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The Power of Empowering Marginalized Communities - Episode 600 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

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Initial BEAD Proposals and Five Year Action Plans Come Into Focus

The key for states to unlock their portion of the $42.5 billion in federal BEAD funds is the submission and approval of their Five Year Action Plans and Final Proposal. Today, we will look at two states (Maine and Louisiana) and follow up with the others as we are getting a clearer picture of how each state intends to put this historic infusion of federal funds to use.

Nushagak Cooperative Driving Fiber To Rural Alaskan Communities For The First Time

Launched in 1975, the member-owned Nushagak Electric & Telephone Cooperative, based in Dillingham, Alaska, offers locals broadband access through microwave towers. But the co-op, which also offers a electric, telephone, and cable TV service, says it’s on the cusp of new fiber deployments that should finally bring next-generation speeds to a chunk of the co-op’s members.

Nation’s First Digital Inclusion Leadership Certificate Program Announced

Arizona State University (ASU) and the Marconi Society announce the creation of a first-of-its-kind Digital Inclusion Leadership Certificate program that aims to provide “a foundational understanding of the technology, policy and digital inclusion essentials needed to create true digital equity.” The Digital Inclusion Leadership Certificate is the nation’s first professional certificate in the field as the program is geared to educate individuals and teams at all levels of government, as well as nonprofits and anchor institutions.

Timnath, Colorado and Loveland Team Up to Further Expand Celebrated Municipal Fiber Network

Officials in Loveland and Timnath, Colorado recently announced the ratification of an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that greenlight’s a plan to bring ubiquitous, affordable high-speed Internet access to yet another community in the Centennial State, as an increasing number of Colorado cities and towns embrace municipal broadband after years of frustration with the inadequate, high-priced service from the region’s monopoly incumbents.

Indigenous Connectivity Summit 2023 Calls to Action

Each year since its creation in 2017, the Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) has convened those working on the frontlines of Tribal connectivity. This year the Summit was held in Anchorage, Alaska, where participants agreed on a series of calls-to-action for governments and other entities with an eye on promoting digital equity in Indigenous communities.

Congress Could Soon Decide Fate And Future Of Affordable Connectivity Program

The farm bill may soon play a key role in maintaining the $14 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) currently overseen by the FCC. However, the farm bill doesn’t represent the only shot of extending and funding the ACP. A bipartisan coalition of 45 lawmakers are simultaneously pushing for the ACP to be funded by other appropriation measures currently winding their way through the halls of Congress. Both the appropriations and farm bills face a looming September 30 deadline Congress seems unlikely to meet.

Decorah, Iowa Inches Closer To City-Owned Fiber Build With Plan To Reach Finish Line

Decorah, Iowa is moving forward on a long-percolating plan to expand the city’s core fiber ring to provide affordable broadband access to long-neglected residents and businesses. While the project has been discussed for years, local officials tell ISLR the project gained renewed momentum during peak COVID, and is creeping closer to launch. While contracts are still being finalized, the city hopes to spend somewhere around $12 to $15 million to deliver fiber to all 3,000 potential subscriber locations.

AAPB Calls For Help in Developing Public Broadband Handbook

The American Association for Public Broadband is calling for help in creating a handbook that helps communities examine their option to create and maintain public broadband networks. The handbook will be a “hands-on, high-level resource for moving through the entire process including getting started, building community support, technology and business case analysis, role of partners and finance.”

After Decades Of Talk, Palo Alto Drives Forward On Municipal Fiber Build

For over 20 years, the city of Palo Alto, the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley,” has flirted with the idea of building a city-owned municipal fiber network. Now after years of debate, numerous studies, several false starts, and many unfulfilled RFPs, city officials say they’re finally moving forward with a city-owned fiber network they hope will transform affordable broadband connectivity citywide. Phase One of the city’s planned fiber deployment should begin later this year, delivering fiber access to around 20 percent of the city–or 6,500 homes and businesses.

Waterloo, Iowa Unveils Affordable Pricing For City-Owned Fiber Build

After years of strategizing, Waterloo, Iowa officials unveiled a new website for the city's fiber-to-the-home project and annouced service pricing. The city’s network will cost $115 million, take roughly three years to build, and ultimately deliver affordable fiber access at speeds up to 10 Gbps to all municipal buildings, anchor institutions, and all 67,695 city residents.

Mississippi Electric Cooperative and State Shine BEAM On Rural Delta Region

The establishment of a new broadband office in Mississippi heralds a new era in the state’s efforts to bring high quality broadband to all its residents, especially those living in the most rural parts of the state. On the forefront of that effort is the Delta Electric Power Association, an electric cooperative building out fiber networks in the Mississippi Delta region, where about a quarter of residents do not have access to broadband of any kind.

Central Virginia Electric Cooperative Brings Fiber To 20K Virginians In 52 Months

The Central Virginia Electric Cooperative (CVEC) and its Firefly Broadband Initiative has successfully completed its $150 million fiber expansion project, having deployed 3,600 miles of new fiber, passed 40,000 total homes and businesses, and directly connecting 20,000 state residents–many for the first time ever–in less than 52 months. About 90 percent of households connected had no broadband access previously.