Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Content tagged with "san antonio"
NDIA Hosts Largest Ever Net Inclusion Gathering
Digital equity advocates rode into San Antonio, Texas for Net Inclusion 2023 to kick-off the largest gathering of the annual conference to date.
There were nearly 1,000 in attendance at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio for the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) marquee gathering. Those on the front lines of bridging the digital divide across the nation came to the three-day conference (Feb 28 to March 2) to network, share lessons, best-practices, and learn from experts as the largest ever federal investment in expanding broadband access is heading to state broadband offices this summer.
Mayor Addresses Attendees, Acknowledges Open Secret
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg welcomed attendees, noting how his city was a fitting venue for the event.
“It’s no secret San Antonio is one of the most socio-economically segregated cities in the United States,” he said. “And that’s why we have zeroed-in on equity – in our budget, in who gets invited to the table.”
Digital Inclusion Practitioners Head to San Antonio for Net Inclusion 2023
Joining nearly a thousand digital inclusion practitioners, policymakers, advocates, and researchers from across the nation, ILSR’s entire Community Broadband Networks (CBN) team will be in San Antonio, Texas at the end of this month for Net Inclusion 2023.
In Our View: Don't Leave Out The Cities
The State of Texas is notorious for pitting communities against one another. This time around, it's the little town versus the big city in the funding arena to improve Internet access.
Last week, Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar kicked off his Texas Broadband Listening Tour 2022, scheduled to take place at 12 different locations statewide. The goal of his stakeholder listening tour is to collect feedback for Texas' newly created broadband development office and how the state should spend a once-in-a-generation windfall of federal resources to close the digital divide. Great news for a state the size of Texas with 29 million residents, right? It depends on where you live. The majority of the communities hosting a public forum are smaller communities. Remember the Alamo? Not Heger's office. Dallas and Austin made the list of stops, but San Antonio and Houston, with some of the state's highest populations, didn't make the cut for the tour.
Texas has both unserved and underserved communities living on the wrong side of the digital divide. From 8-80 years old, residents and businesses throughout rural, suburban, and urban communities are all harmed by the lack of community broadband infrastructure, unaffordable connectivity services, and digital discrimination.
We applaud the approach of public officials doing listening tours. However, we are deeply concerned that many states - red and blue - will ignore the needs of urban residents while focusing solely on solutions for rural areas. We laid this out more broadly in a policy brief we published last year. We can ensure everyone has high-quality Internet access, but we need to make sure that is the explicit goal.
The Fight for Digital Inclusion and Equity in San Antonio - Episode 479 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
On this episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast, host Christopher Mitchell is joined by DeAnne Cuellar, the State Program Director for Older Adult Technology Services (OATS). They explore the history of the digital divide in San Antonio and Cuellar's role in making the city one of the nation’s leaders in digital inclusion efforts.
The two also discuss the recent announcement of a nonprofit that emerged out of a collaboration with public, private, and community stakeholders, SA Digital Connects, whose mission is to connect every household in Bexar County where San Antonio is located. SA Digital Connect is the culmination of the work of several key community broadband advocates in San Antonio who have been devoted to digital inclusion efforts in the region for years. Mitchell and Cuellar break down the history and what's on the horizon.
This show is 29 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.
A Signal Failure: Education, Broadband, and Our Children’s Future
In a new essay published by the Nonprofit Quarterly, Christopher tackles the connectivity gap in the context of the ongoing pandemic and how it could be solved by a variety of proven nonprofit models that are already connecting tens of thousands of Americans efficiently to fast, affordable networks.
See an excerpt below, but check out the whole piece over at the Nonprofit Quarterly:
One of the longest-lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may be the lost education opportunities for millions of children. While the vast majority of children studying remotely are adversely affected, several million students have no home broadband Internet access at all. As a result, they have been extraordinarily disadvantaged. For too many, public schooling has effectively ended.
[S]omewhere between 15 and 41 million Americans cannot buy a reasonable broadband connection today because their home is not served by an ISP. Most, but not all, of these homes are in rural America, and we typically talk about this problem as being one of “access.” Tens of millions more Americans live in a location that’s served by an ISP, but they cannot afford the fees or face other barriers such as lacking a device or digital literacy. This problem is typically referred to as a lack of digital inclusion, or the digital divide, although these terms are often tossed around loosely.
There is no single policy to solve the broadband problems faced by the nation. In most cases, better networks and lower prices would really help, but achieving that would require different strategies in rural or urban areas. Challenges around literacy and online safety/security will be more difficult.
The answer then is the answer now: nonprofit business models. In a nation as large and varied as the United States, a single business model rarely meets everyone’s needs. Universal electricity required some 4,000 municipal electric departments and nearly 1,000 rural electric cooperatives. And it worked. Not because municipal networks and cooperatives are magical, but because they have the right incentives.
One Touch Make Ready: Model Language In Three Cities And Counting...
One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) policies are recognized as a way to cut down on the expense and the time it takes to deploy fiber optic networks. At least three sizable urban communities have adopted OTMR practices to streamline fiber optic construction and ensure consistent standards. For other communities looking at ways to encourage brisk fiber optic investment, it pays to study the language of OTMR resolutions and policies.
OTMR allows a pre-approved contractor to move cables belonging to more than one entity on one visit to the pole to make room for the new fiber optic cable. This is a departure from the old method, in which each entity takes turns visiting the pole in question to move only their wires. The old approach is time consuming because each entity must take turns in the order in which their wires are installed on the poles. If one entity causes a delay, every other entity that needs to work after them must also wait. What follows is a snowball effect and an entire project can fall far behind schedule.
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio’s municipal utility, CPS Energy, adopted a broad set of pole attachment standards that include specific requirements for OTMR, including what needs to happen before, during, and after the process.
The standards lay out administrative procedures, technical provisions, and specific provisions for both wired and wireless attachments. It incorporates recommendations from the FCC on how best to expand broadband while also weaving in safety standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In the introduction, CPS Energy writes:
From a holistic perspective, the Standards seek to balance the competing needs and interests of multiple communications providers to access and utilize CPS Energy Poles, while at the same time recognizing that the core purpose and function of these Poles is for CPS Energy’s safe and reliable distribution and delivery of electric services to CPS Energy customers. Hence, any use of CPS Energy’s Poles must at all times ensure the continued operational integrity, safety and reliability of CPS Energy’s Facilities, electric services, personnel and the general public.
Christopher Mitchell on KSTX, Texas Public Radio
Chris Mitchell spoke on TPR’s “The Source” about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s support of Title II reclassification and future prospects for networks like The San Antonio Area Broadband Network (SAABN).
Guests discussed how TV and Cable Lobbyists were able to create barriers to networks, whether the FCC has the power to preempt rules that limit competition, and why telecom giants like Comcast should not be able to make certain deals or degrade Internet speeds based on whether content providers pay extra money.
San Antonio was one of the founding members of Next Century Cities and has been working to link major institutions and the city’s medical center through CPS Energy’s existing fiber.
Listen to the interview: