digital equity

Content tagged with "digital equity"

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Life After ACP Will Be Focus of Next Building for Digital Equity Livestream

As the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) nears its end, our first Building For Digital Equity livestream of 2024 will focus on what digital inclusion practitioners across the nation are doing to ensure that as many ACP recipients as possible do not lose access to high-speed Internet.

The free virtual gathering – #B4DE Life After ACP – will be held on March 20, 2024 from 3 to 4:15 PM ET.

Attendees are encouraged to register now here.  

As the FCC is in the midst of winding down the ACP, which will run out of funds by April, it’s anybody’s guess just how many of the nearly 23 million Americans enrolled in the program will be forced to discontinue their Internet service because they can no longer afford it. But, if the 1,300 digital equity advocates who descended on Net Inclusion 2024 in Philadelphia two weeks ago is any indication, one thing is certain: the national effort to tackle the broadband affordability crisis will continue – even in the absence of ACP.

Sponsored once again by UTOPIA Fiber and co-hosted by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative, the line-up of frontline digital inclusion practitioners will share their outlook and strategies and help provide attendees with a road map in dealing with the imminent demise of the program.

The livestream will be available (and later archived) on Facebook, YouTube, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn, with live viewer questions answered by the invited speakers and presenters. We recommend viewing it on YouTube where the live chat will be most engaging. Other questions can be submitted using the #B4DE hashtag on X.

People Over Profit: DigitalC's Mission to Connect Communities in Cleveland- Episode 589 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined again by Joshua Edmonds, the Chief Executive Officer of DigitalC, a community-based nonprofit dedicated to bridging the digital divide in Cleveland, Ohio. DigitalC achieves this by offering fast and affordable internet access through a fixed wireless network, priced at $18 per month, to underserved neighborhoods. Additionally, they provide digital equity programs such as digital literacy training and device deployment.

Christopher and Joshua discuss recent updates, including DigitalC's successful bid for a $20 million contract from the city of Cleveland to establish a citywide infrastructure. Joshua details the plan to connect over 23,000 households within 18 months, expanding their network with commercial fiber infrastructure to link homes and businesses.

While DigitalC continues generating revenue to support digital equity programs, the conversation concludes with Chris and Joshua emphasizing the importance of prioritizing people over profit. They emphasize the need to serve the unserved and underserved populations and comprehensively address the digital divide.

This show is 38 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.

Planning is Good, but Pivoting is Better in Fort Collins, Colorado - Episode 588 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Chad Crager, Broadband Executive Director at City of Fort Collins, to talk about the rapidly maturing city-owned network they call Connexion. From a feasibility study in 2018 to the lion's share of construction completed today, Connexion's story illustrates the value of being nimble when expectations meet reality. When planned use of existing conduit was thwarted by frozen and root-blocked pathways, the city bored new routes. When that led to increased construction costs, the city adjusted its target take rate upwards and hired dedicated, community-minded staff eager to be responsive to subscribers and build a sense of goodwill. And when developers argued they only needed a single fiber to run wireless for new apartment complexes, the city convinced them to plan for more growth in the future.

Along the way, the municipal network has committed to doing its part in the fight for digital equity. This includes the establishment of a fund with 6 percent of network revenues going to support low-cost plans and literacy efforts, to partnering with Larimer County on extending the network outside city limits, and more.

This show is 38 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.

Save The Date: #B4DE Life After ACP

With the nation's premier digital inclusion conference in full swing right now in Philadelphia – and with yet another banner year in broadband in the making – the first Building For Digital Equity (B4DE) livestream event of the year is now set for March 20.

As you read this, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), organizers of Net Inclusion 2024, are engaging with hundreds of digital inclusion practitioners, advocates, academics, Internet service providers, and policymakers from across the nation at the conference. Joining them there in the City of Brotherly Love is a full complement of the Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) Community Broadband Networks team. The energy and ideas from the event will inform the upcoming B4DE that will feature the theme: Life After ACP.

B4DE March 2024 save the date flyer

We encourage you to save the date and register here for the popular (and free) virtual gathering to be held March 20, 2024 from 3 to 4:15 PM ET.

Coming on the heels of our last B4DE event in December, digital inclusion advocates are strategizing around how to tackle the broadband affordability challenge as the FCC winds down the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

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 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.

Bridging Bytes: Empowering Communities Through Local Broadband Growth - Episode 586 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

In this latest episode of the podcast, Christopher is joined once again by Sean Gonsalves to delve into the expanding landscape of municipal broadband networks in the U.S. They emphasize the noteworthy surge in municipal networks, citing the establishment of 47 new networks since 2021, which has brought the total to over 400!

This discussion explores the various models and approaches taken by these networks while touching on the challenges faced by these municipal networks, such as opposition from large ISPs and the importance of community support and engagement.

Additionally, Chris and Sean emphasize the significance of data from schools and organizations in comprehending the current state of broadband access and advancing digital equity.

This show is 38 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.

FCC and Broadband Providers Prepare for ACP Wind Down

As digital inclusion practitioners and broadband-for-all advocates continue to push Congress to save the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), 22.5 million Americans now enrolled in the program are weeks away from being officially notified of its pending termination as ACP funds are on track to be depleted by the end of April.

The looming demise of the ACP – which provides income-eligible households with a $30 monthly voucher to pay for pricey Internet service bills ($75/month for Tribal citizens living on reservations) – comes at a crucial moment in the rollout of the “Internet For All” initiative. All 56 States and U.S. territories are poised to receive nearly $45 billion in broadband expansion funds from the bipartisan infrastructure law over the next year.

Separate from the BEAD program and Digital Equity Act funding, the bipartisan infrastructure law also established the ACP with a $14.2 billion allocation. At current enrollment rates, the program disburses about $650 million per month to Internet service providers (ISPs).

New Resource: Fact Sheet on Broadband Basics from Center for Digital Equity

As our team continues to work with state and local community organizations across the country to help build digital skills and offer broadband educational resources, we came across this handy Broadband Basics Fact Sheet we wanted to share from the Queens at Queens University of Charlotte Center for Digital Equity (CDE).

In simple, accessible language, the two-page fact sheet from CDE explains commonly used words related to Internet access that are often not well-defined or understood outside of the tech industry.

CDE Factsheet screenshot one page

The fact sheet serves as a useful reminder that Internet access terminology itself can be a barrier to greater adoption, which is why we like CDE’s work here in answering the following questions:

  • What is broadband?
  • What is WiFi?
  • What is mobile broadband?
  • What is the difference between 3G, 4G, 5G, AND LTE?
  • What is 10G?
  • What is a fiber optic network?
  • What is the difference between a modem and router?

The fact sheet can be found by clicking link below:

Building for Digital Equity End of Year Encore

Capping off a banner year in broadband, ILSR and NDIA’s final Building for Digital Equity livestream of 2023 this week had its largest audience to date since the online quarterly series started in 2022.

Digital Equity Unwrapped: End of Year Reflections/The New Year Ahead, sponsored by UTOPIA Fiber, featured timely topics and practical insights from an array of frontline digital inclusion practitioners, teeing up Net Inclusion 2024 – the biggest in-person gathering of digital equity advocates in the nation.

That event will be hosted by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) in Philadelphia, February 13-15, 2024.

If you missed the #B4DE 2023 finale or would like to see it again, you can watch it in its entirety below.

It includes lightning round presentations from the Administrator for Chicanos Por La Causa (CPLC) Nubia Estrada and OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates Policy & Organizing Manager Eric Kim; a preview of this year’s Trailblazer Awards with a special guest appearance by Rebecca Kauma, LA County’s Director of Digital Equity; and an update on the work being done by Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Digital Navigator Ashley Smith.

Putting a bow on the holiday season event was keynote speaker Patrick Messac, Director of the Bay Area-based digital equity nonprofit #OaklandUndivided. Messac connected the dots on the importance of equitable infrastructure investments, mapping, and ways local communities might leverage the FCC’s new rules to address digital discrimination.