S1 E2 Pt. 2: The Tech Multiplier Effect

Welcome to the Ninety-Seven, where we believe rural America is the next place to pioneer.

Part 2 of The Tech Multiplier Effect focuses on the ‘rural digital divide’ and ways to solve it. Solutions include a $100 billion congressional bill to make broadband a public utility (like electricity) and the creation of new companies to run broadband to rural. What divide stands in the way of this obvious move? The partisan divide.

“While the party-line vote on the full bill is a fact of our current politics, no one should make the mistake of thinking the broadband provisions are partisan. People in cities and rural areas alike need better broadband at better prices, no matter their party or politics.”

– Matt Wood, Vice President of Policy and General Counsel, Free Press Action


  • Congressman Ro Khanna  |  California’s 17th Congressional District
  • Larry Irving  |  CEO, Irving Group
  • Jim L. Estep  |  President + CEO, High Technology Foundation



ongressman Ro Khanna represents California’s 17th Congressional District, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, and is serving in his second term.

Rep. Khanna is committed to representing the people and ideas rooted in Silicon Valley to the nation and throughout the world. For each job created in the high-tech industry, another four jobs are created.

Rep. Khanna was born in Philadelphia, PA, during America’s bicentennial, to a middle-class family. Both of his parents immigrated to the United States in the 1970s from India in search of opportunity and a better life for their children.

Rep. Khanna graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago and received a law degree from Yale University. As a student at the University of Chicago, he walked precincts during Barack Obama’s first campaign for the Illinois Senate in 1996. In his free time, Rep. Khanna enjoys cheering for the Golden State Warriors, watching movies, and traveling. He and his wife Ritu call Fremont, CA, home.

Website Facebook  |  Twitter



arry Irving, CEO of the Irving Group, a technology consulting firm,  produced the first empirical study proving the existence of the “Digital Divide.” This groundbreaking research sparked global interest in digital equity issues and continues to be widely cited today.

As  assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information and administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) during the Clinton Administration, Irving helped establish some of the earliest and most foundational U.S. domestic and international Internet policies

Irving is a graduate of Northwestern University and serves on the University’s Board of Trustees, and Stanford Law School. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Education Networks of America. In September 2019, Irving was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame for his work identifying and advocating solutions to the “Digital Divide.” He is the first African American elected to the Internet Hall of Fame.




ames L. Estep has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the High Technology Foundation since June of 2000. The High Technology Foundation’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for the growth of a regional knowledge sector.  The flagship of the High Technology Foundation efforts is the development of the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont, West Virginia. Under Mr. Estep’s leadership, the I-79 Technology Park has expanded to almost 400 acres and over 800,000 square feet of Class A office and lab space. Mr. Estep’s recruitment efforts at the park have established a strong basis for a knowledge sector business case in West Virginia. Since 2018 alone, contracting opportunities at the I-79 Technology Park have exceeded $650 million.

Mr. Estep is active in several business and technology efforts around the state and serves as a current Board Member and past Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex. He earned a master’s degree in computer science from West Virginia University (WVU) and a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the West Virginia Institute of Technology.

A native of Braxton County, Mr. Estep resides in Morgantown with his wife Melissa. They have three children and two grandchildren.

James Estep: LinkedIn  |  Twitter

High Technology Foundation: Facebook  |  LinkedIn  |  Twitter

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