low-income

Content tagged with "low-income"

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Gina Birch Loves Digital Equity at the Ashbury Center in Cleveland

On the one hand, Cleveland is one of the worst connected cities in the nation. On the other hand, it’s also a metro region with among the highest Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) enrollment rates.

That’s because of the efforts of digital inclusion practitioners like Gina Burch, Program Coordinator at the Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center. In the second episode of our new Building for Digital Equity podcast, Gina talks about how they trained digital navigators to help enroll eligible Clevelanders into the program that provides a $30/month subsidy for low-income households to pay for home Internet service.

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Gina Birch

As a new nationwide campaign to boost ACP enrollment is underway, Gina touches on something that is key for enrolling skeptical would-be beneficiaries: the need for trusted messengers and organizations with roots in the community to be a part of the process.

She also highlights some of the challenges they are seeing on the ground and why having high-speed Internet access, as well as the digital skills necessary to get online, is about so much more than shopping or streaming movies. Gina talks about the link between Internet access and access to health care such as making Covid vaccine appointments.

You can listen to the 14 minute interview below or it can be played using the podcast app of your choice with this feed.

Also, you can listen to other episodes here or check out our long-running Community Broadband Bits podcasts here.

Gina Birch Loves Digital Equity at the Ashbury Center in Cleveland - Building for Digital Equity Podcast Episode 2

Building for Digital Equity logo

As she'll note in the beginning of this interview with Sean Gonsalves, Gina Birch loves her job as Program Coordinator at the Ashbury Senior Computer Community Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She discusses the remarkable transition in Cleveland from a city lagging in digital equity metrics to one toward the top of its game. 

They discuss the Affordable Connectivity Plan, ACP, and some of the challenges associated with the digital divide. Finally, they discuss some of the lessons they have taken from the Net Inclusion conference. 

This show is 14 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.

STEM Alliance Retires CBRS and Embraces ACP - Building for Digital Equity Podcast Episode 1

Building for Digital Equity logo

In our first episode of this new podcast series, we wanted to queue up an interview with Margaret - Meg - Kaufer, who is President of the STEM Alliance in Westchester County, New York. We had previously spoken with Meg, as well as Yonkers Commissioner of Information Technology Bob Cacase, in episode 500 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast where they discussed their joint efforts to deliver Internet access to low-income households. 

Meg updates us on those efforts on the heels of retiring the CBRS network earlier than expected. However, they have developed a replicable strategy for signing people up to the ACP and getting through the thoroughly unnecessary paperwork requirements. 

This show is 22 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.

Making Waves in Baltimore with Community-Driven Connectivity

*This is the first installment of an occasional profile on Local Community Broadband Champions where we focus not so much on the technology, construction, and financing of a community network build, but on the personalities of the people who make it happen.

When Devin Weaver isn’t vibing at the Otto Bar or checking out the underground music scene at Metro Gallery, or even playing his bass guitar at home, the 28-year-old network engineer enjoys spending time amid the web of wires in storage closets inside low- and mixed-income apartment buildings dotting the city’s landscape.

It’s where his network design handiwork all comes together, snaking through the buildings to the routers installed in individual apartment dwellings, enabling residents to get gig speed Internet service.

That’s on par with what the regional monopoly provider Comcast offers city residents who can afford it. But in the buildings that Devin has made his technical playground, hundreds of financially-strapped households who subscribe to the fledgling community network he oversees get it for free – thanks to the philanthropy of dozens of organizations including the Internet Society Foundation, the France-Merrick Foundation, and the Digital Harbor Foundation.

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Project Waves sign

Born and raised in Baltimore, Devin works for Project Waves, a non-profit organization founded in 2018 by an old high school classmate of his, Adam Bouhmad, to bring broadband to mostly low-income households in Baltimore City.

A Small, Rising Wave of Connectivity

Innovative Services and Trailblazing Low-Income Programs in Chattanooga - Episode 539 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast and on the most Valentines-iest of days, Christopher is joined by Katie Espeseth, Vice President of New Products EPB Fiber, at the municipal network in Chattanooga, Tennessee. After catching up on the release of the network's 25 gigabit service and the latest progress of the HCS EdConnect initiative (which has connected almost 10,000 homes), Katie shares with Christopher how its SmartNet Plus program expands the managed Wi-Fi framework to take advantage of the many devices we all have in our homes that connect to the Internet. The show ends with Katie and Christopher reflecting on how - thanks not only to Chattanooga, but the other cities as well as telephone and electric cooperatives in the state - Tennessee is among the best-connected across the country, with some of the fastest speeds and most affordable rates available.

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

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.

HiLighting Hillsboro, Oregon - Episode 538 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by General Manager Brad Nosler and Senior Customer Support specialist Elizabeth Pereira, both from the city of Hillsboro, Oregon. The city's municipal broadband network, HiLight, is new, having begun signing up subscribers in the spring of 2021.

Notably, HiLight began building in the areas highest-need neighborhoods, where connectivity rates were disproportionately low. Equally importantly, HiLight has among the best income-qualified subscription tiers for families struggle to pay for access of any network in the nation, offering symmetrical gigabit service for just $10/month. Brad and Elizabeth talk with Christopher abou

This show is 33 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.

Learning from New York City's Master Internet Plan - Episode 525 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

Community Broadband Bits

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Aaron Meyerson, former Deputy CTO for the city of New York. Christopher and Aaron dig into New York City's Internet Master Plan, which launched in the spring of 2021 and gained steam before being put on hold by the Adam's administration in January of 2022.

Aaron shares the lessons he learned in creating a single, streamlined process for intra-agency cooperation in the name of facilitating a smooth experience for vendors and the value that unlocking city-owned assets can add to efforts like this. He also tells Chris about navigating the razors' edge of pursuing a large-scale solution, as NYC's Master Plan was intended to be, as opposed to smaller, quicker projects that could be turned around in a single election cycle and avoid the sometimes inevitable slowdown that comes with the changing of the guard.

Finally, Christopher and Aaron talk about NYC's new plan for connectivity in public housing developments, and their concerns about longevity and where the money's going. 

This show is 32 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.

Cities Doing Work - Episode 519 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by ILSR colleagues Sean Gonsalves (Senior Editor and Communications Team Lead) and DeAnne Cuellar (Outreach Team Lead) for a roundup of recent news. They talk about the release of our new tracking and advocacy tool, the Affordable Connectivity Program dashboard, the pace and speed of the municipal broadband build in Pharr, Texas, pilot program aimed at low-income households in Syracuse, New York, Boulder, Colorado's broadband plan, and Erie County, New York's revived connectivity plan.

This show is 33 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.

Building at the Speed of Light in Pharr, Texas - Episode 518 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by two representatives from Pharr, Texas (pop. 79,000), which has embarked on a citywide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network build that is seeing strong local support and fast progress in recent months. Jose Pena is the IT Director for the city, and and Guillermo Aguilar works as a Partner at Brownstone Consultants, which is serving as a project manager for the network build. Jose and Guillerma talk with Christopher about the impetus for TeamPharr, the municipal effort which formally kicked off in 2017 with a feasibility study.

Jose and Guillermo share how the city moved to a fixed wireless pilot project on the southern part of town a few years ago before extending the network to a collection of city parks and then making the commitment to a full citywide buildout in 2020. They detail their early work in the state, which places some barriers in front of communities looking to take their telecommunications future into their own hands, and the help they got from Mont Belvieu (which also runs its own network). Jose and Guillermo share the phenominally fast progress the team has made, from finishing the design phase in September of last year, to connecting the first household in January 2022, to passing 70 percent of premisestoday.They also talk about their work to offer subscribers low pricing tiers ($25 and $50/month for symmetrical 500 Mbps and gigabit service, respectively) and their efforts to help households sign up for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

Check out the videos at the bottom of this story for more about why Pharr undertook the project and the progress the city has made so far.

This show is 40 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.

Digital Equity Legislation Continues to Make Gains in California

Two recent victories in digital equity work out of California give cause for celebration this week. AB 2748 Telecommunications: Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act and AB 2751 Affordable Internet and Net Equality Act both passed the Communications and Conveyance Committees this week; the former by a margin of 10-3 and the latter 7-3.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Holden, AB 2748 would have a range of impacts if passed, including  giving the state CPUC and local governments more power in negoitating with providers to ensure that there is no discimination based on neighborhood household income that leads to inequitable access to service. It also revises franchise fee agreements at the local level. Read the full bill analysis for more.

From the press release:

"Although DIVCA originally intended to address inequitable broadband access, it remains pronounced across California cities," says Shayna Englin, Director of the California Community Foundation Digital Equity Initiative. "AB 2748 modernizes DIVCA by establishing equal access requirements as policy, and makes them enforceable through a reasonable application process for franchise renewals. We are pleased to co-sponsor Assemblymember Holden's bill, as the legislation will bring us one step closer to ensuring every Californian has access to fast, reliable, and affordable Internet [access]."

AB 2751 would create a Net Equality Program which would require that most state agencies only do business with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have a low-income plan offering of $40/month for 25/3 Megabits per second (Mbps). Read the full bill analysis for more.

Public testimony for AB 2751 highlighted the significant disparity in service speeds and prices that disadvantage low-income Californians by the state's two monopoly providers: Charter Spectrum and AT&T: