Tag: "digital equity"

Posted May 6, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

Two recent victories in digital equity work out of California give cause for celebration this week. AB 2748 Telecommunications: Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act and AB 2751 Affordable Internet and Net Equality Act both passed the Communications and Conveyance Committees this week; the former by a margin of 10-3 and the latter 7-3.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Chris Holden, AB 2748 would have a range of impacts if passed, including  giving the state CPUC and local governments more power in negoitating with providers to ensure that there is no discimination based on neighborhood household income that leads to inequitable access to service. It also revises franchise fee agreements at the local level. Read the full bill analysis for more.

From the press release:

"Although DIVCA originally intended to address inequitable broadband access, it remains pronounced across California cities," says Shayna Englin, Director of the California Community Foundation Digital Equity Initiative. "AB 2748 modernizes DIVCA by establishing equal access requirements as policy, and makes them enforceable through a reasonable application process for franchise renewals. We are pleased to co-sponsor Assemblymember Holden's bill, as the legislation will bring us one step closer to ensuring every Californian has access to fast, reliable, and affordable Internet [access]."

AB 2751 would create a Net Equality Program which would require that most state agencies only do business with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that have a low-income plan offering of $40/month for 25/3 Megabits per second (Mbps). Read the full bill analysis for more.

Public testimony for AB 2751 highlighted the significant disparity in service speeds and prices that disadvantage low-income Californians by the state's two monopoly providers: Charter Spectrum and AT&T:

AB2751 is a modest but vital step toward leveraging the state’s massive...

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Posted April 25, 2022 by Sean Gonsalves

The city of Seattle is looking to beef up its Information Technology department as it seeks to hire a Digital Equity Program & Broadband Manager.

The position will be a part of the city’s Client and Community Engagement Division and, according to the job posting, will play a central role in managing “digital inclusion planning and grants, broadband planning and advocacy, low-cost Internet program support, cable franchise administration, wireless affairs, and legislative advocacy for digital equity and telecommunication policy issues.”  

Job responsibilities will also include “providing guidance to all levels of local government and public agencies, in partnership with community, on critical digital inclusion services for residents, and administration and enforcement of Seattle’s Cable Code

Other key job responsibilities include:

  • Serves as a working team manager for the Digital Equity Program to set goals and strategies, and to implement program delivery. 
  • Coordinates and advises on policy, program, and funding opportunities to create, promote, and increase access to equitable, affordable, high-speed broadband services. 
  • Builds relationships with public, community, and private leaders across the city and region to develop new opportunities for achieving greater digital equity and affordable broadband connectivity in Seattle and resolving issues that hinder progress toward Seattle’s Internet for All Initiative goals. 
  • Provides regulatory compliance oversight of Seattle cable operators and cable franchise agreements. 
  • Negotiates and administers franchise agreements, franchise renewals and transfers as necessary with incumbent providers and new entrants. 
  • Administers Seattle’s Cable Customer Bill of Rights and other customer advocacy matters. 
  • Prepares reports, recommendations, analyses, and legislation to inform elected officials, department leadership, the...
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Posted April 13, 2022 by

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Margaret Kaufer, President of the New York-based STEM Alliance, and Bob Cacase, Commissioner of Information Technology for the City of Yonkers.

During the conversation, the three talk about Y-ZONE, a partnership between several community groups working to connect households in Yonkers. They discuss origins of the partnership, performance of the CBRS technology the network relies on, and some technical details of their particular build. They also get into the nitty gritty of real world costs associated with building CBRS networks, and how they overcome obstacles they have faced regarding adoption by the community.

This show is 35 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or Stitcher to catch more great conversations about local communities, the concentration of corporate power, and how everyday people are taking control.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Posted March 29, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

On Wednesday, March 16th, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance teamed up with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance for a two-hour, fast-paced webinar on the ways communities can accomplish digital equity goals called Building for Digital Equity: Demystifying Broadband Policy and Funding. It was just as fun to do as we hoped, and packed with speakers providing practical, easy-to-understand advice and a wonderful audience full of questions and additional information.

We heard from an array of people and about a host of projects, from Broadband Action Teams in Washington state, to coalitions in Maine, an update on the Digital Navigator model, mapping, talking to local governments, and a breakdown of the funding available to communities.

If you did not have a chance to leave feedback for us, please do it here - especially if you have ideas for segments in future events.

We also want to make sure you have links to all of the resources shared by the event speakers:

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Posted March 29, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

This week on the show, Christopher is joined by Angela Thi Bennett, Director of Advocacy & Impact at DigitalC, a community-based Cleveland nonprofit which operates a fixed wireless network in the city's unserved and underserved neighborhoods.

Before she leaves to become the first Digital Equity Director for National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), Angela sits down with Christopher to talk about everything the organization does to advance digital equity goals in the city, driven by an agenda that focuses on healthcare, education, and economic growth. She shares how the nonprofit developed a sustainable model to delivery reliable, fast Internet access for $18/month, how success comes from listening intentionally and regularly to what community members need and want, and what true empowerment means in the face of shifting agendas at the state and national level.

This show is 21 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the interview on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or Stitcher to catch more great conversations about local communities, the...

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Posted March 22, 2022 by

In this episode of the Connect This! Show, co-hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by guests Joshua Edmonds (City of Detroit) and Jason Hardebeck (Baltimore City) to talk about large cities prioritizing equity in building community broadband.

The panel will talk current events in broadband, what digital equity problems affect their cities, solutions to these problems, and the biggest challenges to implementing those solutions.

Subscribe to the show using this feed on YouTube Live or here on Facebook Live, or visit ConnectThisShow.com.

Email us broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Watch here on YouTube Live, here on Facebook live, or below.

 

Posted March 11, 2022 by Sean Gonsalves

Last year, nearly two dozen community leaders in Baltimore were brought together with national experts for a five-week crash course on network engineering, federal policymaking, community broadband networking, and grassroots organizing.

It was an online program called “The Digital Equity Leadership Lab (DELL)” – an initiative created by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation in response to “other digital inclusion programs across the U.S. that have failed to consider the technical aspects of the Internet and social inequalities alongside broader Internet policy and advocacy goals.”

It spawned a case study led by Colin Rhinesmith, Faculty Associate and Director of the Community Informatics Lab at the UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry and a Senior Fellow with the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society. Released earlier this week, The Digital Equity Leadership Lab (DELL): A Case Study of Community Leadership Development to Promote Digital Equity and Justice highlights the importance of developing community-based leaders around digital equity, gifting rising and next-generation digital equity advocates with important insights for their work.

Through interviews with 15 of the 25 DELL participants, and with the input from a range of national experts and Deutsch Foundation staff, the study set out to answer the question: how might DELL serve as a community-based leadership training model to develop the next wave of digital equity leaders?

The analysis surfaced three key findings:

  • Bringing national policymakers and advocates together with community leaders is powerful and transformative.
  • Digital inequality is a social, not a technological problem. 
  • Community leaders need access to a shared platform and each other to create change. 

But the study didn’t stop there. Rhinesmith (with research assistance from Jie Jiang and Malana Krongelb) offers three recommendations in light of the study’s findings:

1) It is necessary to broaden the understanding of how the Internet works and how this knowledge can be used to...

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Posted March 8, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

This week, we bring you a special field report from Maryland-based radio and podcast producer Matt Purdy. Through interviews with citizens, digital equity advocates, and the city's new Director of Broadband and Digital Equity, Purdy documents the connectivity struggles that have persisted in Baltimore's historically marginalized neighborhoods for decades.

Those challenges have only become more pronounced with the pandemic, prompting local officials to begin making moves in the direction of something we've not yet seen in a community the size of Baltimore: building a city-owned, open access fiber network.

This is a great story, so we won't give anything else a way. Listen below, or here.

Posted March 8, 2022 by

This week on the podcast, radio producer Matt Purdy reports a story on Baltimore’s efforts to build a municipal broadband network that prioritizes equity for historically marginalized communities.

This show is 13 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the story on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Transcript coming soon. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.

Subscribe to the Building Local Power podcast, also from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, on iTunes or Stitcher to catch more great conversations about local communities, the concentration of corporate power, and how everyday people are taking control.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

 

Posted March 2, 2022 by Sean Gonsalves

Last week we invited you to save the date for a two-hour livestream event Building for Digital Equity: Demystifying Broadband Policy and Funding that the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is co-organizing with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA).

We told you this event – which will be held on Wednesday, March 16th, from 2-4pm ET – was not going to be your average conference or webinar with 45-minute panels that make your derriere doze off or your eyes glaze over like a stale donut.

We are aiming for a fast-paced, fun, and interactive virtual gathering of network builders, local stakeholders, policy advocates, and funding experts from across the country that will feature a mix of short presentations, a sprinkling of trivia and prizes, and panels with Q & A’s that will be accessible on a variety of popular social media platforms.

Well, the event is coming together, promising to offer practical insights on how communities can seize this unprecedented moment to pursue community-driven broadband solutions.

You can register for the event here.

Here’s a sneak peek at the line-up:

 

  • It will be emceed by our own Christopher Mitchell, director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative, and NDIA’s Training and Community Engagement Manager, Pamela Rosales
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