CBAN will focus on closing gaps in broadband access, adoption, and literacy during its Digital Equity Summit on April 4, 2023. The event will be held at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Johnston, Iowa.
The Digital Equity Summit will have two tracks for attendees. One track will focus on digital inclusion, including digital literacy and skills training. The other track will focus on broadband affordability and access.
As in past years, the CBAN Summit will be held in conjunction with the IAMU Spring Broadband Conference and Expo that is scheduled on April 5-6, 2023. Registration information will be posted around the first of the year!
According to information provided by Education Superhighway, only 25% of Americans who are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program have signed up to receive the monthly benefit designed to help offset broadband costs.
Some states are doing better than the national average, with Ohio leading the way among states at 35% (Puerto Rico, a US territory, has a 48% adoption rate). And certainly some states are doing worse than the national average. In particular, a cluster of states in the northern Great Plains are lagging in getting ACP adopted.
Education Superhighway identifies three key barriers to ACP adoption. Awareness of the program is lacking and those that do know about it stuggle to understand the eligibility requirements. Trust is identified as a big issue as well. Other key barriers to enrolling in the program include a lack of internet access to do the signup process, a long and complicated application itself, and the enrollment forms are only available in English and Spanish.
Three additional communities in Colorado will seek to opt-out of a state anti-municipal broadband statute during the general election on November 8th.
In 2005, the Colorado General Assembly passed Senate Bill 05-152 that prohibits most uses of municipal funding for infrastructure to improve localbroadband or telecommunications services. However, communities can nullify those provisions by passing a local referendum, and to date 119 communities have done so.
This year, three towns - Castle Pines, Lone Tree, and Pueblo - are seeking exemptions to allow them to explore municipal broadband projects.
Digital equity, broadband grant funding, Smart Grid, and next-generation fiber networks were all topics of discussions held at the IAMU Fall Broadband Forum held October 25th in Waverly, Iowa.
Waverly Utilities served as the host for the Forum, a return to having IAMU broadband meetings in member communities. Waverly Utilities hosted tours of their facilities on the afternoon of October 24th and 25th. Waverly's Telecom Director, Jeff Magsamen, kicked off the Tuesday discusison with an overview of the history of the fiber utility, which has rapidly grown during its six years of operations. Waverly's story was of special interest to representatives of two Iowa communities that are building or planning to build municipal fiber networks.
CBAN was also a presenter at the Fall Forum. CBAN's Todd Kielkopf and Jon Willow discussed Digital Equity programs, including CBAN's own participation in the NDIA's Digital Navigator pilot program funded by Google.org. CBAN is in the process of hiring and onboarding its Digital Navigator that will delivery digital equity services in southern Iowa beginning in January 2023.
IAMU wants to extend a big THANK YOU to the Fall Forum sponsors!
Lunch Sponsors: Calix, FARR Technology, ImOn Communications, Power & Tel, and Professional Computher Solutions (PCS)
Break Sponsors: Oak Hill Consulting and Ribbon
Public ownership of broadband networks is prohibited in Nebraska. But more and more communities in the Cornhusker State are getting fiber networks through private and public-private investments
ALLO Communications (a CBAN provider member) has been a real leader in bringing better broadband to Nebraskans. Since their founding in Nebraska in 2003, the company has brought fiber networks to 25 towns and cities in the state. Several of their projects in Nebraska (Lincoln) and Colorado (Fort Morgan) have been a result of public-private projects between ALLO and communities.
Recently, Pinpoint Communications has entered into a public-private partnership agreement with the City of Beatrice to construct a network in the southeast Nebraska city of 12,000. Pinpoint is also based in Nebraska, founded originally as Cambridge Telephone Company in the early 20th century.
The Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN) is seeking a full-time Digital Navigator to provide individualized and small group assistance to rural Iowans in identified communities who need affordable home internet service, affordable internet-capable devices, and/or coaching in introductory digital skills in order to become effective home internet users. This assistance is provided in person and by telephone, but may also include email, text, video chat, and other communication methods that work for the learner.
The Digital Navigator is an office-from-home, full-time position. The service area is southern central Iowa, including communities in Ringgold, Decatur, and Wayne counties.
CBAN is using Indeed.com to process applications. CLICK HERE for the complete job description and to apply.
The towns of Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor, Maine are banding together to study the concept of a municipal fiber project. A broadband committee consisting of residents of both communities has begun preliminary planning for a possible project utilizing grant funds.
CLICK HERE for more details on the efforts these Maine communities are undertaking!
Representatives of Iowa's growing municipal broadband community will gather in Waverly, Iowa for the 2022 IAMU Fall Broadband Forum on October 24-25, 2022. The Fall Forum is resurrecting an old IAMU tradition of holding meetings in the communities where members have built networks, and we're excited to have Waverly Utilities as our host this year!
Oct. 24 - Waverly Utilities Tours and Member Meet-Up
The Fall Forum will include two opportunities for attendees to tour the Waverly Utilities operations center at 1002 Adams Parkway in Waverly. The first tour on the afternoon of Monday, October 24th begins at 3:30pm. The other tour opportunity will be the following afternoon. After the tour, attendees are invited to gather at Joe’s Knight Hawk, 1002 W Bremer in Waverly for dinner and beverages (on your own).
Oct. 25 - Sessions and Waverly Utilities Tour
The official kickoff of the Fall Forum will be Tuesday, October 25th at 8:00am. Workshop sessions and lunch will be held in the Waverly Room at Waverly City Hall, 200 1st St NE. Sessions are scheduled until 1:45pm and will be followed by a second tour opportunity at Waverly Utilities beginning at 2pm.
Session schedule on October 25th
8:30am - The Waverly Utilities Story
9:30am - Digital Inclusion
10:30am - 10G PON and Beyond - Preparing for the Future
11:30am - Smart Cities: Grids, Transportation, and Big Data
12:20pm - Lunch with new ACA Connects CEO Grant Spellmeyer
1:00pm - Broadband Funding in Iowa
CLICK HERE for a complete schedule of activities and session descriptions (PDF)
Registration information is on the Events page at www.iamu.org. If you are an IAMU member, please log in to your account before registering to get the member price.
Registration is $50 for IAMU members and $75 for non-members.
Associate Members can also sponsor lunch or breaks at the Fall Forum by visiting the event page and clicking the "Sponsorship Registration" link.
There is not a room block for this event. However, there are several hotels in Waverly to choose from.
Residents of West Springfield, Massachusetts will be voting on a plan to build a municipal fiber utility in their town, operated in partnership with another public provider.
If authorized by voters on November 8th, the town would build a "municipal light plant" to bring fiber optics to every home and business. Under Massachusetts law, a "light plant" is considered to be either a municipal electric or telecommunications utility.
The town would be partnering with Whip City Fiber for operations of the network. Whip City is part of fellow municipal Westfield Gas and Electric. Several other Massachusetts communities have built fiber over the years, including CBAN provider member Shrewsbury Electric and Cable Operations (SELCO).
CLICK HERE for more details on the West Springfield, MA project.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.