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SAVE THE DATE: Building for Digital Equity
As communities across the country are implementing digital equity plans and looking to expand access to high-speed Internet connectivity, the second Building for Digital Equity event (#B4DE) of the year comes weeks ahead of when states will receive their BEAD funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Save the date and join us June 7 at 3 pm ET for #B4DE! As with previous B4DE events, this will be another virtual gathering that will offer up strategies to help simplify the complexities (and opportunities) of broadband connectivity. This event, sponsored again by UTOPIA Fiber, will focus on ways communities can foster meaningful action and advocacy.
Fresh off their most successful Net Inclusion gathering ever, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) will join ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks (CBN) team for the event as NDIA’s Pamela Rosales will co-host the livestream along with CBN Director Christopher Mitchell.
The 75-minute free event promises to be informative and include a series of fun interactive games. It will also debut a point-counterpoint component that will focus on the pending release of BEAD dollars for both rural and urban areas and the challenges around mapping as states try to determine how to get the biggest bang for the buck.
Register now for the Building for Building for Digital Equity Event.
See our previous B4DE livestreams below:
Building for Digital Equity Livestream Just Days Away: Register Now
It’s not too late to register for our first Building for Digital Equity (#B4DE) livestream event of the year. This Thursday, Feb. 16, from 2-3 pm CST/3-4 pm ET, ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative will kick off our Building for Digital Equity series.
The focus will be on two of the hottest topics in broadband right now: mapping and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).
Welcome to the New CommunityNets.org
Fourteen years ago, the original MuniNetworks.org went live. With support from the Ford Foundation, it came into being to tell the stories of all of the communities around the country that were taking back their telecommunications future from the monopoly providers. I hoped it would be two things: a clearinghouse of news and local-government success stories, and a lasting, living archive of the movement to return the ideology of self-reliance to Internet infrastructure. At the time, there were a few dozen municipal networks operating around the country.
Since then, we've written almost 4,000 stories, recorded more than 500 episodes of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, and released dozens of reports, case studies, and fact sheets about local governments taking action. We've produced informational shorts and documentaries, explainer videos, and more. CommunityNets.org gets visited by thousands of people every day, and records more than a quarter of a million page views each month.
To me, this is a reflection of the strong and growing movement to take back control from the cable and telephone monopolies who charge too much and invest too little in our cities, our suburbs, and our rural areas. Today, hundreds and hundreds of communities are served by publicly and locally owned and operated networks, covering millions of people. More than a third of all electric cooperatives have recognized the need for rural Internet access or responded to demands by their membership, and are adding broadband to their portfolios. Most telephone cooperatives are doing the same. In fact, the cooperative model is so successful that rural North and South Dakota - with some of the least densely populated parts of the country - are better served by fiber optic infrastructure than many major cities. Cooperatives across the Dakotas cover more ground than the entirety of AT&T's fiber service today.
Save the Date: ILSR’s Building for Digital Equity Returns
Save the date! ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks team is back for a second season of our Building for Digital Equity series.
You can register now here.
The free online live stream will be held on Feb. 16 from 2-3 pm CST/3-4 pm ET.
Christopher Mitchell's Ask Me Anything - Episode 533 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher Mitchell join's Drew Clark on Broadband.Money's Ask Me Anything series, and in true fashion, he never ducks the hard questions. With audience questions, Drew and Christopher cover wide ground, including why the national broadband marketplace needs publicly owned infrastructure options, the benefits of open access models, how cities can prepare for BEAD and other federal funding, and other steps communities can take to make sure that when they do work with third-party ISPs that they maintain some measure of control (like performance-based contracts).
This show is 53 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.
Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index. 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.
Annual Digital Infrastructure Investment Event in Washington DC
Joined by an array of leading broadband experts, infrastructure investment fund managers, institutional investors, private equity, and venture capitalists will gather in the nation’s capital next week for a day-long in-person conference to discuss and explore the digital infrastructure and investment asset profile required to support a 21st century information economy.
The Annual Digital Infrastructure Investment conference, which brings the broadband infrastructure and financial services communities together, will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at Clyde’s of Gallery Place in Washington, D.C. And though spots are filling up fast, there is still time to register to attend here.
The conference program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 3:30 p.m. and will feature four panels. The first panel – What’s the State of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)? – will be led by moderator Gabriella Novello, Assistant Editor of Communications Daily, and Glen Howie, Director, Arkansas State Broadband Office. The panel will explore how state broadband offices are feeling about the pace of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in moving the BEAN program forward, what states are doing to prepare for it, how big of an impact the infrastructure bill will have on the broadband industry.
The second panel – Broadband Mapping: Are We on the Right Track or the Wrong Track? – will include Bryan Darr, Executive Vice President of Smart Communities at Ookla and Jim Stegeman, President of CostQuest Associates. That panel will get into the nitty gritty of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) quest to publish more accurate broadband maps.
Christopher Mitchell in Ask Me Anything Seat
Last week, our own Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative, was the featured guest on the Broadband.Money “Ask Me Anything” series.
The one-hour live program, which invites leading minds in the broadband industry to talk candidly about their knowledge and perspective on broadband-related matters, was moderated by Drew Clark, editor and publisher of the online news outlet Broadband Breakfast.
Evolution of Community Broadband Networks Initiative
The discussion began with Christopher sharing why he joined ILSR over 15 years ago and how the Community Broadband Networks Initiative has evolved over the years.
The core mission of the initiative, he said, “has to do with research and telling stories; seeing what is working for communities … to solve these problems around making sure everyone has high quality Internet access, and they can use it. Every few years, I feel like we change our focus a little bit just based on what is needed. And the way that we do that is, we are constantly talking with people that are out doing the hard work,” Christopher explained.
And while the focus of the CBN team has been on research and publishing stories about the birth and development of publicly-owned, locally-controlled broadband networks across the nation, Christopher noted that ILSR “is not pro municipal network, necessarily.”
Ask Christopher Mitchell Anything About Community Broadband at Broadband.Money's Next AMA
On Friday, September 23rd from 1:30-2:30pm CT, join Broadband.Money's latest Ask Me Anything event and pepper ILSR's Christopher Mitchell with your questions. Register here.
He's completely at your disposal for 60 minutes, so bring your questions about publicly owned networks, policy, infrastructure programs, our new ACP Dashboard, recent municipal victories in Holland and monopoly-funded opposition campaigns in Maine, technology deployments, building grassroots support, navigating the current landscape, and whether he thinks the FCC will update its definition of basic broadband before the year 2030. Broadband Breakfast's Drew Clark will host.
The event is being hosted by Broadband.Money, which has been positioning itself as a grant resource for the flood of federal funds coming down the pipeline. Past AMA guests include familiar faces, including Lori Adams, John Windhausen, and Joe Valandra. Jonathan Chambers, Partner at Conexon and recently on the Broadband Bits podcast to talk about mapping, BEAD, and the future of broadband, will have his AMA today, September 9th, if you're interested.
Register for Christopher's AMA session at Broadband.Money here.
Event: Building for Digital Equity, Chapter 2: Claiming Broadband For Your Community
In March, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance held a livestream event on the range of challenges and tools available to communities to accomplish infrastructure, equity, and inclusion goals. We called it Building for Digital Equity: Demystifying Broadband Policy and Funding. There, we discussed the new policies and funding options available that can be applied at the state and local levels to help communities improve their Internet services.
This time we will be focusing on organizing around broadband, community impact of the federal funding, and new initiatives in progress thanks to the grants communities are taking advantage of.
Join us on Wednesday June 29th from 1:00pm-2:15pm ET as we discuss what's happening on the ground in these communities and what some of them are planning to do with the new federal broadband dollars. We are calling it Building for Digital Equity, Chapter 2: Claiming Broadband For Your Community. Register here.
This event will feature:
- Your favorite co-host: Christopher Mitchell of ILSR and Pamela Rosales of NDIA
- Videos from communities discussing what they are planning and doing with the funding
- Discussing the “how” in organizing communities
- Guest speakers discussing organizing strategies, and success stories.
- The return of the crowd favorite Broadband Trivia!
Looking forward to seeing you all there!
Register for Building for Digital Equity, Chapter 2 here to get the livestream links; on the day of the event, it will also be available on Twitter, via @netinlusion, @communitynets and @muninetworks.
During the livestream, you can also join the trivia game (link to follow).
Coming: Broadband Communities Summit 2022
As states and local governments look to leverage the flood of federal funds for the creation of ubiquitous high speed Internet access, an upcoming conference promises to be packed with practical insights from leading broadband experts on how to maximize the moment.
The Broadband Communities Summit 2022, which will once again be held in Houston, Texas at the downtown Marriott Marquis from May 2nd through May 5th, is an annual four-day event. Expected to draw over 1,200 participants, this year’s theme will be “Fiber: The Lifeblood of the New Economy.” It will be organized around a multitrack agenda, numerous workshops, and showcase an exhibit hall with dozens of vendors – all of which provides attendees with valuable networking opportunities with broadband systems operators.
The agenda will offer a variety of key features, including:
- Expanded program addressing the booming multifamily housing segment
- Exclusive closed-door sharing session in owners' forums
- Insight into evolving business models
- Special hot topic clusters grouped around central themes, including financing opportunities and partnership models
- Expert advice and strategies for using broadband to create jobs and attract and keep businesses
- Legal strategies symposium
The opening day of the summit kicks off with several workshops, including a Broadband Breakfast mini-conference that focuses on both private and public financing; a workshop on the “flavors of open access (networks)” moderated by our own Christopher Mitchell and UTOPIA Fiber’s Chief Marketing Officer Kim McKinley; and a workshop on how the public and private sectors can work together to develop successful broadband partnerships, presented by the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) President Jim Baller, CTC Energy and Technology President Joanne Hovis, Executive Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance Angela Siefer, and Fiber Broadband Association President and CEO Gary Bolton.