive, providing opportunities for all Hawaii’s citizens. Through its attached agencies, the department fosters planned community development, creates affordable workforce housing units in high-quality living environments, and promotes innovation sector job growth.

About Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office (HBDEO)
HBDEO was established within the State of Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism with a mission to support and coordinate statewide deployment of high-speed internet access (broadband) and to achieve the goals of digital equity and adoption for all residents of Hawaii. HBDEO’s functions include the coordination, implementation, promotion, funding and managing of programs that ensure the equitable distribution of digital technologies and provides pathways to maximize Hawaii’s competitiveness in the digital economy.

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Laci Goshi
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
(808) 587-9006

Crystal Yamasaki
Crystal Clear Communications
(808) 389-2890