Civic News

Digital infrastructure matters to your city’s future, however you define it

August's editorial calendar theme is a topic that underscores much of Technical.ly's coverage, form wireline broadband development to data center construction to federal policy.

The data room in vXchnge's Pittsburgh data center.

(Courtesy photo)

I’ll guess that of all the terms so confusingly defined that the definitions cease to mean much, “digital infrastructure” isn’t the one that annoys you the most.

After all, major thought and policy leaders largely agree that it’s crucial to our technological future. The federal government solidified as much by including digital infrastructure development within last year’s expansive infrastructure bill.

But let me press you on this for a sec: What does “digital infrastructure” actually mean?

For instance, does it only refer to the exclusively code-based, physically invisible architecture of our computer-accessible world with which cybersecurity professionals are most concerned? Does it instead only encapsulate the IRL manifestations of our dependence on information accessible via computers — for instance, the massive facilities that northern Virginia has made a local industry calling card over the past few years? Is it far more general, expansive enough to include both physical and strictly digital components? Does any of this capture how important the concept is to the security, equity, access, sustainability and related concerns that underscore how all of us actually function in the digital world?

Admittedly, we at Technical.ly struggled among ourselves to actually define digital infrastructure. But the implications of how policymakers, ISPs and tech companies alike understand the concept underscore much of our coverage throughout the northeastern US. During Digital Infrastructure Month of Technical.ly’s editorial calendar, consider these articles and commentaries, as well as the aforelinked pieces, as a starting point:

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This August, we’ll dig deeper into the various contours of digital infrastructure. Expect articles that examine just what the $65 billion that the infrastructure law allocated for broadband has actually supported so far. You may also anticipate pieces exploring the future of the Internet of Things, 5G and physical infrastructure in our markets, as well as how local government has succeeded and failed in making these things as accessible to people on the other side of the digital divide.

Like with every editorial calendar theme, Technical.ly would love to hear from the experts, practitioners and advocates among you on how digital infrastructure matters to you. Do you have strong ideas for how your local or national government can improve connectivity or protect crucial systems? Are you working on improving digital infrastructure in tangible or policy-driven ways?

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