CBAN Spring Summit - LAST CALL
The CBAN Spring Summit is rapidly approaching, but there is still time to register! Join us for a half-day of networking and information sharing as we focus on the three pillars of digital equity - adoption, access, and affordability.
1:00pm - Registration
1:30pm - Session 1 -Adoption
CBAN's Brianna Dillavou and Jon Willow offer an overview of efforts in Iowa and around the country to increase digital adoption through skills training and lowering the barriers to participating in the digital economy, including a Q&A on creating digital equity programs in your community.
2:15pm - Break
2:30pm - Session 2 - Access
The Iowa ITQ process sets the priority for future broadband funding as federal monies are released. While the ITQ window has closed, how the process worked informs us about how future broadband funding may be prioritized and the role that communities will play in this process. In this session, our panel will dissect the ITQ process from the perspectives of communities, providers, and unserved rural residents.
Discussion Leader - Todd Kielkopf, CBAN
3:30pm - Session 3 - Affordability
Affordable access to broadband is an essential element to achieving digital equity. This session focuses on the Affordable Connectivity Program, which currently benefits 17 million US households with a monthly broadband subsidy. We’ll look at the national statistics of ACP adoption; discuss what it takes to implement the ACP from the provider’s perspective and why some small providers have passed on the program; and what efforts need to be made to keep the ACP in place after initial funding runs out.
Discussion Leader - Jon Willow, CBAN
4:30pm - Networking Reception
Network with our fellow Forum attendees and CBAN Associate Members while enjoying snacks and beverages!
Merit Networks, a CBAN Advocate member organization, is seeking candidates for a Commerical Markets Engagement Manager. The position will identify and execute efforts to support the needs and strategies required of potential and existing commercial entities engaged in the Moonshot Initiative activities to address the digital divide for Michigan communities.
CLICK HERE to view the job posting and to apply!
Fort Dodge Fiber - Iowa’s newest municipal broadband provider - is in the process of building out their network and in May will start hooking up their first customers! As part of their utility ramp up, Fort Dodge has hired Pivot to conduct comprehensive Customer Service Training sessions for their staff, and would like to invite fellow municipals in Iowa to send their own people to the training as well!
Introduction to Customer Experience (CX)
How does creating a great Customer Experience look and feel? We’ll lay the groundwork on what CX means, why it’s possibly the most important trend in customer care, and how every staff member participates in this movement.
Two one-day training sessions will be held on April 12, 2023 and April 13, 2023 at Iowa Central Community College East Campus, 2031 Quail Avenue, Fort Dodge. Each day’s training will begin at 8:00am and end at 4:00pm. Continental breakfast and lunch will be included. With two days to choose from, you could send some of your staff each day so you are not shorthanded.
Cost: $400 per person. Fort Dodge Fiber will invoice your utility at the conclusion of the training.
We’d love to have other municipals participate in this training along with the Fort Dodge Fiber staff. It’s a great opportunity for in-depth customer experience training that would cost thousands of dollars to conduct on your own (Fort Dodge knows…that’s why their inviting you to help offset the costs!).
CLICK HERE to register your team for Introduction to Customer Experience!
If you have any questions about the training, reach out to me or to Nick Ekel, Fort Dodge Customer Experience Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
While Elon Musk's Starlink has captured much of the attention regarding low-earth orbit (LEO) satellite internet service, another billionaire's company is working behind the scenes to launch (literally) its own alternative.
As outlined in this article on Ars Technica, Amason's Project Kuiper is hoping to start offering service in 2024. The company has revealed some of the hardware it will use, with different size receiving antennas depending on what level of service customers need. They are touting download speeds of 100 Mbps to 400 Mbps once the service is launched. Their announcement this week did not mention monthly prices for their services.
While it will be great to have another internet option for remote areas, satellite alone can't solve the problem of poor access for rural Americans. And while Starlink is already serving over a million users, Amazon has yet to even launch a single satellite. Hopefully by the time Project Kuiper is operational rural American will have better, land-based choices funded by various state and federal programs.
In last week's edition of Broadband Bytes, Curtis Dean and Todd Kielkopf shared their perspectives on CBAN's participation in the Net Inclusion 2023 event in San Antonio early this month. This week, we hear from our third co-founder Jon Anne Willow and our Digital Navigator Brianna Dillavou.
Jon Willow - Even more committed after Net Inclusion 2023
When Curtis, Todd, and I started brainstorming CBAN in late 2017, the future of broadband looked a little different than it does today. President Trump’s still-in-play infrastructure bill had iced out broadband improvements, even though 30 million (or more) Americans languished in the Digital Divide without access to fast, affordable internet service. Communities around the country - especially in rural areas - felt like they were on their own, and some were looking for ways to bring local broadband solutions to their residents.
We saw a path with CBAN, envisioning a member organization of stakeholders across the broadband spectrum who, guided by CBAN’s road map, could collaborate and learn from each other, thus facilitating broadband access at the grassroots level. The membership has grown to 140 members (currently) in 19 states, and that growth continues. It’s accelerating, in fact.
Meanwhile, another group (many other groups, to be fair) was hard at work on the equity piece. Equity is more than access, it’s also about affordability and teaching the skills everyone needs to fully participate in the modern world. The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) was formed in 2015 as part of the larger PAST Foundation. They quickly gained traction and developed close relationships in the fast-growing digital equity space, and with the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA). In August of 2022, CBAN received an NDIA grant to be one of 18 organizations around the country to pilot a program envisioned to become the National Digital Navigator Corps. It lit a new fire within us, and we’re learning, growing, and more focused than ever on our work and mission.
Fast forward to Net Inclusion 2023, a gathering of over 800 broadband zealots like ourselves, held a few weeks ago on San Antonio’s charming river walk during an especially nice run of weather (sunny, 80s). The CBAN crew spent four days in the company of like-minded folks working every day to make a real difference in our communities. It seems everyone is doing things a little differently according to the needs of their surroundings, and some of us are trying things that have never been done before. It was exciting! I stayed up late every night, deep in conversations with other attendees about a brighter future, exchanging stories and filling notebooks with ideas for CBAN’s programs. I jumped up early every morning, eager to get back into the fray. Now, I have new friends to call on and new ideas to road test for CBAN members and the communities we serve. I couldn’t be more energized, or grateful to be doing this work.
Brianna Dillavou - Putting Net Inclusion to work
Net Inclusion 2023 in San Antonio was a pivotal event in my Digital Navigator career to date. Sessions including asset mapping, community engagement, and telehealth were my main focus. I set out to make connections and learn best practices. This event did not disappoint! It was great to finally meet colleagues in person. In the tech world, so much of our communication is done through technology. Being able to have a dialogue, troubleshoot, and relate to a peer was probably the most beneficial part of the conference.
While our trip back to Iowa was its own adventure, I was able to enhance my Digital Navigator "toolkit" in a way that will allow me to better serve our communities. I look forward to putting the best practices I learned at the conference into play in Iowa. We now have a better understanding of resources, how to build a digital ecosystem, and the impact that Digital Inclusion has on rural communities.
City officials in Cambridge, Massachusetts are reviewing a feasibility study for a city-owned fiber network in the Boston suburb of 117,000
The feasibility study was conducted by CTC Technology and Energy. The study report shows
the network would require a city investment of at least $150 million (including a 30% contingency), with total capital costs of up to $194 million over a 5 year construction period. CTC looked at three business models with city ownership, including a municipal ISP, a city-owned network with one o more ISP's, and an open access model. CTC said that partnering with a private firm to operate the network could reduce City risk. For more on the Cambridge feasibility study, read this article at Cambridge Day.
Massachusetts is already home to several municipal networks, including CBAN member Shrewsbury.
Burlington, Iowa is the newest Community Member of CBAN! Burlington is a community of 24,000 in southeast Iowa nestled on the banks of the Mississippi. Like many other mid-sized cities in Iowa (especially those outside of central Iowa), Burlington has seen a erosion of population since the 1970's as the local manufacturing base eroded. And like other cities its size, Burlington residents are, for the most part, stuck with the duopoly of Mediacom and CenturyLink for internet choices.
Welcome to the CBAN family, Burlington! Hopefully your participation in CBAN will help you identify better, community-focused broadband options in the future.
Mark your calendars for April 4, 5, and 6. Johnston, Iowa is the place to be as two organizations hold their annual meetings back-to-back...and you are invited!
Net Inclusion 2023
As we previewed last week, the CBAN team visited San Antonio, Texas for Net Inclusion 2023 last week (February 27-March 2nd). Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be sharing some of our observatons about the event and what CBAN learned about digital inclusion efforts across America. This week, two of CBAN's co-founders will give their perspectives
Todd Kielkopf, Co-Founder
As the Program Manager for the CBAN cohort member for the National Digital Inclusion Digital Navigator program, being at the 2023 Net Inclusion conference in-person gave me a greater appreciation for the exponential growth of the national digital equity movement. NDIA leadership shared how attendance grew from around 300 at their last conference to over 800 this year. There’s a growing base of collaborative resources, advocacy, and capital building towards success metrics that dramatically impact individuals and communities. Public entities will be matched by provider and tech industries that are genuinely enthused about joining this passionate community.
Curtis Dean, Co-Founder and Vice President
Our week at Net Inclusion was memorable for a number of reasons. The CBAN Team made many new friends and identified new allies in our own digital inclusion efforts. We also had many great conversations with fellow attendees about CBAN's efforts to promote better broadband access through independent, community-focused providers.
On a personal note, the weather was AMAZING...until it wasn't. Temperatures in the 80's, hitting 90 degrees one day, meant the CBAN team of northern Midwest natives spent as much time working outside as possible. The weather was an ally until Thursday, March 2nd when we were all heading north. Severe storms put a ground hold on flights from San Antonio to Dallas (or planned first hop) and it didn't appear we were going to get out at all that day. So, like all organizations, we had to pivot quickly. We got refunds/credits on our Southwest flights, rented a car, and drove 12+ hours from San Antonio to Kansas City (where we had departed from). It was a long day, hightlighted by "punching the core" of the severe weather 45 minutes north of Fort Worth. Despite 60+ MPH winds and heavy rain, we persevered.
Capcon Networks Joins CBAN
CBAN is excited to welcome Capcon Networks to the CBAN community. Capcon has joined as an associate member.
Capcon Networks provides network planning, sourcing, procurement and project management services to community fiber providers. We support municipalities, coop's, utilities and rural Internet Service Providers in the pursuit of bridging the digital divide.
Taking on the responsibility of connecting your community to the digital economy is hard. You need a partner. We have the tools, knowledge and people to make connections happen in the most rural communities in the country.
We've enabled over 50 Municipal Broadband operators, Electric & Telephone Coop's and Utilities to connect over 500,000 households and businesses with high speed internet access.
Primary Services Include:
Middle Mile Fiber
Connecting metro fiber networks in rural communities to the Internet is in our DNA.
High speed Tier 1 bandwidth and peering.
POP-to-POP Connectivity to connect regional service providers.to major Data Centers.
Lease or Buy IPv4 allocations to serve your customers.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.