Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Community Broadband Bits Podcast
Community Broadband Bits is a weekly audio show hosted by Community Broadband Networks Initiative Director Christopher Mitchell featuring interviews with people building community networks or otherwise involved with Internet policy. You can listen to episodes below or download via Apple, Google, or Spotify. Alternatively if you know what to do with it, copy the feed here.
We also produce a semi-regular video show called Connect This! that has its own site. Find other podcasts from ILSR here.
We also have an index of all episodes and links to transcripts. Keep up with new developments by subscribing to our one-email-per-week list sharing new stories and resources. We’d love to hear your feedback! Email us.
Filling in Connectivity Gaps with Open Access Fiber - Episode 554 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Keith Quarles, President and CFO of A2D, a fiber-based, open access competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). Chris and Keith discuss A2D’s business model, which focuses on filling in the gaps – serving communities where connectivity is unaffordable or the incumbent has chosen not to upgrade its infrastructure. Keith explains how many gaps still exist, even after the influx of federal funding for broadband. A2D takes a creative approach to building out fiber backbones in these pockets, which involves connecting existing ecosystems like municipalities, school systems, and electric membership corporations (Georgia’s equivalent of electric cooperatives).
Approaches to Digital Equity Work in Cleveland and Detroit - Episode 553 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Joshua Edmonds, CEO of DigitalC, a nonprofit technology social enterprise in Cleveland. Joshua served as Detroit’s Digital Inclusion Director for four years before heading DigitalC, and he and Christopher discuss Joshua's coalition-building work in Detroit. They compare his experience working under the city of Detroit to his nonprofit digital equity work in Cleveland. Detroit and Cleveland also have two of the highest Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) enrollment rates among prominent metro areas – Joshua offers his approach to ACP, outlining the organized and relentless campaign it took to achieve substantial enrollment in the subsidy program during his time in Detroit. He highlights how important it is to focus on long-term, structural solutions for closing the digital divide at the same time as we find ways to make Internet more affordable in the short term.
Axiom Technologies’ Public Ownership Model for Connecting Communities in Rural Maine - Episode 552 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher tunes in from Broadband Communities in Houston for an interview with Mark Ouellette, CEO of Axiom Technologies in Maine. Christopher and Mark discuss Axiom’s publicly-owned and accountable network model, and its work across 12 projects, of which the ISP is on its third build. They also discuss the entrepreneurial spirit and community-mindedness of Maine’s small ISPs, reflected in Mark’s ultimate mission: to give people a connection that allows them to create their own economy.
Joey Wender and the Treasury's Capital Project Funds - Episode 551 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Joey Wender, Director of the Capital Projects Fund (CPF), U.S Department of the Treasury. Joey and Chris discuss the flexibility of CPF funding and how it allows states to tailor their plans to their own needs. The two also talk about the importance of replenishing funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and how it’s critical to take action on this now, before the fund actually runs out.
Changing the Legislative Landscape in Texas - Episode 550 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Outreach Team Lead DeAnne Cuellar and John Speirs, Harris County, Texas' (pop. 4.7 million) Broadband Manager. Its county seat, Houston, is home to one of the largest ports in the world, and citizens and elected officials are working on projects to boost the region's economic development, climate resiliency, and connectivity to set a solid foundation for the next generation of citizens.
Broadband as the Fifth Utility in Knoxville - Episode 549 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Jamie Davis, CTO of KUB Fiber, the broadband division of the Knoxville Utilities Board in Tennessee. The division is poised to be halfway done with a build across its footprint by June 2024, hitting 90,000 premises, with plans to steam ahead and complete its electric service territory as quick as possible thereafter.
Building and Sustaining a Tribal Network Surrounded by Mountains and Mesas - Episode 548 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Kevin Shendo, Education Director at the Pueblo of Jemez Department of Education, and Angela Diakah, Network Operations Supervisor at Jemez Pueblo Tribal Network (JPTN). JPTN is a wireless network serving more than 500 households in the Jemez Pueblo north of Albuquerque. They share its origins and development.
Finding the Right Partners and Platforms - Episode 547 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
The Transformation of the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative - Episode 546 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Alyssa Clemsen Roberts, President and CEO of New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC). Two and a half years ago, there were no plans to add broadband to its portfolio. Two membership votes and a new CEO later, and NHEC is building 25 miles of new fiber a week across its footprint, and planning to finish a $50-million grant-funded project in the next three years.
Modernizing a Tribal Network - Episode 545 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Kristan Johnson, Telephone Operations Manager of the Tohono O'odham Utility Authority (TOUA), which provides telephone, electric, water, gas, and Internet service to a large portion of those living throughout the Tohono O'odham Nation in south-central Arizona. She shares how the network has moved to modern software platforms to plot assets, how it ensures it reports properly, and how it manages local politics and member expectations for a public that often doesn't know how the Internet reaches it.