Join NLC and guest experts for this virtual series to get up to speed on what your city needs to know to improve digital equity, make investments in broadband infrastructure and internet access and take advantage of new federal funding for connectivity.
Following the launch of NLC’s Digital Equity Playbook, this series will walk participants through the process of assessing community broadband needs, finding partners, understanding new federal grant programs and learning more about the technology that makes local broadband infrastructure work.
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For recordings of past events, go here.
Muni Broadband: So You Want to Own an ISP?
December 14, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM EST (US and Canada)
Access to broadband matters. It has real world outcomes in the lives of Americans. Cities need every tool possible to increase broadband accessibility. Whether it’s provided as a municipal utility, public-private partnerships, or cooperatives, community broadband is a solution to a long-standing problem. Join NLC, local leaders and industry experts to hear about options cities have to construct, own and even operate their own municipal broadband networks and serve their communities.
- Chris Mitchell, Director, Community Broadband Networks, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
- Mel Poole, Director of Ocala Fiber Network (OFN), City of Ocala, FLEmily Nygren, Economic Developer, Planning & Economic Development, City of Duluth, MN
- Ernie Staten, Deputy Director of Public Service, City of Fairlawn, OH
A Connection is Not Enough: Getting Devices & Computer Training to City Residents
October 19, 2022 2:00-3:00PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
City leaders are rightly focused on building broadband infrastructure and finding affordable broadband connections for residents – but without a computer and some technical know-how, too many people will still be left on the wrong side of the digital divide. Hear directly from cities and nonprofits leading the charge to get free or low-cost laptops and tablets to families in need, and learn how to set your residents up with the technical skills they need to connect to loved ones, find work, and access city services with ease.
- Juliet Fink Yates, Digital Inclusion Manager, Philadelphia, PA
- Lou August, Executive Director, Wild Tech
- Rey LaChaux, Digital Equity Manager, City and County of San Francisco, CA
- Jennifer Sanders, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Dallas Innovation Alliance
- Pete Meadows, Director, External Affairs, AT&T
Building Community Digital Navigation Support
September 21, 2022 2:00-3:00PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
At some point, every Internet user has to learn the basics. This is where digital navigators come in. Digital navigators are trusted guides who address the whole digital inclusion process — connectivity, devices and digital skills — through repeated interactions with community members. Digital navigation support can include everything from assistance with signing up for affordable Internet access and acquiring the right device, to building technical skills and ensuring online privacy and security. Join NLC, local leaders and industry experts to hear about options for ensuring residents have the skills they need to benefit from all the internet has to offer.
- Rebecca Gibbons, Strategic Initiatives Manager, City of Portland, OR
- Christa Vinson, Program Officer, Rural Broadband & Infrastructure Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
- Abi Waldrupe, Digital Navigator Manager, National Digital Inclusion Alliance
How to Fund and Finance Broadband Infrastructure In Your Community
August 17, 2022 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Cities across the country are making commitments to bridging the digital divide in their communities. Much of this work requires making large-scale investments in broadband infrastructure to increase access and ensure affordability of service. There are many decisions for local leaders to consider when deciding how to pay for broadband infrastructure: grants, bonds, private investment, public-private partnerships, and beyond. Join NLC, local leaders and industry experts to hear about options for funding and financing to make broadband infrastructure investments in your community.
- Robert Blaine, Senior Executive Director, Institute for Youth, Education and Families, NLC
- Councilmember John Fogle, Loveland, CO
- Harrison Phelan, Managing Consultant, Guidehouse
- David Williams, Director of Technology Services, Ponca City, OK
How to Choose the Right Broadband Technology for Your Community
July 20, 2022, 2:00 – 3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
From building public conduit that cities lease to internet service providers, to providing retail internet services directly to homes and businesses, city leaders have a wide spectrum of choices when it comes to infrastructure solutions to bridge the digital divide in their communities. Join NLC, local leaders and industry experts to hear a broadband technology overview and explore how cities across the United States are deciding what infrastructure investments are best for their communities
- Andrew Afflerbach, CEO and CTO, CTC Technology and Energy
- Evann Freeman, Director of Government Relations, EPB
- Keith Hanson, CTO and Smart Cities Director, City of Shreveport, LA
A Deep Dive on Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure
June 15, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Middle mile broadband infrastructure is a critical and often-overlooked component of local efforts to close the digital divide. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which appropriates $1 billion in funding for middle mile projects through the new Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program, makes opportunities to invest in middle mile infrastructure more accessible to local governments.
Join NLC and local leaders to hear best practices for planning for middle mile infrastructure and lessons learned from different middle mile projects from around the United States.
- Alan Bradshaw, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Dominion Energy
- Tim Rosener, City Councilmember, City of Sherwood, OR
- Kim McKinley, Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber
- Jory Wolf, Vice President of Digital Innovation, Magellan Advisors
Connecting Older Adults and All Ages to Broadband
May 24, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Older Americans have the potential to reap significant benefits from the widespread availability of affordable and high-quality broadband services. Broadband can create new opportunities for older Americans to maintain their independence and security, receive improved medical care, socialize and connect with family caregivers and maintain their productivity in the workforce. However, older adults are substantially less likely to have broadband at home than other residents. Inadequate broadband infrastructure, costly devices and subscriptions paired with fixed incomes and a lack of digital knowledge and skills can keep older residents from fully benefiting from digital life.
Join Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, along with representatives from AARP and local officials from around the nation, for a discussion on the barriers to broadband access and adoption for older Americans, effective strategies for overcoming these barriers and new resources available to local leaders to help get residents of all ages connected.
- Mayor Vince Williams, Union City, GA and President, National League of Cities
- Jessica Rosenworcel, Chairwoman, Federal Communications Commission
- Nancy LeaMond, Executive Vice President, Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer, AARP
- Vivian Brady-Phillips, Executive Director, Jersey City Housing Authority
What City Leaders Should Know about the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program
April 20, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
The Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, created by the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is a historic investment in broadband affordability for households in need. This new subsidy program will help your residents get connected, and the leaders of your city, town or village can work to ensure that your community is getting as much value from the program as possible. Join NLC, federal representatives and local experts to learn more about how the Affordable Connectivity Program works, barriers that are keeping families from accessing broadband and the innovative steps local leaders are taking to help their residents benefit from the program.
- Eduard Bartholme, Associate Bureau Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission
- Olivia Wein, Attorney, National Consumer Law Center
- Mike Lynch, Director, Broadband and Cable, City of Boston
- Trinity Thorpe-Lubneuski, Executive Director, Internet Essentials, Comcast
Finding Your Digital Equity Partners
February 16, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
More than ever, America’s cities recognize that digital equity is a critical component to enable their residents, businesses and local economies to flourish. Local leaders have achieved extraordinary gains to connect residents before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to position their communities to benefit from an increasingly digital future. However, cities can’t go it alone and partnerships are a key piece of the puzzle. Whether it is partnering with philanthropic organizations, the private sector or other units of government, city leaders must rely on these relationships to amplify their digital equity work.
Join our panel of experts to talk about the best ways to find your digital equity partners in your community, no matter where your city is in its digital equity journey.
- Timothy Graham, Vice President, External Affairs, NCTA – The Internet & Television Association
- Joanne Hovis, Co-Founder and CEO, ctc Technology and Energy
- Dr. Robert Blaine, Senior Executive and Director of the Institute for Youth, Education and Families, National League of Cities (moderator)
Getting Started with Digital Equity: Conducting a Local Needs Assessment
January 19, 2022, 2:00-3:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Is your city struggling to get all residents online? Do you want to spend Coronavirus Relief Fund money on connectivity, or apply for federal grant support, but don’t know what would be the most effective way to start? The first step in promoting digital equity is gaining a thorough understanding of your community’s challenges, gaps, and assets through a needs assessment.
In this webinar, local experts discussed the best ways to engage residents, gather information and understand the challenges keeping community members disconnected. They also reviewed the free resources available to assist cities in the needs assessment process.
- Chrelle Booker, Mayor Pro Tem, Tryon, North Carolina (moderator)
- Richard Leadbeater, State Government Industry Manager, Esri
- Rebecca F. Kauma, Economic and Digital Inclusion Officer, City of Long Beach, CA
- Candelaria Mendoza, Interim Digital Inclusion Administrator, City of San Antonio, TX