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With Digital Inclusion Week (DIW) less than a month away, ILSR and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) are gearing up for the next Building for Digital Equity (#B4DE) event and encouraging digital equity practitioners to save the date.
The popular virtual gathering will be held Oct. 3 from 12 noon to 1:15 pm ET and will focus on the DIW-inspired theme: “Building Connected Communities: Sustaining Momentum.” The event is free and open for registration here.
Building on the success of our previous events, we are excited to present a fun and informative agenda that will cover:
- On-going efforts to save the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and lessons-learned on boosting ACP enrollment
- Outreach to covered populations
- The power of ethical storytelling in digital inclusion work
- How telehealth can be a key driver of broadband adoption
- The nexus between infrastructure and digital equity
The keynote speaker for the event will be Joshua Edmonds, CEO of Digital C, the Cleveland-based nonprofit technology social enterprise. Edmonds will focus on the link between building appropriately-motivated physical networks and how infrastructure and digital equity work go hand-in-hand.
Each year since its creation in 2017, the Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) has convened those working on the frontlines of Tribal connectivity. It brings together decision makers and stakeholders to build support for digital sovereignty and quality, affordable connectivity for Indigenous communities.
With less than 60 percent of those living on Tribal lands in the lower 48 states having access to basic broadband connections – as Native Nations have regularly been excluded from policy conversations around these issues – ICS has become an important voice as the federal government is finally investing billions of dollars to expand high-speed Internet access across Indian Country.
The Summit, held this year in Anchorage, Alaska, was hosted by the Indigenous Connectivity Institute, an affiliate of Connect Humanity, an organization that supports underserved communities’ pursuit of better Internet access and enhancing digital skills. The Summit has become the most prominent event of its type in North America.
Summit participants don’t just convene and talk. They also agree on a series of calls-to-action for governments and other entities with an eye on promoting digital equity in Indigenous communities. Last year’s calls to action, which included messaging around inclusive Tribal consultation, government and industry accountability, Indigenous spectrum rights, and workforce development, served as the foundation for this year’s focus.
Just as the BEAD program becomes a major driving force in the ongoing broadband-ification of America, hundreds of local network builders, operators, thought-leaders, and policy-makers will descend on Denver, Colorado for Mountain Connect 2023 early next month.
Themed this year as “Collaborate, Integrate, Innovate,” the agenda is packed with plenty of BEAD-centered panels but also offers a buffet of other focused forums that will cover emerging technologies, local network case studies, and larger community development concerns.
Spots for the conference, which will be held August 7-9 at the Denver Sheraton, are filling up fast. But, would-be attendees can still register here.
As with the previous eight annual Mountain Connect conferences, this year’s three-day conference in the Mile High City will bring together a veritable who’s-who of people working in the trenches of a national effort to bring high-speed Internet access to the tens of millions unserved and underserved households and businesses across the U.S.
Among the conference participants will be representatives from 15 state broadband offices, which accounts for more than $15 of the $42.5 billion in BEAD funds that will be allocated by states in the form of competitive state grants.
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks (CBN) Initiative continues to host Let’s Get Going Broadband Bootcamps across the country.
The next two upcoming bootcamps are being sponsored by the New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion and will be held at Doña Ana Community College in Anthony, New Mexico on June 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Another will be held the following day, June 29, at the Tribal Administration Building on the Pueblo of Tesuque in New Mexico.
The bootcamp agenda includes:
- What is broadband and how is it deployed?
- The basics of wireless and fiber optics
- What funding is available to improve broadband in local communities?
- Coalition-building to improve local broadband networks
The in-person, hands-on bootcamps are aimed at helping participants understand broadband and digital equity basics, identify local needs, evaluate options, and chart a path forward. From leveraging existing assets, to financing, to partnerships, to evaluating models for success, this program is designed to demystify every step of the process.
If you are in New Mexico or nearby, there is still time to register here.
Attendance is free, but submission and acceptance of an application is required prior to the event. Space is limited and priority will be given to local community members and small local teams eager to learn together and mobilize locally to improve connectivity.
In just over 24 hours our next Building for Digital Equity (#B4DE) event goes live.
Tomorrow, June 7, beginning at 3 pm ET, #B4DE promises to offer engaging examples, practical tools, and nuggets of insight as digital equity advocates across the nation prepare to take advantage of unprecedented federal funds and programs spurred by the Digital Equity Act and bipartisan infrastructure law.
This free event, sponsored once again by UTOPIA Fiber, will be headlined by National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) Executive Director Angela Siefer. She will offer thoughts on what those working to close the digital divide should be thinking about while setting priorities in this historic moment, as states are developing their digital equity plans and getting ready to receive their share of the $42.5 billion contained in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
Though seats are filling up fast, there is still time to register here.
The livestream will be available (and later archived) on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with live viewer questions answered by the panels. We recommend viewing it on YouTube here where the live chat will be most lively.
Co-hosted by NDIA Training & Community Engagement Manager Pamela Rosales and ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Director Christopher Mitchell, the 75-minute online webinar brings together a variety of front-line experts and digital inclusion practitioners who will share focused, concise lessons-learned and best-practices relevant for those working in both rural communities and urban centers.
Our next Building for Digital Equity (B4DE) event is only weeks away. Have you registered yet?
Sponsored by UTOPIA Fiber, the June 7 virtual gathering will feature engaging debates on the hottest topics in broadband: the upcoming release of BEAD funds, the challenges around mapping, updates on efforts to boost enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and the looming implications for both urban and rural communities.
Like B4DE in the past, this event, slated to begin at 3 pm ET on June 7, will be cohosted by Pamela Rosales, from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), and our own Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR's Community Broadband Networks Initiative.
Register now for the event here.
As with previous B4DE events, this one will include informative, concise presentations, a series of interactive trivia games, and an introduction to new data tools for those working on the front lines of digital equity. It will all be livestreamed and will be available (and later archived) on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and LinkedIn, with live viewer questions answered by the panels.
Building for Digital Equity Podcast Series New Episodes
Meanwhile, be sure to check out our most recent episodes of our Building for Digital Equity podcast, which features short interviews with the people working in the trenches for digital inclusion.
Episode 7 is a discussion with Dwight Thomas, who built the first citywide municipal fiber network in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Thomas goes on talk about the importance of community engagement and how to make sure people can use the network once it is built before explaining his passion for discipleship and sharing knowledge.
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.
See our previous B4DE livestreams below:
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.”
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).