Connectivity during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing inequities in broadband and connectivity issues. While Iyengar is acting quickly to get the office staffed and operational, he is working against the clock on issues like education, health care, agriculture, and more.
“There’s been a rapid convergence between the importance of broadband and education,” he said. “You’ve made this shift to adopt some aspect of virtual learning. In Louisiana, we have an acute teaching shortage. We are looking at solutions and asking, where can broadband play a role?”
In the pandemic, telehealth is booming and provides a safe option for high-quality care in both rural and urban areas. Iyengar is working to educate Louisianans, especially older residents unfamiliar with telehealth services, on the opportunities and benefits of digitally delivered care.
Educating Louisianians on the benefits is only part of the challenge. “You have to shift behaviors,” Iyengar said.
And in agriculture, Iyengar is excited to see new opportunities to connect cell phones, farming equipment, and additional technology to garner more crop data and improve crop yield.
Iyengar acknowledges that success won’t come overnight. He estimates it will take eight to nine years to chip away on the issues of accessibility, affordability, and education. But throughout that time, he is optimistic that creating disruptive growth models and continuing to foster public-private partnerships will make an impact.
Flexibility, listening, and solving problems
For Iyengar, he’s able to pivot between the myriad of campaigns and issues that come across his desk because he sees himself primarily as a problem solver. He credits his career success to his flexibility and solution-oriented approach — skills he honed at Carey Business School.