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Paul Goodman on Advocacy, Accessibility, and Broadband Equity with C4AT - Building for Digital Equity Podcast Episode 20

Building for Digital Equity logo

In this episode of the Building for Digital Equity Podcast, Chris engages in a compelling discussion with Paul Goodman from the Center for Accessible Technology (C4AT). Paul, a seasoned advocate with over 12 years of experience, shares his journey from law school to championing broadband availability, affordability, and accessibility for people with disabilities. The conversation delves into the crucial work of C4AT, highlighting their policy advocacy, assistive technology solutions, and efforts to ensure web accessibility.

Paul explains the intricacies of working with the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, advocating for broadband access and the challenges of making websites and technologies accessible for all. He shares insights into the LA Digital Equity Coalition and the exciting developments in California's broadband deployment, including funding for state-owned middle-mile networks.

The episode also touches on the complexities of navigating regulatory processes and the importance of community input in driving effective change. Paul and Christopher concludes by discussing the need for strategic investments in fiber infrastructure over fixed wireless solutions to ensure long-term connectivity.

***Disclaimer: This interview was conducted over a year ago***

This show is 16 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.

Net Neutrality Is Really A Debate Over Monopoly Power

With a 3-2 vote along partisan lines, the FCC has restored both net neutrality–and its Title II authority over Internet access providers. It’s just the latest chapter in a multi-decade quest to try and prevent national telecom monopolies from abusing their market power to undermine competitors while nickel and diming American consumers.

“Consumers have made clear to us they do not want their broadband provider cutting sweetheart deals, with fast lanes for some services and slow lanes for others,” FCC boss Jessica Rosenwocel said in a statement.

“They do not want their providers engaging in blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization. And if they have problems they expect the Nation’s expert authority on communications to be able to respond,” Rosenwocel added.

Smaller ISPs and municipalities worry that the new rules saddle them with burdensome regulations as a punishment for the sins of much larger companies. But the FCC, state leaders, and consumer groups insist the rules should be a net benefit all the same.

The final rules require that ISPs be transparent about any restrictions on consumer broadband lines. They also prohibit ISPs from extorting content and service companies looking to maintain high-quality performance on telecom networks, and prohibit telecoms from undermining online competition by creating pay-to-play “fast lanes.”

Hoopa Valley PUD General Manager Honored As Connectivity Champion

With Linnea Jackson at the helm of the Hoopa Valley Tribe Public Utilities District (HVPUD), Hoopa has become a bellwether of a new wave of Tribally-owned and managed broadband networks.

Over four short years, the Tribe has stewarded a wireless license from the FCC, launched a sovereign wireless network for its people, and undertaken massive fiber infrastructure builds funded by a multi-million dollar grant from the federal government and a historic partnership with the state of California.

Linnea’s work has transformed a story of a digital divide fueled by the disinvestment of a massive monopoly telephone company into one of connectivity through Tribal sovereignty, community power, and local self-reliance.

In recognition of her contributions in the field of Tribal broadband, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) named Jackson the recipient of the Connectivity Champion award at our 50th Anniversary celebration last week, alongside inspiring leaders in community composting, energy democracy, independent business, and Internet access.

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Hoopa Valley PUD General Manager Linnea Jackson

“It’s been an absolute honor,” Jackson said as she accepted the award, “to help lead these infrastructure projects, which will build a legacy and help the next generation, not only with education, but telemedicine, communications… basic ways of life that are reliant on access to high speed Internet that is reliable and robust.”

RantanenTown Ranch Turns Into Broadband Playground For Tribal Broadband Bootcamp 11

TBB11 marked an exciting development for the Tribal Broadband Bootcamps.

For this latest and newest iteration, TBB co-founder Matt Rantanen graciously permitted TBB to make a permanent fiber ring installation on his property, RantanenTown Ranch, last month. While TBB will continue to host bootcamps in partnership with Tribes in different regions of North America, the launch of this permanent broadband practice arena allows TBB to chart a new path towards even more in-depth and hands-on training.

Here is a photo-filled look at the many days of prep and three days of immersive programming that went into making it happen.

“Just the fact that we saw the fiber model in its open aspect with all the drama and issues right in front of us; my friends is the best learning methodology!” – TBB 11 Attendee

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TBB 11 Photo Essay Matt Pull

Ready or Not

Of course, building an entire, operating fiber network across RantanenTown Ranch was a massive undertaking that involved a lot of prep work.

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TBB 11 Photo Essay Spencer Matt Tractor

 

Building for Digital Equity: Life After ACP Reprise

If you missed our most recent Building for Digital Equity Livestream – Life After ACP – the virtual event can still be seen in its entirety (below).

The entire event focused on the imminent end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and featured a lineup of speakers who shared on-the-ground perspectives and approaches being adopted at the community level to deal with the broadband affordability crisis in the absence of the popular federal program that has served 23 million Americans since its inception two years ago.

As a bonus, we are sharing links to the speakers slide decks below.

The first of two lightning round speakers, Margaret Käufer – President of The STEM Alliance – gave an overview on the short and long-term work her organization is doing in upstate New York in the face of ACP’s demise. You can find her slide deck here.

The second lightning round presenter Jason Inofuentes – Program Manager for the Broadband Accessibility and Affordability Office in Albemarle County, VA – unveiled an ACP supplement program his office is pursuing and how they see things moving forward. Those slides are here.

The first of the main presenters – Monica Gonzales, Digital Equity Supervisor for Methodist Healthcare Ministries in Texas – gave an overview of what her faith-based nonprofit healthcare organization is doing to address affordable connectivity across the 74 county South Texas region served by MHM. Gonzales’ slides are here.

Life After ACP B4DE Today

Today, the first Building for Digital Equity livestream of the year will begin at 3 PM ET. The entire event will zoom in on the imminent end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) with the lineup of speakers sharing on-the-ground perspectives and approaches being adopted at the community level as they work to keep financially-strapped households connected beyond ACP.

Last minute registration are still being accepted to fill up the last few seats for the virtual gathering here.

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B4DE Life After ACP flyer

Here’s the run-of-show:

NDIA’s Amy Huffman will set the table on where things stand with the ACP wind down process before two lightning rounds take center screen.

For the first lightning round Margaret Käufer, President of The STEM Alliance, will give an overview on the short and long-term community work her organization is doing in upstate New York in the face of ACP’s demise. That will be followed by Jason Inofuentes, Program Manager for the Broadband Accessibility and Affordability Office in Albemarle County, VA, who will spotlight an ACP supplement program his office is pursuing and how they see things moving forward.

Speakers And Agenda Announced for #B4DE Livestream ‘Life After ACP’

Bringing together a nationwide cross-section of leading digital inclusion practitioners, the first Building For Digital Equity (#B4DE) livestream of the year is set to zoom in on the imminent end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Co-hosted by the ILSR's Community Broadband Networks Initiative and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), the popular (and free) virtual gathering will focus on “Life After ACP” – as the FCC continues to wind down the program with the $14.2 billion fund on track to run out of money by the end of April.

Set for March 20, 2024 from 3 to 4:15 PM ET, the lineup of speakers will share on-the-ground perspectives and approaches being adopted at the community level as they work to keep financially-strapped households connected beyond ACP.

While virtual seats for #B4DE fills up fast, registration is still open here.

Here’s the run-of-show:

NDIA’s Amy Huffman will set the table on where things stand with the ACP wind down process before two lightning rounds take center screen.

Are We Doing Digital Equity Wrong? Lessons from the FCC| Connect This! Show Episode 89

Connect This

On the most recent episode of the Connect This! Show, co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) were joined by regular guests Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) tackle the hard questions in digital equity work now that the ACP is going away. Among the discussion: FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel's recent appearance at the national Net Inclusion conference, and what we can learn from her remarks about how to move ahead productively while avoiding easy mistakes and making sure we stay committed to the course.

Email us at broadband@communitynets.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Subscribe to the show using this feed or find it on the Connect This! page, and watch on LinkedIn, on YouTube Live, on Facebook live, or below.

Remote video URL

LA Leads Way In Push To Leverage FCC’s New Digital Discrimination Rules For Local Action

In the wake of the new rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to prevent digital discrimination, digital equity advocates from California to Cleveland are leveraging the new federal rules to spur local action.

In Los Angeles, city leaders have passed an ordinance to combat what advocates say are discriminatory investment and business practices that leave historically marginalized communities without access to affordable high-quality Internet. Similar efforts to mobilize communities and local officials are underway in Oakland and Cleveland.

In November 2023, the FCC codified rules to prevent digital discrimination, outlining a complaint process whereby members of the public can offer evidence of digital discrimination being committed by Internet service providers (ISPs). Though the FCC order does not outline local policy solutions, nor does it empower localities to carry out enforcement of the federal rules, it has the potential to open up conversations between local advocates and elected officials about new ordinances, stronger enforcement of existing ones, or public investment to facilitate competition and the building of better broadband networks.

Los Angeles First City in Nation To Officially Define Digital Discrimination At Local Level

The local organizing work behind the proposed ordinance in LA dates back to 2022 when digital equity advocates began to document inequitable broadband access across the county.

Predictions for 2024 - Episode 585 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

The fading sound of holiday bells and soft stillness that comes with plunging temps can only mean one thing; it's January again, which means it's time to break out the crystal ball and have a conversation about the year to come. Joining Christopher in the recording booth are a slew of CBN staffers new and veteran to join in the collective task of putting words to feelings both foreboding and optimistic about the year to come.

Will we see the first BEAD-connected home this year? Will the Affordabel Connectivity Program get re-funded? How will the maps look in 11 more months, with slews of challenge data? How many new municipal ftth networks will we see founded in 2024? State preemption laws rolled back, or re-introduced? Tune in for answers to all these and more.

This show is 48 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.