digital divide

Content tagged with "digital divide"

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The Success of Urbana-Champaign's Broadband Revolution - Episode 601 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

In this episode of the podcast, Chris sits down with Paul Hixson and Mike Smeltzer to discuss the transformative UC2B (Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband) project. Paul Hixson, co-chair of UC2B and former CIO of the University of Illinois, and Mike Smeltzer, often referred to as the "father of UC2B," share their insights and experiences from the inception of the initiative to its current status.

The conversation delves into the origins of UC2B, which received initial funding through an NTIA grant as part of the 2009 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The project aimed to build a robust fiber optic infrastructure to serve the Champaign-Urbana area, including underserved neighborhoods and a wide array of anchor institutions like schools, libraries, senior centers, and even a Zen meditation center.

They discuss the significant impact UC2B has had on local broadband competition, driving other providers to improve their services and infrastructure. Paul and Mike reflect on the challenges and successes over the past decade, highlighting the public-private partnership that has been crucial to the project’s sustainability and growth. As of today, UC2B is nearing the completion of its goal to provide high-speed fiber access to every home and business in Champaign-Urbana, demonstrating a model for community-driven broadband initiatives nationwide.

Join us to learn about the history, challenges, and triumphs of UC2B, and get inspired by the potential of community broadband projects to bridge the digital divide and foster economic growth.

This show is 31 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using 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 or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

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

Pierrette Dagg on Research, Engagement, and Digital Inclusion - Building for Digital Equity Podcast Episode 17

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Our Building for Digital Equity podcast series is back.

The first episode of 2024 features an insightful conversation with Pierrette Renée Dagg, Director of Research for the MERIT Network in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Pierrette discusses the importance of using research to inform community engagement and digital equity strategies, as well as the use of community-facing research methods like surveys and qualitative/quantitative analysis. She also highlights the importance of considering broader systemic issues that should be taken into account when forming digital equity strategies.

This show is 10 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 Joseph McDade for the music. The song is On the Verge and is used per his Free-Use terms.

Unlocking Community-Driven Broadband Initiatives with Brian Snider - Episode 593 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

In this podcast episode, Christopher engages in a discussion with Brian Snider, the founder of Lit Communities. They explore Brian's extensive background in the broadband industry and delve into the importance of community-driven broadband initiatives in today's landscape.

Chris and Brian emphasize the need for innovative business models to effectively address the digital divide, ensuring equitable access to high-quality broadband services for all communities. Additionally, they shed light on the complexities of navigating private equity involvement, highlighting the importance of community empowerment in managing broadband infrastructure.

The episode concludes with Brian underscoring the pivotal role of education and workforce development in shaping the future of the broadband industry. He also emphasizes the necessity for communities to take control of their broadband destinies.

This show is 40 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.

Connecting the Last Twenty Percent in Newark - Episode 587 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

Newark, New Jersey (pop. 307k) has been operating a dark fiber network for more than a decade. In recent years, the city has expanded its efforts to leverage those assets in an incremental effort to improve connectivity and competition for local business and residents, while also building out a robust Wi-Fi network. The goal: build a portfolio of approaches to connect the last twenty percent of the city that doesn't have access today. 

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Aaron Meyerson, Chief Innovation Economy Officer and Director of Broadband, and Anthony Avent, Technical Operations for City of Newark, to talk about the project. From reinvigorating the city's infrastructure with a new public-private partnership, to connecting almost a hundred large business locations, to enabling innovative smart-city applications to fight heat and pollution, to supporting more than 7,200 active Wi-Fi users every day, Newark isn't just sitting around waiting for someone to help solve local challenges. They're stepping up to the plate and tackling them themselves.

This show is 28 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.

More than Just a Coupon: The ACP Could Promote Infrastructure Investment in Low-Income and Rural Communities

As digital equity advocates push Congress to replenish the rapidly diminishing funds that support the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a recently published report should help bolster the case that the program – which subsidizes the cost of monthly Internet service for income-eligible households – won’t just help more Americans get broadband access, it can also incent Internet service providers (ISPs) to make infrastructure investments in unserved and underserved areas.

The report, titled "Closing the Digital Divide Benefits Everyone, Not Just the Disconnected" – published by Common Sense and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) – emphasizes the benefits of universal Internet access across education, health care, government services, and employment. It makes the case that universal connectivity would allow institutions to “integrate Internet-based technologies into their services, improving them for the benefit of all.”

Most notably, the report advocates for increased ACP enrollment, arguing that in addition to providing low-income households some short-term relief from pricey Internet bills, the program can provide an economic incentive for ISPs to invest in unserved and underserved communities by increasing the return on investment (ROI) in areas that have previously been considered unprofitable.

Brandon Forestor Puts Local in Local Internet Organizing - Building for Digital Equity Podcast Episode 13

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Brandon Forester is the National Organizer for Internet Rights at Media Justice. We talk about organizing for digital equity and more specifically Brandon's vision for communities having agency over how technology shows up in their neighborhoods and digital communities. We discuss how Media Justice came to prioritize prison phone justice, what organizing is and how local solutions may differ in different communities, and the need to avoid purity politics in doing this work. 

This show is 20 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 Joseph McDade for the music. The song is On the Verge and is used per his Free-Use terms.

Laura Breeden on the Start of NDIA and Some Digital Equity History - Building for Digital Equity Podcast Episode 12

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Laura Breeden, board member of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, joins us to talk about the beginning of NDIA - which happened in a bar among friends, along with most other good ideas. We also talk about what progress has been made on digital inclusion and reflect on some of the deeper history of the Internet and digital inclusion, going back to the early 1990's. 

This show is 17 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 Joseph McDade for the music. The song is On the Verge and is used per his Free-Use terms.

Not All Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollees Are Using the Benefit: A Look into 30 Major Metro Areas

Since the launch of the Affordable Connectivity Program last January, millions of households have benefitted from the $30/month connection subsidy to help pay for their broadband bills. The program serves as a necessary bridge in a failed marketplace, dominated nationally by a small number of regional monopolies driven by shareholders to charge the highest price possible

Along the way, ILSR and a host of other research and advocacy organizations have been digging into the American Connectivity Program (ACP) data in order to better understand how the program has operated over the last year, and how we can work collectively to improve education and outreach efforts and make sure as many households as possible will benefit. From this work we created an ACP Dashboard to collect and visualize useful data to support the critical work of digital navigators, nonprofits, and local governments.

Explore the Affordable Connectivity Program here, and read more about why we created it

Reckognizing the Gap

In addition to tracking how much of the $15.5 billion fund ($1.3 billion was carried over from the Emergency Broadband Benefit and $14.2 billion was allocated for the ACP] is left and predicting when it’ll run out (April 2026 at current rates), keeping an eye on state- and zip-code level use and enrollment, and following what types of connections households are using the benefit to pay for, an important part of this work has been tracking data across major metropolitan areas across the country.  

As we continue to analyze the data and refine our tools to support work at the local level, we have found that the percentage of households in major metro areas (and likely elsewhere) that are actually using the program is smaller than the percentage of households enrolled in the program. 

A Foundation for the Future of Digital Equity Work - Episode 520 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Pamela Rosales (Training and Community Engagement Manager, National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Davida Delmar (Digital Inclusion Manager, Amerind). Pamela and Davida talk about their digital inclusion work and how it differs across Tribal communities as compared to rural and urban areas. They also catch Christopher up on what's going on in cities and nationwide in the digital equity space, from how to develop outreach channels during an ongoing pandemic, 2022's Digital Inclusion Week, NDIA's ongoing Digital Navigator Program that is beginning to ramp up, what we can expect to see down the road in terms of needs and resources, and more.

This show is 31 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using 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 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.

New Resource: Tracking the Affordable Connectivity Program

On January 1st, 2022, the Federal Communications Commission launched the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) with $14.2 billion in funding designed to help American households pay for the monthly cost of their Internet subscription. In May, we published a story about the fate of the program, based on a prediction model we built that was intended to visualize how long we might expect the $14.2 billion fund to last before needing new Congressional appropriations to sustain it. Back then, the data showed that the fund would run out some time in 2024.

We’re back today not only with a new and improved model (based both on more granular geographic data and fed by an additional 16 weeks of enrollment data), but a new dashboard that pulls together a host of information from the Universal Service Administrative Company on where and how the Affordable Connectivity Program money is being spent. 

A New Resource for Broadband Advocates, Local Policy Makers, and Elected Officials

Located at ACPdashboard.com, this new resource from ILSR includes information local broadband advocates, nonprofits, state legislators, and policy makers need to know about where enrollment efforts and expended funds stand today. It includes a breakdown by state for how enrollment numbers stand (as well as an estimate for the amount spent in each state so far), the current national eligible enrollment rate, information for 30 metropolitan areas, how much is being spent on service support versus devices, how many households are using the ACP for mobile versus wireline service, and the total left in the ACP fund. Our new prediction model shows that a little more than $410 million is leaving the bank account every month.