B4DE Starts Tomorrow with NDIA’s Angela Siefer as Keynote

Tomorrow, June 7, beginning at 3 pm ET, #B4DE promises to offer engaging examples, practical tools, and nuggets of insight as digital equity advocates across the nation prepare to take advantage of unprecedented federal funds and programs spurred by the Digital Equity Act and bipartisan infrastructure bill. National Digital Inclusion Alliance Executive Director Angela Siefer will offer thoughts on what those working to close the digital divide should be prioritizing in this historic moment as states are developing their digital equity plans and getting ready to receive their share of the $42.5 billion contained in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Longmont’s NextLight Wins Top Spot In PC Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award

Longmont, Colorado’s NextLight community fiber network isn’t just delivering fast and affordable fiber access to locals, it’s consistently winning awards nationwide. The city-owned network has topped PC Magazine’s Readers’ Choice rankings, which asked readers to rate their satisfaction with their residential broadband providers.

South Carolina’s Innovative Broadband Maps Verifies ISPs Internet Speeds

South Carolina’s innovative state broadband map can accurately identify areas of over-reporting by Internet service providers (ISPs). The South Carolina State Broadband Office now performs audits on the ISPs to ensure they are submitting accurate data. The office partnered with broadband data collection company Ookla and integrated speed test data directly into the mapping system

CA Broadband Activists Aim For Big Wins On Mapping, Cable Franchise Reform

Thanks to a coalition of local digital equity advocates inroads are being made on fixing long-broken California cable franchise law as Digital Equity LA celebrates a major victory in pressuring the California Public Utilities Commission to produce more accurate maps that will be used to determine where the state's broadband funds should be targeted. These efforts come as California is putting its $7 billion broadband expansion plan into place with an eye on boosting competition and driving down consumer costs.

Washington Communities See Millions In New Rural Broadband Grants

The Port Of Whitman County is one of several rural Washington communities set to nab another major infusion of broadband grants courtesy of federal Covid disaster relief. A fresh infusion of $1.1 million announced last week will help the County expand a five city (Palouse, Garfield, Oakesdale, Tekoa and Rosalia) fiber expansion project to 104 unserved homes.

Register Now For Upcoming Building For Digital Equity Event

Our next Building for Digital Equity event is only weeks away. Have you registered yet? Sponsored by UTOPIA Fiber, the June 7 virtual gathering will feature engaged debates on the hottest topics in broadband: the upcoming release of BEAD funds, the challenges with mapping, and looming implications for both urban and rural communities.

Quincy, MA Moves Full Speed Ahead On City Owned Open Access Fiber Plan

Quincy, Massachusetts is moving full speed ahead on a long-percolating plan to bring faster and more reliable broadband to a community long neglected by regional telecom monopolies. If successful, the resulting open access fiber network should dramatically boost competitive options in the city, driving down costs for what many view as an essential utility.

NTIA Says State Muni-Bans Won’t Delay BEAD Funding

The NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) insists that the 17 state laws that hamper nationwide community broadband deployments won’t delay a massive looming infusion of infrastructure broadband subsidies. But one industry group isn’t so sure. BroadbandNow, a website dedicated to tracking the U.S. broadband industry, issued a report claiming that state restrictions on community broadband networks could delay the delivery of more than $42.45 billion in BEAD (Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment) grants made possible by the recently-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

Colorado Repeal Of Community Broadband Ban A Turning Point Decades In The Making

Colorado state leaders have voted to eliminate long-criticized state barriers to municipal broadband networks. Community broadband advocates hope it will be a beacon for other states eager to bring more reliable and affordable high-speed Internet service to a market long dominated by monopoly providers. The new Colorado law, made after years of citizen backlash to the counterproductive restrictions, is the latest inflection point in a retreat away from monopoly-backed state laws stifling creative efforts to bridge the digital divide.

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates Challenges ‘Model Minority’ Myth to Close Digital Access Gaps

OCA-Asian Pacific American Advocates (OCA) seeks to document the digital access needs of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs). In doing so, they have bumped up against the 'model minority' myth, which obscures the digital access gaps in many AANHPI communities and has likely contributed to the dearth of research investigating AANHPI connectivity needs.

FCC nominee Gigi Sohn Named Executive Director of the American Association of Public Broadband

Two months after President Biden’s belated and long-stalled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) nominee withdrew her nomination after a year-long attack campaign against her, Gigi Sohn is announced at the Broadband Communities Summit in Houston, Texas as the first Executive Director of the American Association of Public Broadband. Sohn spoke during a summit luncheon and offered reflections on her grueling FCC nomination process and the state of broadband in the U.S. more

Cleveland, Tennessee’s City-Owned Utility Getting Into Broadband Business

The Cleveland, Tennessee city council has approved the creation of the Cleveland Utilities Authority, the first step in allowing the city-owned utility to get into the broadband business. Of the initial $72 million investment, $64 million will be funded by public-issued debt, and go towards construction of the network, which Cleveland Utilities states should begin in March of 2024 and be completed in “roughly two to three years” barring complications.

Maryland Awards $92 Million In Grants For 35 Projects

Maryland officials have announced that the state is doling out $92 million in new broadband grants to expand access to affordable broadband. The latest round of funding was made possible via the Connect Maryland Network Infrastructure Grant Program, and will help expand broadband access to 14,500 unserved locations statewide.

New Report: Universal Broadband Infrastructure Would Return $43 million Annually to Counties Across Rural Black Belt

In partnership with the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative (SRBWI), today ILSR is releasing a new report that examines the emerging link between high-speed Internet infrastructure, access to healthcare, and the economic implications involved. The report – “Increased Wellness and Economic Return of Universal Broadband Infrastructure: A Telehealth Case Study of Ten Southern Rural Counties” – has particular relevance for Black women living in rural broadband deserts as it details how universal, affordable, broadband infrastructure would return $43 million per year using telehealth across 10 counties in the Black Belt of Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.

Capital Construction of a Municipal Broadband Utility 101

Brieana Reed-Harmel, manager of the municipal-owned Pulse fiber network in Loveland, Colorado, shares her experience leading the city through the assessment and feasibility study that led to building a sucessful municipal broadband network. Reed-Harmel covers planning considerations, managing experts, scaling and quality assurance, as well as nurturing the human elements in a technical project