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Best Best & Krieger Of Counsel Cheryl Leanza was selected for recognition in The American Lawyer’s second annual South Trailblazers series, which honors “agents of change” who have moved the needle in the legal industry. The 2022 list published as a special section in The American Lawyer’s October/November issue.

Leanza, a member of the firm’s Telecommunications team, has spent her entire career focused on ensuring that all people have access to technology and communications, whether it is through ensuring local governments can receive funding for critical technology infrastructure, ensuring affordable access to broadband internet for low-income households, challenging communications transactions that harm competition, or fighting predatory telephone rates for the families of incarcerated people.

In Leanza’s Trailblazers profile, she recalls sitting down with a fellow advocate in the early days of the pandemic shutdown to draft federal legislation that would offer subsidies to low-income households to help offset costs of monthly broadband internet. These ideas were eventually passed as the short-term Emergency Broadband Benefit and the permanent Affordable Connectivity Program.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the importance of access to high-speed broadband internet became immediately apparent,” she said. “Today, because of these efforts, low-income families can apply to receive a $30 per month discount off broadband internet or mobile internet.”

Leanza’s hope is that these programs will set the stage for a long-term federal commitment to affordable high-speed broadband internet.

Leanza’s Trailblazers profile can be seen in its entirety here.

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