About Karen Lightman, Executive Director, Metro21 Smart Cities Institute

Karen Lightman is Executive Director of Metro21: Smart Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Karen is an internationally recognized leader in building and supporting communities based on emerging technologies. Karen has expertise with commercializing academic research, building industry-based consortiums and leading teams to explore market-based opportunities. She is a passionate advocate and spokesperson for technology solutions to real-world problems and is on the board of the MetroLab Network. Karen has a BA from the University of Vermont and a MS in Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College.

COVID-19 is Creating the Largest Ever Telecommunity, But Not for Everyone

Social distancing is becoming the new normal, at least for those of us who are heeding the Center for Disease Control’s warnings and guidelines. But if you don’t have reliable, high-speed broadband, it is impossible to engage in what is now the world’s largest telecommunity. As many schools and universities around the world (including those of my kids) are shut down, these institutions are optimistically converting to online and digital learning. However, with our current broadband layout, this movement will certainly leave many Americans behind.