National Digital Inclusion Week is October 2-6, 2023 and CBAN is putting the 2023 theme "Building Connected Communities" into action with our first ever VIRTUAL Fall Forum!
We are excited about the lineup of content we've assembled for our first EVER virtual Fall Forum! Here are some of our confirmed speakers and panelists (others are being confirmed!):
Daily sessions begin at 10:00am on September 3, 4, and 5 online. The CBAN Fall Forum is free and open to everyone! To check out the full agenda and register, click the REGISTER button below.
As BEAD and other funds flow into states and communities, the landscape is evolving quickly and taking on new dimensions of opportunity and need. No longer simply about fast, reliable access, today's broadband advocates must take a myriad of new goals and considerations into account.
Join CBAN for three mornings of learning and conversation designed to provide insight - and actionable ideas - to everyone working towards better broadband for all.
Registration for the 2023 CBAN Fall Summit is FREE!
CLICK HERE to view the Summit agenda and to register
Representatives of a dozen entities in Iowa involved in the work of digital equity gathered in Indianola today for a meeting convened by CBAN. The Central Iowa Digital Equity Meeting is part of CBAN's efforts to facilitate collaboration among the individuals, agencies, and non-profits involved in digital equity efforts.
Agencies represented included the US Department of Agriculture, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Greater Des Moines Partnership, the United Way, and the Iowa Communications Alliance.
The meeting and a follow-up Digital Equity Summit planned for October is being funded by a grant from Microsoft.
The City of Boulder, CO is weighing its options for bringing fiber optic broadband to the community's 104,000 residents.
Boulder already owns a fiber optic backbone network. Now the City Council is weighing its options for building out from that backbone to connect to homes and businesses. Options include building and operating it's own fiber network like fellow Colorado communities Longmont, Fort Collins, Loveland, and Estes Park; or building a city-owned network under some sort of public-private partnership. City staff has recommended the partnership option due to the perceived lower risk of doing so.
To read the full article at The Daily Camera, CLICK HERE.
Voters in Clay Banks, Wisconsin have approved a plan to spend up to $2.7 million to bring fiber broadband to every home and business in the town of just over 400 people.
Clay Banks is in Door County, Wisconsin (Door County is a CBAN Community Member) and is considered underserved today. So far the community has not been successful in applying for grants to build out the fiber network. The town vote allows the city to borrow money in addition to continuing to seek grant funds.
The community is working with Bertram Communications to operate the network. Bertram is providing over $800,000 of in-kind support toward the project. Bertram is also working with other communities in the region under the Door County Broadband name.
CLICK HERE for more information about Clay Banks' fiber project at the Door County Pulse.
There is a fascinating special report at Politico that ouliness a serious threat to the the Universal Service Fund's (USF) very existence. A conservative nonprofit called Consumers' Research has filed lawsuits claiming that the USF is unconstitutional. The basis of their claim is USF is supported by a surcharge on certain long distance telephone revenues, and that this surcharge is in reality a tax. And the Universal Service Administrative Company, which administers the USF, does not have taxing authority.
The cases have been making their way through the courts since 2021 and that latest hearing will be in New Orleans beginning September 19th. The Politico article says that the cases could ulitmately end up in the US Supreme Court.
A negative court ruling on USF could have serious repercussions across the broadband industry, and the issue bears close watching.
One of the great promises of broadband is the ability to deliver health care services to rural Americans. In the new episode of Broadband Action, we visit with Scott Raymond and David Cloyed of Nebraska Medicine at the University of Nebraska in Omaha for their views on the challenges and opportunities of telehealth.
Check out Broadband Action on your favorite podcast platform or on YouTube!
CBAN Provider member Reedsburg Utility Commission will receive $28 million as part of the fourth round of USDA ReConnect funding announced this week. Overall, the USDA has authorized $667 million in grants and loans to broadband providers with the latest round, which covers 37 projects in 22 states and the Marshall Islands
Reedsburg's allocation is in the form of a low-interest loan. It will help fund a project to bring broadband to nearly 10,000 people and over 300 businesses in southwest Wisconsin. CLICK HERE for a detailed article at Wisconsin Politics.
For a complete list of projects funded by the latest round of ReConnect, CLICK HERE.
We hear a lot about precision agriculture and "smart farming" these days. But a USDA report shows that digital adoption by farms is lacking.
The report outlined in the Southeast Iowa Union points out that a higher percentage of farms use smartphones (80%) than use computers (75%). Another factor in slower farm adoption is lack of broadband. The report says in 2023, just 51 percent of farms with an internet connection were using a landline connection of some sort, while 75% connected through a cellular data plan.
Clearly there is a lot of work to be done promoting digital adoption and device ownership in rural America, and in extending real broadband to these areas.
Last week, the Waterloo Telecommunications Utility (Waterloo, Iowa) held a groundbreaking ceremony for their municipal fiber network. Waterloo Fiber, a CBAN member, is hoping to hook up the first customers to their network by the end of 2023, with construction continuing into 2024 and likely 2025. Once completed, Waterloo Fiber will be Iowa's latest - and largest - community-owned fiber network.
Congratulations to Waterloo Fiber on your project kickoff!
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.