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.
Building a Network to Build a Network in Southwest Michigan - Episode 449 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
We don’t often get to spend a whole episode diving into the earliest work that communities do to set the foundation for progress in expanding high-quality broadband access down the road, but that’s what we’re talking about today. This week on the podcast Christopher is joined by Pierrette Renée Dagg, Director of Marketing and Communications for the MERIT Network, and John Egelhaaf, Executive Director of the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission.
North Carolina’s Broadband Preemption Law Means Leaving Money on the Table - Bonus Episode 12 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
For the twelfth episode of our bonus series, “Why NC Broadband Matters,” we’re joined by North Carolina League of Municipalities Chief Legislative Council Erin Wynia to talk about Internet access in the state a full year into the COVID 19 pandemic, and the access gaps experienced in towns across the eastern part of the state. Erin shares with Chris how a collection of mayors banded together to write to the state’s attorney general, imploring him to look into Suddenlink’s business practices after fielding questions and complaints from residents and businesses about slow speeds, price hikes, and service interruptions.
“This Isn’t a Game:” The RDOF Auction, Unforced Errors, and Getting Infrastructure Funding Right - Episode 448 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
The conclusion of the RDOF auction was met with a good deal of drama and uncertainty, leaving many of us working after the fact to understand the policy and practical impacts of its outcomes. This week on the podcast Christopher talks with Jonathan Chambers, a partner at Conexon, a network solutions provider for electric cooperatives around the United States who helped organize a consortium of nearly 100 cooperatives to successfully bid for more than $1 billion in funding from the recent Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction administered by the FCC.
"Fiber from the Sea to the Mountaintop" with Anza Electric Cooperative – Episode 447 of the Community Broadband Bits
This week on the podcast Christopher talks with Anza Electric Cooperative General Manager Kevin Short, and Network Administrator Shawn Trento. Anza Electric stretches across 550 square miles in Southern California between San Diego and Palm Springs, sandwiched between the Salton Sea and the San Jacinto Mountains. About 6 years ago they initiated a vote to see whether membership was interested in leadership building fiber not just to electric substations and SCADA systems, but residences as well. When 93% voted in favor, they took it as a mandate. Today, Anza is about halfway done building to their 5,200 members, and getting a 60% take rate.
Partnerships Bring Better Broadband to Le Sueur County, Minnesota - Episode 446 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast we’re catching up with what’s been happening in Le Sueur County (pop. 28,000) in southern Minnesota, and path they’re on to turn the region from one of the least connected in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes to one on track to becoming among the most connected in the next couple of years. To do so, Christopher talks with Barbara Droher Kline, a county consultant who helped the county organize the recent broadband efforts.
Wrapping Up a Landmark Year for the UTOPIA Fiber Network - Episode 445 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
Reforming Rural Funding Structures for a Better Broadband Tomorrow – Episode 444 of the Community Broadband Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher talks with Larry Thompson, CEO of Vantage Point Solutions, a South Dakota-based company which provides engineering, consulting and regulatory services for ISPs of all sizes. The two talk about how the variety of subsidy and grant programs we’ve built to get broadband out into rural areas and make sure folks can afford Internet access came about, and the policy changes we’re likely to see in the near future to make sure existing networks and new construction remains viable.
Loveland Pulse Races Ahead – Episode 443 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
The Front Range in Colorado has been a hotbed of activity recently, and just before Christmas we wrote about how Fort Collins, Estes Park, and Loveland are all pursuing projects to bring better connectivity to residents in the region. This week on the podcast, Christopher talks with Fiber Manager Brieana Reed-Harmel and Marketing and Communications Manager Lindsey Johansen from Loveland’s Pulse network to get some more questions answered.
Finding Our Way with the Help of Digital Navigators - Episode 442 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
In August we first covered the National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s new Digital Navigator’s program, which provides a best-practices model for organizations looking to use local resources to help neighbors learn the skills and overcome their reluctance to getting online. This week on the podcast Christopher welcomes Paolo Balboa, Program Manager at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and Shauna Edson Digital Inclusion Coordinator, at the Salt Lake City Public Library to dive deeper into the program and talk about lessons learned so far.
Predictions for 2021, Year in Review for 2020 - Episode 441 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
2020 is nearly over, and it's that time of the year we sit back with a cold glass of eggnog and reflect on what was, what is, what might have been, and what will be. In this episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast the MuniNetworks team cranks up Zoom for the zillionth time this month to review our previous years' predictions to see who swung the hardest and missed back in 2019, and who might be hiding a secret gift at prognostication that would put Zoltar to shame.