The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently opened a window for qualifying entities to seek grants for technical assistance for broadband projects. According to the USDA, the "BTA provides financial assistance through cooperative agreements to eligible entities to receive or deliver broadband technical assistance and training and supports the development and expansion of broadband cooperatives."
Eligible applicants include:
For this grant, eligible areas must meet be "rural areas", defined as communities of less than 20,000 in population and not adjacent to an urban area of 50,000 population or higher.
Nationwide, a total of $20 million is available for the grants. For all the details, visit the Broadband Technical Assistance grant page.
CBAN welcomes our newest community member, Connect Lake County! This nonprofit serves the "collar counties" around Chicago and is based in Waukegan, Illinois. They're working on broadband access and digital equity for their community, both through expanded and affordable internet service and supporting digital navigator services through their own and partner agencies.
Curtis Dean with CBAN will lead a panel discussion on digital inclusion at the annual Mountain Connect Conference in Denver on August 7-9, 2023.
Mountain Connect is a regional broadband development conference that in prior years had been held at Keystone Resort in Keystone, CO. This year its moving to the Mile High City and promises to be an amazing event as always. The CBAN-led session description is below. The panelists will be announced at a later date.
If you are planning to attend the Mountain Connect Conference, please reach out to email@example.com to let us know so we can connect!
A Sustainable Digital Inclusion Model for Communities
As the national conversation around broadband evolves, the dialog is being increasingly framed around three pillars of success - Access, Affordability, and Adoption. In this session, Curtis Dean with the Community Broadband Action Network lead a panel discussion on how various entities – government, nonprofits, providers, and others – are working to address access, affordability, and especially adoption.
NTIA Seeks Input on Digital Equity
Help Bridge the Digital Divide with NTIA's Digital Equity Act Program
Are you passionate about bridging the digital divide and ensuring all Americans access affordable, reliable high-speed Internet? Then we need your help!
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is seeking input on the $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act Program, as well as the design and implementation of two components of that grant program: the $1.44 billion State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program and the $1.25 billion Digital Equity Competitive Grant Program.
Your input is crucial to help NTIA shape these grant programs and ensure they address the unique needs of communities nationwide. Therefore, we want to hear from you and encourage you to provide feedback through the multiple avenues established by NTIA:
Please submit written comments on or before 5:00pm ET on May 1, 2023. To help you while drafting comments, we encourage you to review our Tips For Submitting Comments presentation and Digital Equity Act Request For Comment Overview webinar recording.
Together, we can bridge the digital divide and ensure all Americans have access to the opportunities that come with affordable, high-speed, reliable Internet access. So don't miss this chance to make a difference.
The following information is shared on behalf of CBAN Associate Member ISPN.
CARY, N.C., April 5, 2023 -- 20 South Partners announced today the acquisition of iGLASS Networks ("iGLASS"), a best-in-class outsourced Network Operations Center ("NOC"). iGLASS will maintain all management and staff, joining ISPN Network Services ("ISPN") in the 20 South Partners portfolio. ISPN is a leading provider of 24x7 customer support and managed IT services for broadband providers across North America, and the addition of iGLASS will bring together two complementary businesses and further 20 South Partners' mission of helping people stay connected.
iGLASS, founded in 1997, has built a strong reputation for delivering NOC as a Service to its customers across the Broadband, Healthcare, IT, and Financial Services verticals. The company has deep expertise in network operations and specializes in 24x7 monitoring of IT infrastructure. The iGLASS platform integrates heterogenous network performance data in a unified display, offering businesses unique visibility into all aspects of their broadband connection, from data center to the premises.
iGLASS and ISPN will now bring a fully-fledged network monitoring and troubleshooting solution to customers.
"We are thrilled to welcome iGLASS to 20 South Partners," said Jeff Neblett, CEO of 20 South Partners and ISPN. "We've gotten to know the iGLASS founders, Tim, Jack, and Woody, and the company's team well over the past two years. We appreciate their focus on excellent service delivery and the customer experience. This acquisition will allow us to provide ISPN customers with an even wider range of managed network services and tools, while also expanding our presence in Healthcare, IT, and Financial Services. We are excited about the opportunities this will bring to our customers, employees, and stakeholders."
"For over 25 years, iGLASS has been a trusted source of network monitoring services for our clients," said Tim Bolden, President & Co-Founder of iGLASS. "Our goal has always been to help customers maintain their networks and maximize uptime by providing unique monitoring solutions customized for each customer. We couldn't be more excited about joining forces with 20 South Partners and ISPN as we now bring a fully-fledged monitoring and troubleshooting solution to our customers. We have enjoyed getting to know Jeff, Scott [President & CFO of 20 South Partners and ISPN], and ISPN, and we are looking forward to improving our customers' connectivity together."
About 20 South Partners
20 South Partners is a family of leading managed service providers with the shared mission of helping people stay connected. It was founded in 2018 and is run by Co-Founders, Jeff Neblett and Scott Lauber. Headquartered in Lenexa, Kansas, 20 South Partners made its first acquisition of ISPN in 2020 and is focused on partnering with managed services businesses who share its "Customer First" core value.
For more information or inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About iGLASS Networks
Founded in 1997, by Tim Bolden and brothers, Jack Woodring and George "Woody" Woodring, iGLASS is a leading provider of 24x7 network monitoring services. The company has built a strong reputation for delivering Network Operations as a Service, with specialties in Broadband (HFC, FTTP, FTTH), Healthcare, IT, and Financial Services spaces.
For more information about iGLASS's services, visit www.iglass.net
About ISPN Network Services
ISPN helps leaders of community-focused broadband service providers elevate the customer experience and achieve growth through customer-driven, reliable, and innovative 24x7 support and managed IT solutions. By utilizing ISPN's Hosted Server Solutions, Internet, IPTV & Video Technical Support, Email Services, and Network/IP Management, organizations can take advantage of economies of scale from ISPN's resources and expertise.
For more information about ISPN's services, visit www.ispn.net.
CBAN Spring Forum 2023 Recap
Approximately 50 people attended the CBAN Spring Forum 2023 held on April 4, 2023 in Johnston, Iowa. It was a our best attended and successful CBAN gathering since we were founded 5 years ago!
The Forum focused on the three primary elements of digital equity during our afternoon sessions - adoption, access, and affordability. In addition to CBAN team team members our sessions featured panelists representing community-based broadband providers, consulting firms, and a rural resident without broadband access.
For a detailed recap of the Spring Forum 2023, including recordings of each of the three sessions, visit the CBAN website at https://broadbandaction.com/cban-2023-spring-forum/
We invite CBAN members to mark your calendars for the CBAN Spring Forum 2024, which will be held at Stoney Creek Hotel in Johnston, Iowa on April 9, 2024.
CBAN Spring Forum 2023 Sponsors
We are very grateful to the following CBAN Associate Members who sponsored the Spring Forum! Please reach out to them and say thank you for helping make the event possible!
One of Iowa's most progressive and respected community-based broadband providers has joined the CBAN community. We'd like to welcome Premiere Communications as a provider member! A Premiere representative attended the CBAN Spring Summit 2023 and decided his company should join our other 140+ members in 19 states working for digital inclusion and access for all Americans.
Based in Sioux Center, Iowa, Premiere serves 28 communities and many rural areas in northwest Iowa with internet, cable TV, telephone, and IT services. Founded in 1906, Premiere has over 2,500 miles of fiber optics in its service territory, which continues to grow as the company identifies new areas in need of better broadband.
You can learn more about Premiere at https://www.mypremieronline.com.
An excellent article on the Broadband Now website, explains why some states may face delays in receiving funds from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is responsible for implementing the BEAD program and allocating its $42.5 billion to the states, which are then responsible for distributing the money to providers who will bring broadband to unserved and underserved areas. The NTIA spells out to states how their final BEAD proposals should deal with any municipal broadband restrictions.
A description of efforts undertaken by the Eligible Entity to ensure the participation of non-traditional broadband providers (such as municipalities or political subdivisions, cooperatives, non-profits, Tribal Governments, and utilities), including an explanation for awards to traditional broadband providers when one or more non-traditional providers submitted competing proposals to serve an area...
Broadband Now mentions 17 states with "barriers" to municipal broadband networks. These restrictions are largely the result of years of legislative attacks by large providers who want to prohibit competition from municipalities.
Broadband Now's take is that the restricting states my finally feel motivated to lift municipal restrictions because they don't want to lose or delay the billions of dollars in BEAD funding that are coming. Specifically, Maine and New York have passed pro-municipal bills over the past year, and others have debated such legislation. States that continue to have municipal broadband restrictions in place will have to explain to the NTIA why they should still have access to BEAD funds.
Digital inclusion mattters!
Attend a listening session with the NTIA to support broadband equity programming's future.
The NTIA's Internet for All has announced that NTIA will convene four virtual listening sessions in April on the Digital Equity Act Request for Comment. The listening sessions are designed to collect stakeholder input to help inform the development and administration of the State Digital Equity Capacity and State Digital Equity Competitive grant programs.
For more information, please review the Digital Equity RFC Listening Sessions Federal Register Notice.
The Request For Comment is available on Regulations.gov. Please submit written comments on or before 5:00pm ET on May 1, 2023. To help you while drafting comments, we encourage you to review our Tips For Submitting Comments presentation and Digital Equity Act Request For Comment Overview webinar recording.
CBAN Spring Forum 2023 - 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!
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.