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Connected Nation’s VP of Digital Inclusion to lead FCC’s Communications Equity and Diversity Council as Chair

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Washington, DC (October 20, 2021) – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just announced that Heather Gate, Vice President of Digital Inclusion, Connected Nation, will serve as Chair of its Communications Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC).

“Heather has been a tireless advocate for digital equity and inclusion across the country,” said Tom Ferree, Chairman & CEO, Connected Nation. “The pandemic revealed just how critical Heather’s work is to find ways to expand access to technology to all people and create a more diverse world on digital platforms.  I applaud Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s continued commitment to and vision for helping our nations’ most vulnerable populations through this committee.” 

Acting FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel rechartered the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE) under the new CEDC designation. According to the FCC’s website, the mission of the CEDC is “to make recommendations to the Commission on advancing equity in the provision of and access to digital communication services and products for all people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability.” 

Gate served on the ACDDE in a variety of roles since 2017 including serving as the Chair of the Committee’s Digital Empowerment and Inclusion Working Group. Now, as the CEDC Chair, she plans to build upon that work.

“I am extremely honored that Chairwoman Rocenworcel has entrusted me to lead this important council,” said Gate. “I am committed to ensuring that the council is productive and more importantly, our work culminates in the delivery of recommendations and insights to the FCC that will advance digital equity, entrepreneurship in diverse communities, and access to digital communications services for all.”

Since 2006, Gate has been responsible for CN’s strategy development and implementation of programs that impact digital inclusion for all people in all places.

About Heather Gate
During her time with CN, Gate has guided the successful implementation of digital inclusion programs that saw more than 80,000 people receive basics skills training, along with the distribution of 10,000 computers to vulnerable populations from rural to urban low- to-moderate-income (LMI) communities; led the design and implementation of the No Child Left Offline program in Kentucky and the Computer 4 Kids program in Tennessee; and supported the implementation of various Lifeline Broadband Adoption Pilots that ranged from securing refurbished devices in Puerto Rico to coordinating digital literacy workshops for the Hopi Tribe in northeast Arizona.

Gate has led the development and implementation of various digital inclusion programs that culminated in the design and development of CN’s online learning platform, Drive™. This platform, launched in 2014, supports new technology learners and trainers and currently hosts more than 12,000 unique learners actively engaged in either basic skills training or job skills training.

Gate’s work also included the planning and implementation of the New York, Nebraska, and Delaware Opportunity Online programs, an effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focused on helping libraries improve connectivity and develop sustainable plans and partnerships for providing access to broadband and related technologies in their communities; and working with Connected Nation’s program partners to ensure that broadband technologies and digital skills training resources are accessible to vulnerable populations across the country. This includes working with low-cost broadband programs, supporting state broadband initiatives, and developing and implementing custom programs that have impacted thousands across the United States.

Gate holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Kentucky State University, where she earned the President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a graduating student. She also has master’s degrees in computer science and public administration from Kentucky State University.

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About Connected Nation: Connected Nation is celebrating 20 years of service in 2021. Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.