Join Us for the Broadband Access Summit

Pew conference will explore ‘making the most of our nation’s investment in digital equity’

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Join Us for the Broadband Access Summit

Affordable, reliable internet is no longer a nice-to-have. It’s a must-have.

Unprecedented federal investments over the past two years will put affordable, reliable broadband within reach for all Americans. But these new funding opportunities, which mark the first time the federal government has provided states with funds explicitly for broadband deployment and digital equity, also come with significant challenges—including complex funding streams, staffing hurdles, and other barriers unique to individual states. But despite these obstacles, states have shown that they are ready to act, and some are already paving the way toward a more connected future.

Please join us in person or online for two days of discussions and workshops designed to equip attendees with the essential information and skills they need to get started on a path to broadband for all.

Attendees will have four tracks to choose from:

  • Planning and capacity building: Preparing for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program and Digital Equity Act planning processes by helping communities identify and meet their needs. Participants will learn about tools for initiating planning processes and empowering local leadership.
  • Partnering with intent: Building a shared understanding about how to work with other organizations to achieve meaningful outcomes and maximize scarce resources. Participants will leave with actionable guidance for ensuring that partnerships achieve programmatic goals and meet community needs.
  • Equity from the ground up: Supporting public leaders and their partners in achieving the equity goals outlined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and ensuring that the benefits are shared throughout the country. Participants will leave these sessions understanding how to build systems for equitable change and how to reach targeted populations.
  • Solution sessions: Developing solutions for core challenges facing state, Tribal, and local leaders and their partners as they implement federal funds, such as measuring impact and addressing workforce shortages. Participants will leave with specific solutions, clear action items, and discussion points for implementation in their own jurisdictions

Conference Agenda

June 21, 2022: Internet for All

5-5:10 p.m.

Opening remarks from Kathryn de Wit, broadband access initiative project director at The Pew Charitable Trusts

5:10-5:35 p.m.

Defining “internet for all” and how to best support state and local leadership: Fireside chat with Alan Davidson, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information and administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)

Speakers:

  • Alan Davidson, NTIA
  • Kathryn de Wit, The Pew Charitable Trusts

5:40-6:15 p.m.

Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and the digital divide: Discussing how a region’s investments in digital equity took shape and where future work will go.

Moderator: Bill Callahan, National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Speakers:

  • Dorothy Baunach, DigitalC
  • Wanda Davis, ASC3
  • Ricardo Reinoso, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority
  • Samantha Schartman-Cycyk, The Marconi Society
  • Felton Thomas, Cleveland Public Library
  • Catherine Tkachyk, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
  • Leon Wilson, Cleveland Foundation

6:20-6:55 p.m.

Paving a new path: Reviewing the new precedents established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—for internet access and digital equity—and what that means for funding implementation, the field, partners, and talent development.

Moderator: Kathryn de Wit, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Speakers:

  • Katie Hearn, Community Technology Project, Detroit
  • Ashley Pollard, City of Philadelphia
  • Angela Thi Bennett, NTIA

The evening will conclude with a complementary happy hour for attendees at the Renaissance.

June 22, 2022: Building for the future

8-8:30 a.m.: BREAKFAST

8:30-9 a.m.: Welcome remarks from Kathryn de Wit, broadband access initiative project director at The Pew Charitable Trusts

9-10:30 a.m.

Track: Planning and capacity building

What's in a plan? Breaking down the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program planning process, stakeholder engagement, and how to align those with digital equity plans.

Moderator: Amy Huffman, National Digital Inclusion Alliance

Speakers:

  • Zach Friend, County of Santa Cruz, California
  • Amanda Martin Herrera, NTIA
  • Maggie Woods, Institute for Emerging Issues
  • Kelly Workman, West Virginia Office of Broadband and West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council

Track: Partnering with intent

Scoping a role for philanthropy. Philanthropic leaders throughout the country are responding to a national call to action. Join us to learn how they can fill critical leadership, resource, and capital gaps.

Moderator: Jenny Choi, Media Democracy Fund

Speakers:

  • Kelty Garbee, Texas Rural Funders
  • Sarah Kinser, Arkansas Impact Philanthropy
  • Jerry Kuthy, Cameron Foundation
  • Danielle LaJoie, Groundworks New Mexico
  • Sarah Mann Willcox, North Carolina Network of Grantmakers
  • Chris Worman, Connect Humanity

Track: Equity from the ground up

Embedding equity in all aspects of implementation. Equity isn't limited to the Digital Equity Program. How can Tribal, state, and local leaders meet the equity goals outlined in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law?

Moderator: Christa Vinson, Rural LISC

Speakers:

  • Jessica Engle, Yurok Telecom
  • Alyssa Kenney, Wisconsin Broadband Office
  • Isabel Morgan, National Birth Equity Collaborative
  • Alvaro Sánchez, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Alisa Valentin, National Urban League

10:30-10:40 a.m.: BREAK

10:40 a.m.-12 p.m.

Track: Planning and capacity building

Supporting local leadership. Enabling local solutions requires expanding local leaders' expertise. This session will review several local capacity building and broadband planning programs, including the funding structures that supported them.

Moderator: Curtis Hansen, Appalachian Regional Commission

Speakers:

  • Adrianne Furniss, Benton Institute for Broadband and Society
  • Thomas Guerra, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
  • Chris Mitchell, Community Broadband Networks Initiative, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
  • Natalie Roper, Just Transition Fund

Track: Partnering with intent

Building partnerships with outcomes in mind. Organizations and businesses are eager to support digital equity goals, and communities should be prepared to benefit from those partnerships. What do Tribal, state, and local leaders need to consider as they build partnerships?

Moderator: Francella Ochillo, Next Century Cities

Speakers:

  • Adrienne Bradley, Community Impact SDOH, Promedica
  • Corey Bryndal, Region 10, Colorado
  • Jeremy Crandall, National Association of Community Health Centers
  • Danny Peralta, The POINT
  • Sarah Tennant, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
  • Kristi Westbrock, Consolidated Telephone Company

Track: Solution sessions

Meaningful coordination between levels of government. How can state, local, and Tribal governments work together and share information, resources, and assets to achieve goals for BEAD, the Digital Equity Act, and more?

Moderator: Tamarah Holmes, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development

Speakers:

  • Tom Curtin, National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices
  • Adam Geisler, Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth, NTIA
  • Earnie Holtrey, Indiana Broadband, Office of Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch
  • Jason Inofuentes, Albemarle County, Virginia

12:15-12:55 p.m.: LUNCH

Plenary discussion and audience Q&A

Speakers:

  • Joey Wender, Capital Projects Fund, U.S. Department of Treasury
  • Kathryn de Wit, The Pew Charitable Trusts

1-2:30 p.m.

Track: Equity from the ground up

Experiencing the benefits of connectivity. How do we ensure that all communities can access the opportunities broadband offers? How can states and localities learn from and partner with organizations and agencies in workforce development, health care, and education to achieve their goals?

Moderator: Roberto Gallardo, Purdue University Center for Regional Development

Speakers:

  • Bhaskar Chakravorti, Tufts University’s Digital Planet Initiative
  • Traci Morris, American Indian Policy Institute, Arizona State University
  • Amy Sheon, Public Health Innovators, LLC
  • Felicia Sullivan, Jobs for the Future
  • Peter Voderberg, BroadbandOhio

Track: Solution sessions

Measuring impact. More research is needed to understand digital equity funding's impact. From the overall effects of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law dollars to the connection between digital equity and outcomes in specific populations, we must develop meaningful methods of measuring and evaluating this work. What systems exist, and how can we adapt them to this moment?

Moderator: Anna Read, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Speakers:

  • Rafi Goldberg, NTIA
  • Hernán Galperin, University of Southern California
  • Nicole Marwell, University of Chicago
  • Fallon Wilson, #BlackTechFutures Research Institute & Multicultural, Media, Telecom, and Internet Council

2:40-3:50 p.m.

Track: Equity from the ground up

Building ecosystems for advocacy. State and local coalitions, as well as regional partners, have been crucial allies in universal access and digital equity initiatives. What role can they play now, and which models can be applied for specific outcomes?

Moderator: Coralette Hannon, AARP

Speakers:

  • Katherine Bates, NTIA
  • Oleta Fitzgerald, Children’s Defense Fund of Mississippi, Southern Rural Black Women's Initiative
  • Henry Greenidge, Tusk Strategies
  • Lauren Moore, New York Library’s Digital Equity Coalition

Track: Solution sessions

Building the broadband workforce. Staffing is top of mind for leaders within and outside government. From the people needed to build, operate, and maintain networks to the digital navigators and stewards who will help improve community accessibility, how can program leaders work with industry, academic institutions, and community organizations to build up the necessary workforce?

Moderator: Samantha Schartman-Cycyk, The Marconi Society

Speakers:

  • Katie Hearn, Detroit Community Technology project
  • Eric Leach, Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, Ohio
  • Danny Peralta, The POINT
  • Felicia Sullivan, Jobs for the Future
  • Jon Schnur, America Achieves
  • Rachael Stephens, Workforce Development & Economic Policy, National Governors Association's Center for Best Practices

Ask Me Anything

How can research play a role? Research institutions will play a vital role in the coming years, from evaluating the impact of funds to working with government and industry to fill critical information gaps—join this session to discuss what’s needed and how those partnerships may evolve.

Expert: Johannes Bauer, Quello Center, Michigan State University

4-4:45 p.m.

Ask Me Anything

Join subject matter experts from across the country for open discussions covering emerging issues and immediate challenges facing broadband practitioners.

  • Building broadband knowledge. From the differences between fiber and cable to building your professional skills, join this session to learn from experts leading broadband training and credentialing programs across the country.

    Experts:

    • Chris Mitchell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
    • Samantha Schartman-Cycyk, The Marconi Society
  • What’s next in broadband financing? With new authority for bonding and broadband increasingly being treated as community infrastructure, how should communities and partners work with financial institutions to build their capital stacks?

    Experts:

    • Jordana Barton-Garcia, Barton-Garcia Advisors
    • Doug Dawson, CCG Consulting
    • Rachel Halfaker, Milken Institute
    • Christa Vinson, Rural LISC
  • Addressing skills gaps in state, local, and Tribal broadband offices. Whether it’s building a website or meeting a short-term staffing need, meet partners who can provide specific tools and resources to add expertise and capacity to state, local, and Tribal broadband efforts.

    Experts:

    • Krista Canellakis, U.S. Digital Response
    • Susan Corbett, National Digital Equity Center and DITTO
    • Cassandra Madison, Tech Talent Project
    • Kyleigh Russ, Govern for America

4-4:45 PM: Open networking

4:45-5 PM: Closing remarks by Kathryn de Wit, The Pew Charitable Trusts

The evening will conclude with a complementary happy hour hosted by Schmidt Futures.