Tag: "digital inclusion"

Posted September 27, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Pamela Rosales (Training and Community Engagement Manager, National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Davida Delmar (Digital Inclusion Manager, Amerind). Pamela and Davida talk about their digital inclusion work and how it differs across Tribal communities as compared to rural and urban areas. They also catch Christopher up on what's going on in cities and nationwide in the digital equity space, from how to develop outreach channels during an ongoing pandemic, 2022's Digital Inclusion Week, NDIA's ongoing Digital Navigator Program that is beginning to ramp up, what we can expect to see down the road in terms of needs and resources, and more.

This show is 31 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....

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Posted August 19, 2022 by Sean Gonsalves

AARP Minnesota has taken notice: “broadband infrastructure has not been deployed evenly to communities across the state.”

In an effort to raise awareness about the “good news” of state and federal investments to expand infrastructure and how local leaders and residents can learn how to push for better broadband access in their communities, the Minnesota chapter of the AARP will host a “Critical Access: Broadband Expansion in Minnesota” webinar beginning at 1 p.m. CT Wednesday, Aug. 24.

Our own Christopher Mitchell, Director of Community Broadband Networks with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, will be a featured speaker for the one-hour event and will be joined by Cathy McLeer, State Director for AARP Minnesota, as well as Lori Vrolson, Executive Director of the Central Minnesota Council on Aging.

McLeer has been with AARP Minnesota since 2005, having first served as the Associate State Director for Communications in the South Dakota State Office, then as a Senior Advisor for the Central Region, before becoming the Minnesota State Director where she has been a powerful advocate on behalf of Minnesota’s 630,000 AARP members.

Vrolson has more than 27 years’ experience working on aging issues. Currently, as Executive Director of the Central MN Council on Aging (CMCOA), which serves the 14 counties in the central region of Minnesota, she has overseen the organization’s administration of the federal Older Americans Act funding program for non-medical in-home services. Vrolson’s work has more recently been focused on developing Lifetime Communities, expanding evidence-based chronic disease self-management resources, and assisting older adults as they transition across health and long-term care settings.

Mitchell will share insights on how broadband expansion works, new opportunities for funding, and how local leaders and residents can bring new projects to their communities....

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Posted June 9, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

In March, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance held a livestream event on the range of challenges and tools available to communities to accomplish infrastructure, equity, and inclusion goals. We called it Building for Digital Equity: Demystifying Broadband Policy and Funding. There, we discussed the new policies and funding options available that can be applied at the state and local levels to help communities improve their Internet services.

This time we will be focusing on organizing around broadband, community impact of the federal funding, and new initiatives in progress thanks to the grants communities are taking advantage of. 

Join us on Wednesday June 29th from 1:00pm-2:15pm ET as we discuss what's happening on the ground in these communities and what some of them are planning to do with the new federal broadband dollars. We are calling it Building for Digital Equity, Chapter 2: Claiming Broadband For Your Community. Register here.

This event will feature:

  • Your favorite co-host:  Christopher Mitchell of ILSR and Pamela Rosales of NDIA
  • Videos from communities discussing what they are planning and doing with the funding
  • Discussing the “how” in organizing communities
  • Guest speakers discussing organizing strategies, and success stories.
  • The return of the crowd favorite Broadband Trivia!

Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Event Links

Register for Building for Digital Equity, Chapter 2 here to get the livestream links; on the day of the event, it will also be available on Twitter, via @netinlusion, @communitynets and @muninetworks

During the livestream, you can also join the trivia game (link to follow).

Note: There is no need to join the trivia game ahead...

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Posted May 18, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance's (NDIA) expanded National Digital Navigator Corps is running its first round of awards, and will support new projects at 18 sites around the country (including six in Tribal communities) beginning in the second half of this year. 

The deadline to apply via Letter of Intent is this Friday at 11:59pm, via this form. Applicants are asked to put together a 200-400 word summary of their project, including local needs, goals, potential impact, and any partners. More detailed instructions can be found here

From, NDIA, a description of the program

Digital navigators are trusted guides who assist community members in internet adoption and the use of computing devices. Digital navigators help demystify technology by providing one-on-one, ongoing assistance to connect residents to affordable internet, devices, technical skills, and application support. 

NDIA will select 18 partner organizations in rural areas or that serve Tribal and Indigenous communities, with a minimum of six organizations that serve Tribal and Indigenous communities, to host a digital navigator program as part of the National Digital Navigator Corps. Selected grantees will be trusted community-based organizations or local agencies, which will include nonprofits, social service agencies, libraries, and Tribal governments. 

Each applicant can apply for up to $389,000, representing a two-and-a-half-year commitment. The breakdown of those funds goes to everything from salary and benefits, to additional program management support, a device, data management, and indirect costs.

One bonus is that there is money for each new Digital Navigator set aside to attend the Net Inclusion conference during the second and third years of their tenure.

Applicants who submit Letters of Intent that pass the first round will be invited to submit full proposals by May 31, with winners notified at the end of July, and work beginning shortly thereafter.

This is an exciting opportunity with an organization that has quickly established itself as operating at the...

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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 March 29, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

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 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 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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Posted February 15, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio

We're living through a time with an unprecedented level of broadband infrastructure funding, fueled not only by the American Rescue Plan, but the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Hundreds of community-driven projects are already underway, but finding solid footing amidst these programs, statutes, and evolving rules is difficult. 

To help, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance is teaming up with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance for a two-hour livestream event to demystify the landscape. On Wednesday, March 16th, from 2-4pm ET, we're hosting an online conversation to bring together local stakeholders, policy advocates, and funding experts in one place. We're calling it Building for Digital Equity: Demystifying Broadband Policy and Funding.

But this isn't your average conference or webinar, with 45-minute panels that make your butt go numb and your eyes glaze over. Oh no. We're aiming for a fast-paced, fun, and most importantly interactive conversation between policy advocates, network builders, local officials, and anyone else interested in learning how we can ensure that the tens of billions in upcoming infrastructure funding goes to solving the connectivity crisis permanently rather than once again disappearing into the pockets of the monopoly Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The event will feature a mixture of short presentations, panels with Q and A across a bunch of different platforms (so you can watch wherever you want), and trivia with prizes.

The topic list will certainly grow, but right now it includes things like:

  • How to advocate to state legislatures to best prepare for the flood of federal money
  • What cities can do with Rescue Plan...
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Posted December 9, 2021 by Maren Machles

This week, we are releasing a bonus episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast, featuring a recent National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) webinar on the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) that recently passed in Congress. 

In this webinar, NDIA Policy Director, Amy Huffman breaks down the programs created by the more than $65 billion that’s been allocated to broadband infrastructure. Huffman explains how communities and organizations can be eligible to receive funds through the Digital Equity Act and sub grants through the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program.

For more information, including the video webinar with slides and a list of frequently asked questions go to this NDIA blogpost. 

This show is 56 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.

Read the transcript here. 

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 ...

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