A Deep Dive into Iowa Broadband: Challenges, Solutions, and Collaboration - Episode 595 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

In this latest episode of the podcast, Christopher is joined by Curtis Dean, Vice President of the Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN), to delve into the state of broadband in Iowa and the impactful work undertaken by CBAN.

Fresh insights into Iowa's broadband landscape are unveiled as Curtis sheds light on the hurdles faced by local providers in securing funding and navigating regulatory frameworks. Drawing parallels with successful municipal broadband endeavors like the one in Fort Dodge, Chris and Curtis emphasizes the pivotal role of local control in driving broadband expansion initiatives.

The episode also serves as a platform for Curtis to announce upcoming events within the broadband community, including the eagerly anticipated CBAN Spring Summit and the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities Municipal Broadband Conference, fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing among stakeholders.

As the conversation concludes, listeners gain a deeper understanding of the collaborative spirit driving Iowa's municipal broadband community and the imperative of empowering local, community-focused providers in the quest for equitable broadband access.

This show is 30 minutes long and can be played on this page or using the podcast app of your choice with this feed.

Transcript below.

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show: please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or see other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.


Curtis Dean (00:07):
I always said that that local control, whether it's Muni or not, gives you the power to say yes, and that's something that you can't even find the right person to get a yes from with bigger companies.

Christopher Mitchell (00:18):
Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and I'm up in St. Paul, [00:00:30] which suddenly got winter this week. Kind of sucks frankly, to happen in March. Should have been earlier. Curtis Dean, you're down in Iowa. How are things down there?

Curtis Dean (00:39):
The UL Tree, Des Moines, Iowa where we did not get what you got. We just had rain and thunderstorms, but doing good.

Christopher Mitchell (00:46):
You are the Vice President of the Community Broadband Action Network, and we're going to talk more about that as well as just what's going on in Iowa and the nation as a whole, perhaps.

Curtis Dean (00:55):
Absolutely. Pick my brain, sir. Yeah,

Christopher Mitchell (00:58):
I will. I'm going to resist [00:01:00] the urge to talk more about the weather and the large hackberry tree that came down in my yard unexpectedly.

Curtis Dean (01:06):
Oh, no, I'm sorry to hear that.

Christopher Mitchell (01:08):
I actually got up there with a ratchet to hold it together because it was over the utility lines until a company could get out here and cut it down, but it was not a good couple of days. Oh wow. So let's get onto something real. Caitlyn Clark, what's the deal with Caitlyn Clark?

Curtis Dean (01:25):
Best thing that happened to Iowa in our history and a lot of people's opinions, it's just crazy, isn't it? [00:01:30] I mean, we're all just stunned. I think that first of all, for us to have an athlete of that caliber that actually is Iowa kid born and bred, and then to have her be so successful

Christopher Mitchell (01:46):
And to stick around and do it in Iowa rather than going to UConn or something like that. I just love her for that.

Curtis Dean (01:52):
But then the real stunner is how it turned into this phenomenon. Who would've ever thought [00:02:00] a women's basketball player from Iowa would absolutely elevate the sport and just it's the whole package and it's,

Christopher Mitchell (02:11):
I'm more excited about the Women's Final Four. I'm hoping she'll make it. I'm be watching her in the Sweet 16 this weekend. I think it's going to be amazing, but absolutely we can't dally too much longer. We're going to lose. I get that. Our non-sports ball

Curtis Dean (02:22):
People, unless we can get her to endorse one of our podcasts. How does that sound,

Christopher Mitchell (02:27):
Right? I mean, crash the servers. [00:02:30] We're not set up for that kind of success. So I'm curious before we jump into the Community Broadband Action Network, which spans much more of the United States now than the last time we talked. Let's just start talking about what's going on in Iowa in terms of broadband. What's the top of your head of what's going on in Iowa?

Curtis Dean (02:48):
Well, we are getting ready for BEAD like everybody, there's some angst about that BEAD round because the things that [00:03:00] you have talked about and Doug Dawson have talked about and others in the industry have talked about some of the rules that were part of the law that are going to have to be followed that give people some heartburn. And so that's a big part of what everybody's going through right now. We think our state's going to have their map appeal process, a 30 day window, wish it were longer, but a 30 day window sometime this summer, hopefully early summer. And so [00:03:30] that will help us all figure out what the latest round of maps look like and what's wrong about them.

Christopher Mitchell (03:36):
And I was just reminded by Christine on our team, our senior data person, she was reminding me that this challenge process cannot correct if a location is not on the map. This is just about locations that are on the map, whether they're correctly identified at their level of service. But I think a lot of people have already forgotten that I did.

Curtis Dean (03:57):
Yeah, the previous map [00:04:00] appeal had your ability to challenge. Well, there is a location here where this is just a green bin from an abandoned farm place, but this round you're right, does not. It's just about is the data that we have on record the map people accurate or not? And I've talked to a couple of our CBAN members here in Iowa communities, counties that are looking for a little assistance in how to do that, how to appeal that map. And I know that in the state of Iowa [00:04:30] anyway, they're going to have a crowdsource speed test tool that citizens will be able to use to make an appeal. So if the provider's reporting a hundred by 20 and they can do a run a speed test that shows they're well below that and attach that to their appeal, then that's going to go a long way toward fixing some of this misreporting that's out there.

So we've got that. We've got previous state broadband grant rounds that are all in the process of being built out. Some just starting this year. [00:05:00] Some are going to be wrapping up this year across the state. And so that's covered a lot of the rural areas. It's not the low hanging fruit, it's the mid hanging fruit, the middle of the tree fruit with BEAD supposedly going after the high hanging fruit, IE the most unserved areas. There's a real question whether that'll be accomplished. I know that's what BEAD said it will do, but if you look at the math here in Iowa, we've got one would cost 1.3 billion to go to every unserved location in the [00:05:30] state with fiber iOS 415 million. So it's obviously not going to be all fiber or they'll only spend it on unserved areas and the underserved people will still be stuck where they are less than a hundred by 20.

On a broad thing. That's what's going on. We also have a couple of municipal projects in the works and in progress here in Iowa. We've talked before about Fort Dodge, that one's near and dear to my heart. I've been working with them off and on, well pretty much steadily since they first had the idea [00:06:00] of a municipal broadband system. Their construction started last year is ramping up again this year. In fact, they were ramping up in late February because we had such a short winter this year that they were working until the first week in January. They were only shut down six weeks on outside plant construction. So they're back at it. And Fort Dive has got about 700 people turned on now, so good start. But it's a big project. They've got over 5,000 homes or businesses have signed [00:06:30] up and basically said, I'm going to want service. Give me a site survey, get me a drop. So we're really excited about that. Their project in construction was a little slowed a lot last year by locates, which is a huge problem across the country where there aren't enough locators for the locating firms to do the work and work gets behind or it's poorly done, and then you hit a gas line and suddenly the whole project just shut down for a couple of days.

Christopher Mitchell (06:58):
Yeah, I mean, you're talking [00:07:00] about the process by which if you're building anything in the ground, you're supposed to call 8 1 1 and then that dispatches or alerts people to get out there and mark their underground utilities. And if you don't have people that are doing that, then you either have to move forward and run the risk of hitting something or you are delayed.

Curtis Dean (07:17):
Yes. I was just talking with the folks at Iowa One Call, which is our 8 1 1 here, and just a couple hours ago about the biggest issues they have are [00:07:30] providers, and they tend to be bigger providers, utility companies, they don't have their own locate people. They farm that out and the companies, they farm it out for various reasons, have a hard time attracting and retaining people in that position. So they're constantly going through people. So a lot of the people that are out there doing locates for some of these big location companies are newbies and newbies. You know what? They make mistakes sometimes even if they're trying their hardest, but fortunately for Fort Dodge, the energy company there, the electric [00:08:00] utility in Fort Dodge fired their old utility locator and hired a different one, and the new one has been night and day. They are busting their butts and keeping ahead and doing it right. And we haven't had any bad locate hits, so that's going really well.

Christopher Mitchell (08:14):
Yeah, that's good. The other thing I love about Fort Dodge is that the story is, I mean, it's right up our alley for those of us who have watched these different projects where you have the local banks are the ones who are pushing the project. Yes. I remember when I spoke with them, we [00:08:30] talked about this in a previous episode with them, but I remember asking them if the cost of their project is what the neighborhood of $30 million, right?

Curtis Dean (08:39):
Yeah. More like 34.

Christopher Mitchell (08:41):
Okay. So I remember asking them, are you concerned about the risk involved with that sum of money? And I just remember them laughing at me and saying, I mean, they weren't trivializing it, but they were like, we've had to make hard decisions about 10 times that amount of money around water systems. Exactly.

Curtis Dean (08:59):
It's [00:09:00] not the largest public works project they've ever tackled. Yeah,

Christopher Mitchell (09:02):
Not even close. It's one of the lesser ones. I mean, people don't realize that.

Curtis Dean (09:06):
Exactly. And it's one that's going to generate enough revenue to make it very successful. So yeah, there's not much angst there. I mean, the biggest they're having right now is we can't build it fast enough. People get impatient. I signed up that interest form a year ago, and you haven't even built down my block yet. Well, we're coming. It'll be here. And pretty soon when you're hooked up, you'll forget all about [00:09:30] the pain that you went through to wait for it. So yeah, they built a heck of a team there, a heck of a team. So happy with the group of people that they've made it easy for me as one of their advisors because they've done so well. They've worked me out of a job, which is great.

Christopher Mitchell (09:47):
Yeah, yeah, no, especially when there's other communities that can use that help. So extra hours for elsewhere. Exactly.

Curtis Dean (09:52):
Yeah. I'll take that little piece of me and put it somewhere else. So

Christopher Mitchell (09:55):
Let's talk about CBAN, the Community Broadband Action Network. [00:10:00] What's going on this year? And in fact, now's a good time to remind people you're just weeks away from your spring event.

Curtis Dean (10:07):
Two of them, in fact, we are rapidly coming up. My big push now the next 10 days is to get all the final cross, the T's dot the i's for the CBAN Spring Summit, as we call it. It's April 9th. It's in Johnston aisle, but it's also virtual. So we have three sessions on the afternoon of the ninth, and [00:10:30] they will all be for people that register. We'll be sending out a link so they can enjoy 'em online. So this event is like our fourth or fifth annual spring summit. And so really this year it's picked up. We kicked it up a notch. We've got Gigi, so as our keynote speaker, and she's going to be talking about defending the public broadband model. Something near and dear to both of our hearts, Chris, she's obviously attracting a lot of attention. A lot of people want to come just to meet her. [00:11:00] And if you've never met her or heard her speak, oh my goodness, she is a fireball.

Christopher Mitchell (11:04):
Bring hard questions. There's nothing more fun than giving her a hard question.

Curtis Dean (11:08):
She will knock get out of the park. Yeah, absolutely. And then we have Ken Delow from HR Green is going to talk about funding

Christopher Mitchell (11:17):
Now, I'm on vacation that week, and I literally want to come because Ken is one of my favorite people in this industry. He

Curtis Dean (11:22):
Is, and he's such a great and dynamic speaker, and he's going to be talking about funding BEAD and beyond. [00:11:30] What are the funding streams that, because a lot of the communities out there that may be interested in a publicly owned system are not going to be eligible for any of the BEAD funding, but they might still want to do a project. So what does that funding look like for them? Loans, bonds, et cetera. So he'll wrap all that up in his session. And then we're going to have a session with our digital navigator, Bree Vu and John Willow, one of our co-founders are talking about building community-based digital equity [00:12:00] programs called Digital Equity Starts at Home. So lessons that they've learned in the year and a half that we've been operating a digital navigator program here in Iowa, things that we've learned from the other 17 cohorts in the NDIA Digital Navigator pilot, all the things we've learned from this huge network of digital equity and digital inclusion folks across the country.

Christopher Mitchell (12:24):
Excellent. So that's the first event. You said there's a second one coming up too.

Curtis Dean (12:27):
Yeah. Well, we roll right into the Iowa Association [00:12:30] of Municipal Utilities. Municipal Broadband Conference. So we'll have some of the same people at both. And so a lot of the municipal managers and technicians and engineers and such from the 29 Iowa Muni owned systems will be there for the afternoon. We're going to have a little reception that evening opening ceremonies, so to speak, for our Olympic themed IAMU broadband conference. And then the next day we have a vendor show. We have sessions on the 10th [00:13:00] and 11th and all in the same spot in Stony Creek Hotel in Johnston. I got stuff to do.

Christopher Mitchell (13:06):
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I'm glad we found some time here to let people know. Well,

Curtis Dean (13:09):
You nailed the perfect time. I just got back from the Iowa Communication Alliance conference after networking there for two days and just got done with lunch when I got your text. Hey, can you do this? Absolutely. Let's go before I get stuck in something else.

Christopher Mitchell (13:23):
Well, I'm curious then about what else is happening with some of the money in Iowa. You'd mentioned [00:13:30] the Capital Projects Fund. People are building with it, but they're hitting some roadblocks.

Curtis Dean (13:36):
Yeah, there are challenges. There are some local regulatory challenges. There are out there. There are terrain challenges. I'll just give you one example because it involves two CBAN members. It involves Madison County, which is a CBAN community, and it involves Casey Mutual Telephone, which is a CBAN provider. Casey Mutual is successful in getting [00:14:00] a grant from the state under the Capital Projects Fund for I think it was 3.5 million to build an area in Central Madison County that the county had worked with C Band to identify as this particular area in need. So things are going well there. Right? Well, the problem was when these grant rounds are announced, they only give the providers that are going to reply 30 days. And in 30 days they have to come up with a high level design cost [00:14:30] estimate to build their own little business model out of it before they submit for the loan or the grant. So in this case, Casey Mutual did that, but because you only have 30 days, they didn't have a chance to do the real detailed engineering exploration. That would've been better if they had, because what they discovered after the fact is, oh, that's all Rock.

Christopher Mitchell (14:53):
So ordinarily you would have a person out there walking every mile of the line, but if you have 30 days, you

Curtis Dean (14:59):
Can't [00:15:00] do that anymore. Don't time do that. No. So we discovered this rock issue soon after the grant was awarded. I've got to say our Iowa broadband office has been really, really great to work with on this. The deadline for accepting that grant award was a couple months ago, but because we've been working through all these challenges and they really want, it was the second highest ranked priority in the state of Iowa, so they really want to see it built. And then that led to the local regulatory challenge, which is really not anybody's fault. [00:15:30] And that was the fact that the county would not allow Casey Mutual to do anything in the roadway or of way. In other words, they couldn't be in the shoulder of the road. They are in many other areas. And first, that seemed like a big unnecessary regulatory hurdle until we met with the county engineer and discovered, oh yeah, they built those roads a hundred years ago, and there's giant slabs of concrete the size of a conference table, and if you tag one of those with a plow, it's just going to break the road into.

So [00:16:00] that made the costs higher because now they can't do that plow in an easier to plow area because now they have to go on the up slope of the ditch. And again, it's rock. So there's going to be a lot of rock boring. And rock boring is 10 times more expensive on a per foot basis than born through soil. So we'll see. We've gotten the final numbers back with a re-estimate. We had an engineer who's a CBAN member actually come in and do a more detailed design [00:16:30] and walk out and figured out what the rock obstacles were. So we have a much sharper number. We've given that to the state and said, what can you do?

Christopher Mitchell (16:39):
Yeah, I was just looking it up. I expected Madison to be up in the Driftless region, but that's southwest of Des Moines. That's southwest of a bit of a surprise there. Yeah.

Curtis Dean (16:46):
Yeah. Well, the bridges of Madison County, that's one of the reasons that we have bridges of Madison County like that because there's this river that runs right through the middle of the county. It's even called the Middle River, and that's where on two miles, [00:17:00] on other side of it, it's like rock. It's limestone and granite, and it's just very difficult. And most of the operators in Iowa don't want to build aerial networks for good reason. We have these things called derechos. You got 'em in Minnesota too, so everybody's been bearing their lines, and so nobody wants to go back on poles again. So it all kind of fed into the perfect storm of misfortune in that case. But those are the kinds of obstacles that Casey Mutual is just an example. There are plenty of others out there that have found this. We've [00:17:30] gotten a grant, they've gone, they've done the detailed look and go, holy crap, we can't afford to do this now and have actually turned that money back to the state.

Christopher Mitchell (17:38):
Well, and this is, I think also worth noting, KC Mutual is not a municipal company. Correct. I think like many others who have been doing this work for some time, I'm assuming it's a cooperative, it is a

Curtis Dean (17:52):
Mutual telephone

Christopher Mitchell (17:54):
Corp. So that's okay.

Curtis Dean (17:55):
It's different than a cooperative because it's not member owned. It's owned by a board [00:18:00] of shareholders. And that's an interesting point to bring up because you mentioned their CBAN members, even though they're not a municipal, our membership is open to any small independent broadband provider that has a strong community focus.

Christopher Mitchell (18:15):
And that's what I was trying to get at was that I think originally some of us were really focused on the nonprofit business models, and we've come to recognize that it is an important characteristic in some cases, but there's a lot of, for-profit, [00:18:30] locally owned companies that act like they're actually operating in the public interest. Absolutely. There's a few nonprofit business models that act like, like Profit Maximizers

Curtis Dean (18:42):
Is not a profit line ownership type does not exactly tell you whether they're a good operator or not. Yeah. I mean, Allo Communications out in Nebraska, which is not that small anymore. They are privately owned and they're a CBAN member because when we first talked to them and we realized how focused they are [00:19:00] in their communities and the things they do, we said, this fits. These are the people we want to provide support for, not CenturyLink, Comcast Spectrum, et cetera, or

Christopher Mitchell (19:09):
Even slightly smaller companies that we don't have to name, which have a habit of trying to go in and do 70% of a community and refuse to do the other 30%.

Curtis Dean (19:19):
They're here in Iowa. Yeah. They've actually inquired about membership, and we politely said, no, that's not what this is intended for. You can hire teams of lawyers and consultants to do that work [00:19:30] for you. We're trying to help out little guys that just need support and a little bit of advice and direction.

Christopher Mitchell (19:36):
Well, and you've been involved in this for a very, very long time, and I just think for people who aren't familiar, Iowa, Minnesota, the Dakotas parts of Montana, parts of Illinois, there's other places, just a lot of local companies that have a real history in the community.

Curtis Dean (19:53):
I was at the Connected America in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, and I was leading a panel, [00:20:00] and one of the panelists was a person who is with the South Dakota Broadband Association or the Broadband Association of South Dakota Band, which is a great acronym. And like she mentioned, their entire state is little companies. They don't have that many of them. There's 15 or 20 or whatever it was, but they're all independently owned small guys, and they're a hundred percent fiber in that state almost

Christopher Mitchell (20:27):
Completely. Oh, no. Is wild. And in part because we [00:20:30] did a report on this, they had a lot of the little ones banded together, worked together to buy out the old Quest or US West Territories because they recognize the problem.

Curtis Dean (20:41):
And one of the things that she talked about at her presentation was how when the oil shell boom came to North Dakota, whether you like IT oil shell or not, it came to North Dakota and they were able to serve those mining facilities easier because they had fiber member owned fiber [00:21:00] throughout the state. So that was, I always said that that local control, whether it's Muni or not, is gives you the power to say yes. And that's something that you can't even find the right person to get a yes from with bigger companies.

Christopher Mitchell (21:14):
Right. Okay. So as we're wrapping up, one of the things that when I was brainstorming topics was I found it comical. We're sitting here in 2024, it's now almost 30 years, I think, since Cedar Falls [00:21:30] built out. It is, and it's one of the first examples that comes to mind when people are like, oh, I thought these things always fail. And I'm like, well, Cedar Falls has been accused of failing over and over again, and they have only served almost every resident at this point. There's almost no one taking service from a non-ED Falls Utility Telecom. They

Curtis Dean (21:51):
Failed so badly, they were completely able to rebuild their network with cash that shows how badly they built out, while still offering gigabit services for $60 [00:22:00] a month and 10 gig for like a hundred. So that's a failure. Okay. Yeah.

Christopher Mitchell (22:06):
Well, it's like we've said about Faron as well. If that's a failure, then that's the kind of failure I'd like to be a part of.

Curtis Dean (22:13):
Yeah. And you just scratch your heads. I guess the idea is if you repeat a why, often enough people will believe it. Unfortunately, I think in this country we've proven that to be true over the years in many, many cases, and this is one case where the big guys attack on the [00:22:30] little guys using false information is not really intended to change anybody's hearts. It's just designed to help them convince policymakers to keep all of their built-in advantages for them and not share 'em with others.

Christopher Mitchell (22:45):
Right. And so, I mean, it's remarkable what they've done there, how they've built on it makes me always want to support Northern Iowa University.

Curtis Dean (22:55):
Yeah, absolutely. Go Panthers. And what's cool about Cedar Falls is [00:23:00] here's Waterloo next door. Waterloo's a town twice the size of Cedar Falls, and they've been looking off to their west and north for 30 years saying, gosh, why didn't we do something? Why didn't we do something? And finally, through strong political leadership by their mayor, they're doing it. They're building a fiber network. They are finally able to bring community owned fiber to the people in that town. Meanwhile, [00:23:30] there's another company also building fiber in that town, yet they're confident. I'm confident on their behalf, they're going to do fine because it's not necessarily the medium that makes the competitor good. It is the quality of their service. And Waterloo is doing everything from the ground up to build just an excellent operation. I just had dinner with some of their team here earlier this week, and they're charged up.

They're so excited. The phone's ringing off the hook. Everybody's just pumped. [00:24:00] Their mayor has made it very clear that there will never be another digital divide in Waterloo. There is never going to be another 70% of town services. There's going to be a hundred percent of towns. They're going to be active in doing digital inclusion from day one. So they're going to take the Cedar Falls model, add three decades to it, and do it as well, or even better than Cedar Falls did. And meanwhile, Cedar Falls is right next door and they're supporting them. The former plant manager for Cedar Falls tried to retire, but he [00:24:30] ended up feeling bad because he was worried about the construction in Waterloo. So he went to work as the outside plant manager for their construction company.

Christopher Mitchell (24:37):
That's awesome.

Curtis Dean (24:38):
So he's took that culture of caring, spent six months, retired, and then said, no, I need to go help these guys. So he's doing it. It's great.

Christopher Mitchell (24:47):
Well, that's one of the things that I love, and like I said, you've been around long enough. You've seen it as Iowa communities worked together for a variety of ways. You were up there in Spencer where I think you may have jumped over to Wyndham and seen what was going on [00:25:00] with what there

Curtis Dean (25:00):
Doing. Absolutely.

Christopher Mitchell (25:01):
The ability to share information and to just try to work together to solve these problems. It's inspiring and it's thrilling that it really happens out there.

Curtis Dean (25:08):
Yeah. I always say our municipals in Iowa are kind of a, I wouldn't say dysfunctional family, but we're a family that when we get together at Christmas, that's all we want to do is talk about family things. We may not talk a lot during the rest of the year, but when we get together for our conferences, we're all open sharing of ideas and information [00:25:30] and helping each other and mentoring others. Every new one that's come along in Iowa the past few years, Waverly could have not been successful without Cedar Falls, and Indianola couldn't be as successful without all the guys before them and all the others since. So they're all doing the hard work of being the big brother for these new guys and making them successful out the gate.

Christopher Mitchell (25:56):
And I think that's an important thing to note. I mean, Waterloo is [00:26:00] a blue cross town, right? Waverly was really hard hit by the downfall of manufacturing places. These are not like the well off places that are just making another investment. These are places that are making sure that they're ready for the next American success story.

Curtis Dean (26:15):
Yeah. I mean, some of these communities chase smokestacks for so long, and they realize that that's a law of declining returns. Now, Waterloo is an example. They just, John Deere just announced another bunch of layoffs at their John Deere plan and Waterloo, which is one of their biggest employers, [00:26:30] but they, they're taking the bull by the horns and saying, okay, we need to prepare for the next generation economy, which will not be smokestacks, it will be maybe Substack. I dunno the, a lot of that, it'll be crowdsourced guys in their basement like me and guys in their office like you that are just doing things, adding value to their own household economy by helping others. So that's the win [00:27:00] that we're always looking for. I know when I've been involved with this a long time, that's always the win I look for. Is it lifting a community as opposed to dragging them down.

Christopher Mitchell (27:08):
Right. Well, thank you, Curtis, for making some time today. I'm sorry that I'll be missing your event too. I said before I learned more about the broadband industry through driving down to your events at A IMU, because I would always either go with, what's his name, Russell Eric

Curtis Dean (27:27):

Christopher Mitchell (27:28):
Yeah, Eric Lamp and [00:27:30] cex who

Curtis Dean (27:30):
Retired. Yeah, David Russell.

Christopher Mitchell (27:32):
David Russell. Yeah. The two of them, just like four hours in the car between the cities. Also a stop at Dairy Queen. It was a wonderful time. I learned so much, and then I'll get to your event and learn even more. So I hope people are able to attend even though I cannot this year.

Curtis Dean (27:47):
Yeah, absolutely. And if anybody's interested in joining us for our CBAN Spring Summit in person, if you're around the region or online, if you want to, Chris, I can give you a link and I can get 'em free registration [00:28:00] if you'd

Christopher Mitchell (28:00):
Like. Oh, wonderful. Yes. We'll put that up. Yeah,

Curtis Dean (28:02):
We'll do that.

Christopher Mitchell (28:02):
Yep. Alright, well thank you. And we'll find some excuse to see you soon.

Curtis Dean (28:08):
Anytime. Hey, I want to go on one of your tribal bootcamps one of these days. I'm fascinated by the work you guys are doing and it's such important work and we want to shine a light on that too, because it's an area of great need in many parts of the country. I know we haven't been involved in tribal communities much yet.

Christopher Mitchell (28:24):
Let's figure, let figure out, we're looking at August with Blackview Desert in the upper peninsula [00:28:30] of Michigan, which is right over central Wisconsin. So that would be a natural one to work together with

Curtis Dean (28:35):
You. Our co-founder, John, lives up by Traverse City, so that would be an easy drive for her.

Christopher Mitchell (28:40):
Or she can just canoe right across the lake.

Curtis Dean (28:42):
Yeah, absolutely. We'd love to do that. Yeah, just keep me in the loop.

Christopher Mitchell (28:46):
Alright, I'm going to end the show there. Thank you so much.

Ry Marcattilio (28:48):
We have transcripts for this other podcasts available@communitynets.org slash broadbandbits. Email us@podcastmuninetworks.org with your ideas for the show. [00:29:00] Follow Chris on Twitter. His handle is at Community Nets. Follow community nets.org stories on Twitter, the handles at muni networks. Subscribe to this and other podcasts from ILSR, including Building Local Power, local Energy Rules, and the Composting for Community Podcast. You can access them anywhere you get your podcasts. You can catch the latest important research from all of our initiatives if you subscribe to our monthly newsletter@ilsr.org. While you're there, please [00:29:30] take a moment to donate your support in any amount. Keeps us going. Thank you to Arnie Sby for the song Warm Duck Shuffle, licensed through Creative Commons.