All posts by CLIC

The Secret to Smart Policies About Smart Cities

On July 23, 2018,  Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U, and Nonresident  Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Project, provided opening remarks at the Next Century Cities Making Connections Regional Broadband Summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In a powerful speech,  he identified “learning” as the secret to smart policies about smart cities, and then widened  the lens  to show us what he has learned. Using various examples, he described how the FCC’s latest approach will not get us closer to a solution on how to facilitate the deployment of next generation networks because the FCC intends to restrict the very entities, local governments, that are best equipped to solve this challenge. In Mr. Levin’s analysis, it is local governments that  are best positioned to move this country forward, because they represent and understand the environment where those deployments will take place.

  • Read his full speech here
  • Next Century Cities’ video of his presentation can be found here

Blair Levin on Cities, the FCC and Gigabit Networks

On June 26, 2018, Blair Levin, Executive Director of Gig.U, and Nonresident  Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Project, provided keynote remarks at the Kansas City Gigabit Summit.  As he did in Austin, Mr. Levin again took the FCC’s BDAC process to task, and suggested better ways for cities and carriers to advance 5G networks — such as through smart local negotiations, among other options. We provide an excerpt of his prepared remarks below, with the full text linked at the end.

Cities, the FCC and Gigabit Networks

Blair Levin,  Brookings Institute, Metropolitan Policy Project

It is pleasure to be with you today.

I open many speeches that way but here I really mean it.

The reason?

This summit symbolizes the enormous vision, and a great achievement, of cities.

When I first spoke here, at the first gigabit summit in 2013, it was shortly after over 1000 communities had expressed an interest in having gigabit broadband networks.

By contrast, only one carrier was interested in offering gigabit internet service—Google. All the other carriers dismissed gigabit networks as a PR stunt; something done for bragging rights but irrelevant to creating consumer value.

Now, five years later, hundreds of cities have gigabit offerings and all the carriers are upgrading their fixed and mobile networks to offer such speeds as fast as they can. Charter has even declared this season “Gigabit Summer.”

Further, the federal government is saying that getting gigabit speeds on our mobile networks is a national imperative and failure to do so threatens our economy and national security.

This is a big and welcome change. The federal government is recognizing what cities and those of us here in 2013 already knew: that our policies should ensure that bandwidth never constrains economic growth or social progress.

Unfortunately, one thing hasn’t changed; the federal government’s view of its own role in helping achieve that goal.  It is:

1.  Make cities do all the hard work, pay all the government costs and accept all the blame for whatever happens; and

2. Let the federal government pay none of the costs, do none of the hard work, and take all the credit.

The first speech by an FCC Chair about Gigabit networks was in 2013.  He was concerned that Google Fiber and a project I was doing, Gig.U, were proceeding without his involvement so gave a speech to get the FCC in the game of gigs.

His policy prescription?

He challenged the audience to build a gigabit network in every state.


He provided no analysis of why they don’t exist, no insight into barriers that can be removed, and no policy to improve their prospects. He simply offered the moral equivalent of the ‘hearts and prayers’ kind of leadership that does nothing but make the speaker feel better.

called that speech the “most amateurish speech ever given by an FCC Chair” that “bordered on the absurd.”

I can be very bi-partisan in my criticism.

But at least that speech did not set us backward.

Unfortunately, the current FCC is on a path, to do exactly that.

…the FCC has curiously interpreted its statutory mandate to dramatically reduce its regulatory powers over broadcasters, ISPs, telephone companies, cable companies, and wireless companies, while simultaneously asserting new authority to regulate and micromanage…local governments.

As I detailed in a speech a few weeks ago in Austin—one I will summarize rather than repeat–the current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has curiously interpreted its statutory mandate to dramatically reduce its regulatory powers over broadcastersISPstelephone companiescable companies, and wireless companies, while simultaneously asserting new authority to regulate prices and micromanage over one set of enterprises: local governments.

A major tactic in the FCC’s effort to regulate cities is through its Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) process. The stated, and worthy, goals of the BDAC are to accelerate and broaden deployment of next-generation broadband networks and reduce the digital divide.

However, the BDAC suffers from significant failures of design and execution. The failures are threefold.

First, the BDAC did not have a balanced membership that could have lead to a real consensus between stakeholders.

The BDAC should have been designed to generate ideas that optimize outcomes for all stakeholders and build a political consensus that makes it more likely that those ideas will be adopted and implemented successfully.

Unfortunately, the FCC overwhelmingly filled the BDAC with industry representatives and therefore undercut its potential to build political capital for a balanced and optimal set of solutions.

Rather, the FCC has spent its political capital reinforcing a false narrative about how cities are the cause of delays in 5G deployments while ignoring the real, market-driven causes of delay.

Second, the BDAC started from the false assumption that industry does not have the leverage to negotiate the deals it needs to make investments in new networks.

The carriers themselves recognize they have the necessary leverage.

Google Fiber changed the traditional negotiating leverage by saying that it would build, but only in places where city government adjusted their policies to make it economically feasible.

And that framework applied to all carriers.

Consider what AT&T said about the impact of the Google Fiber process. Noting that municipalities had made it “’easy’ for Google Fiber, AT&T, in a pleading to the Broadband Opportunity Council, wrote that Google has “also essentially established a template for lowering existing regulatory barriers in other jurisdictions. That template, in turn, has allowed other providers to accelerate and broaden their plans for deploying the infrastructure necessary to provide high-speed Internet service.  That has certainly been true for AT&T.”

Consider what Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam recently noted, “Cities are embracing us to come in and provide this broadband service for the citizens… .” He further said Verizon would walk away from cities that want too many concessions, adding, “there’s no market that’s not on the table.”

The pièce de résistance demonstrating the ability of carriers to work things out with cities without federal interference involves the carriers and San Jose. They were antagonists in the BDAC process, with the carriers supportive and the Mayor of San Jose, one of two big city representatives, resigning and blasting the process. He observed, “At the 11th hour, we saw industry rewrites that pushed aside everything that had been negotiated for an industry-friendly, cookie-cutter set of rules.”

But those parties were able to negotiate terms that all thought fair and allow the companies to begin 5G deployments. Notably, the deals include having the companies contributing to a digital inclusion initiative and helping the city pay for accelerated permitting.

Let’s engage in a thought experiment: What if the FCC in 2011 had said that fiber deployment was critical to the future security of the United States and therefore mandated that every city should give Google Fiber the same deal that Kansas City gave Google?

I am certain that there would have been a huge uproar with all saying that such a mandate is crazy, unnecessary, and a clear usurpation of local power to benefit a large private enterprise.

That is, however, what the BDAC/FCC process appears to be moving to—a single federal mandate for how cities should price their rights of way and manage local construction for the benefit of a select group of companies.

Third, BDAC did not understand the value of asymmetric value creation.

I am often a big fan of asymmetry. In 10 years of practicing corporate law, as well as in being involved with dozens of deals between cities and next-generation network providers during the heart of the Gig.U effort, I saw how every successful deal involves asymmetric value creation.

That is, the two sides don’t want the same thing. So, the trick is to find the things that cost side A little and create considerable value for side B, with side B doing the same for side A. Both, in this way, get more than they give. That value creation may be asymmetrical but the idea of both getting more than they give is hugely powerful.

The BDAC, however, ignored this kind of value creation. Instead, it focused exclusively on what cities could do to improve the profitability of the carriers. It did not ask—obviously it was not interested—in what it would cost the cities. It involved the kind of cost-benefit analysis in which the costs to one side are ignored and only the benefits to the other side are considered.

…I expect the BDAC and the FCC will adopt a framework in which the industry gets all the benefits with no obligations and municipalities will be forced to bear all the costs and receive no guaranteed benefits.

Due to these three failures, I expect the BDAC and the FCC will adopt a framework in which industry gets all the benefits with no obligations, and municipalities will be forced to bear all the costs and receive no guaranteed benefits. This kind of process will result in a large transfer of wealth from public to private enterprises—and leave American cities and metropolitan areas no better positioned to tap into digital telecommunications to unlock innovation and shared economic prosperity.

So how should cities respond to a BDAC that ignored their voices, market realities and any principles of fairness and shared rights and obligations?

I think it would be wise for cities to establish their own working group to establish best practices, work collaboratively to find solutions to new problems, and generally lower the cost of deployment…..

Read his full text here.

And also at the Benton Foundation website here.

Remembering Why: Broadband Leadership for the 21st Century Economy

Some things are worth repeating. Recognizing that North Carolina was at the vanguard of technology deployment in the 1990s, CLIC’s North Carolina chapter, NC Broadband Matters, engaged a keynote speaker in April who received a standing ovation after he spoke about how North Carolina can be a technology leader again. The speaker, four-term Governor James B. Hunt (1977-1985, 1993-2001) drew praise and laughter from his audience, as he advised a large crowd at the North Carolina Rural Center that the key to broadband leadership for the 21st century economy is for them to engage in their own future and not believe “those who tells you your dream is not possible.”

Governor  Hunt parlayed his lessons from growing up on a farm in rural, eastern North Carolina to speak to the importance of establishing access today to modern Internet infrastructure for everyone in the state. He talked about how North Carolina residents stepped in and organized to preserve the things they knew they needed to survive, and to ensure “a good life” for their communities.  He talked about how the farmers organized when they worried that the lifeblood of their livelihood—their soil—was blowing away, and how they relied on themselves to improve their community. He spoke of the peaks in technology changes imprinted in his memories, such as the day his grandmother first obtained electricity and the election of state officials who changed dirt roads to paved roads.

As he put it: “Why did I say all this? To tell you there have been many times throughout our history when we have seen the needs of people and we have thought about it, and we planned about it, and we decided to do some real things, some big things, some important things to improve our lives.  And we have done it.  Don’t you sit here today and think that what folks have talked about here is impossible.”[1]

 “We got electricity put in by working hard understanding what it could mean to your life, to your family, and your community, and people worked hard to get electricity

Hunt reminded the audience that North Carolina was the first state to deploy fiber across the state in 1994. He and his colleagues called it an “information highway” and he remembered how no one knew what that meant and instead suggested it was impossible. “Now, it was difficult to explain it to people. When you’re going to do big things in the public, you have to talk to people about your ideas. First of all, they have to be based on people’s needs, and then you have to talk to them about the idea you have, and they have, and develop an approach to it. I remember how difficult it was to explain this to a lot of the legislators. And everybody else, really. And we were asking to put funding into it. ‘What do you mean you want $7 million for an information highway…? ‘” [2]

 “We have built this country. We have built our communities. We saw what we needed to have, to have a good life for our families, our children, our communities, and we have gone out there and historically done something about it.

Throughout his message, Hunt noted the importance of public-private partnerships and bipartisan support. “We all came together and talked about this new technology; What it was and how it worked and we talked about how we could have it. Well, we developed a public private partnership; and it took alot of educating. It took alot of thinking, it took alot of educating people, and deciding to do things. And figuring out how to do them. Which is what you are working on now. We got our first appropriation of $4 million, and Governor Cooper of Nashville and Representative Charles Preston from Catawba County led that for us, always approaching this in a bi-partisan kind of way. And we got that approved and started got it moving forward in the General Assembly.[3]

And then, slowly, Hunt read, one by one, a list of 32 counties in the state that still do not have access to 25Mbps/3Mbps internet access (the FCC’s definition of the minimum level of broadband needed to fully participate in modern life). He spurred the audience on: “I am glad you had a background that has made you aware of the need for all of this. And the potential for it, and a sense that it can be done.  Don’t you let people tell you this can’t be done. I know the financing challenges are big. You have some people here with some money. All that tobacco money does not have to go to Wilson County,” he said, to laughter. “There’s a lot of different ways to do it, you know.” [4]

 “I think it’s time we make a big decision that we’re going to do it in a big way. We are going to help all of our people. Give everybody who lives in North Carolina, every child and family, the chance to be all they can be.

Governor Hunt closed by challenging the audience to believe in themselves and in their long history.  And not to be satisfied with low expectations. He said “we’re talking about opportunity, we are talking about equal opportunity, we are talking about full opportunity. To become all that you can be and ought to be.  You folks can make that happen. This work can help make that happen. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We’ve done things bigger than this before. This country has won wars. North Carolina has built a great economy. Think about where we are here today.”

“… let’s don’t be satisfied with low expectations and leaving people out and not becoming what we can be. I am proud of you all. Everyone of you is here for a purpose. You’ve got a job to do in this. You sense what’s possible.  I can tell it in your faces… So I commend you. I am proud of you.  Let’s make North Carolina all that it can be.

All that it should be.

All that it must be.” [5]

See more on twitter at  #NCBroadbandMattersNOW

[1] Governor Hunt Speaks: Part 1: 13:22

[2] Governor Hunt Speaks Part 2 at :54.

[3] Governor Hunt Speaks Part 2 at 2:27

[4] Governor Hunt Speaks Part 4: at 0:17

[5] Governor Hunt Speaks Part 6 at 5:08

Blair Levin Keynote at CLIC Austin: The BDAC, 5G and Cities: The Power and Perils of Asymmetry

On April 30, 2018, at CLIC’s event in Austin, Blair Levin, Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the  Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Project, gave a powerful keynote speech focusing on the FCC’s BDAC process which included his prediction that its primary result will likely be the asymmetrical transfer of wealth from the public to private enterprises with no associated public obligations for that benefit. We provide an excerpt of his written speech below, with the full text linked at the end.  

The BDAC, 5G and Cities: The Power and Perils of Asymmetry

 Blair Levin,  Brookings Institute, Metropolitan Policy Project 

The most significant meta-theme about governance in the United States today is that the federal government is dysfunctional and disrespected but that local governments are responsive, pro-active, effective and respected in building communities that improve the lives of their residents.

I see that not just in the press and academic writings, but also in my own experience in dealing with the federal and scores of local governments.

It also shows up in the polling data.  More than two-thirds of members of both parties express trust in local governments while the number of Americans expressing trust in the federal government is below 20%. Arguably, as former Indianapolis Mayor and now Harvard Professor Stephen Goldsmith argues, such numbers understate the trust citizens should place in local governments.  No one is saying the same for the federal government.

This causes me to believe, both as a philosophical and practical matter, that a key to moving this country forward is to give local governments more authority and freedom.

This puts me at odds with my twice-former employer, the FCC.

Today I am going to discuss the relationship between the FCC and cities and make  several policy suggestions for accomplishing goals stated by both sides.  I will also describe why cities should just ignore the FCC—other than to sue it—but that cities should develop a more productive relationship with carriers in helping accelerate the deployment of next generation networks to their residents and enterprises.

But what I am really going to discuss is the power and perils of asymmetry.

Before I get to that, I would like to note two historic achievements of the current FCC.

First, this the first FCC that has defined joke writing as an integral part of the deliberative policy process.

You might think I am joking.

But this FCC has, not once but twice, denied Freedom of Information requests for information about joke videos involving Chairman Pai on the grounds that the providing the information would impair the FCC’s, and I quote, “deliberative process.”

I have a personal conflict here, having participated in writing jokes for five different Chairman.

I would hate for early drafts to ever go public.  You can’t really write good jokes without writing a bunch of bad ones.  Believe me.  My personal ratio of bad to good is at least 50:1.

Nonetheless, despite many hours in the writers’ rooms’ session, I don’t recall any deliberative policy process.

Of course, my memory might have been impaired.  As the gospel of the writers’ rooms note, the jokes don’t write themselves.  Jim Beam does.

So while I am sympathetic to the FCC trying to keep those emails private, I wish the FCC lawyers had come clean and responded to the FOIA requests by admitting the videos were really not very funny.  Therefore, it simply is not in the public interest that unbelievably even lamer, earlier drafts of bad jokes ever become public.

But this FCC either believes that joke writing is actually part of its deliberative process or, like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland, it believes that words mean whatever they want them to mean.

Which brings us to the second historic accomplishment of this FCC: it is the first FCC to interpret its statutory mandate to say it doesn’t have much legal authority or policy rights to regulate broadcasters, telephone companies, cable companies, or wireless companies.  Instead, its principal regulatory mandate is to regulate another set of enterprises: local governments.

Well, if you have the talent to classify joke writing as part of the deliberative policy process, you certainly have the talent to argue that FCC stands for Federal Constraints on Cities.

And that, in turn, brings us to the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) process.

Its stated, and worthy, goals are to accelerate and broaden deployment of next generation broadband networks, and reduce the digital divide.

Will the process help achieve those goals?

If one ignores the DC rhetoric and focuses on market incentives, the analysis suggests probably not.  Instead, the primary result of the process will likely be to transfer wealth from the public to private enterprises.

If the FCC wanted to, as I will discuss at the end, it could take action to assure that the wealth transfer would not occur unless the deployment and digital divide goals were met.  Instead, however, the BDAC and the FCC will likely adopt a framework in which industry gets all the benefits with no obligations and municipalities get all the costs and no guaranteed benefits…. Read more here.

Come join CLIC in Austin Monday, April 30: The Vital Role of Local Internet Choice

Please join us in Austin this Monday, April 30, for CLIC’s latest half-day program which will take a deep dive into  “The Vital Role of Local Internet Choice.” Our full agenda is here.  Emphasizing the positive, we will showcase successful local initiatives reflecting the benefits of local control for the community’s economic and broadband future. We will discuss the factual and legal arguments that work best in refuting the new wave of objections to community broadband and public-private partnerships. And we will finish with a deep dive into the experience of a small rural community, Westminster, MD,  that furnishes an excellent example of how the public and private sectors working together can build a great community and an inclusive and advanced workforce.

This is all part of the Broadband Communities’ Fiber Putting Your Gigs to Work summit (April 30-May 3) . One day passes are available if you can’t make the entire event. You can register here. CLIC members can sign up with our $350 discount rate for the entire 4 day conference by using the code CLIC2018.  And follow us via #CLICAustin.

CLIC Strongly Rebukes FCC BDAC Process and Outcome

Dramatically Undercuts Local Governments Ability to Improve and Accelerate National Broadband Access

In a strongly worded letter submitted on April 12, 2018, CLIC has communicated to the FCC its deep concerns regarding the selection process and associated restrictive outcomes of its Broadband Deployment Advisory Council (BDAC). As CLIC states: “The Commission’s startling failure to include adequate local government representation in the BDAC process… has unsurprisingly resulted in BDAC recommendations that would undercut the important potential of local governments to help improve and accelerate broadband access and availability throughout the nation.”  CLIC’s letter details the failings of the BDAC member selection process and sets forth eight specific concerns with Article 12 of BDAC draft model state code. Our full letter can be found here.

Join CLIC in Austin to learn how broadband is MAGIC for economic development

Join us on April 30 in Austin as CLIC hosts local community officials for a half-day of discussion on “the Vital Role of Local Internet Choice.” One session will offer an in-depth look at how the small Maryland city of Westminster has successfully built and utilized community fiber-to-the-premises.

Westminster has built and owns the fiber network all the way to the home and business.  Its private partner, Ting Internet, which is known for its “crazy fast fiber internet” and spectacular customer service, leases the dark fiber and provides Internet service.

Westminster’s leaders consider Internet infrastructure a must-have. “In a world that is increasingly dependent on data every day, if you don’t have good broadband you’re going to be left behind,” said Robert Wack, president of the City Council and a speaker at CLIC’s event. Westminster envisions itself as a place whose residents can live away from the big city but still prosper, by telecommuting to city-based jobs and by using fiber as a platform to start a business.

The City’s role is focused on infrastructure and future-looking investment.  “Public sector entities epitomize ‘patient capital,’” he said in a December 2015 Broadband Communities article.  Localities “are able to make long-term investments with no pressure to expect fast, high margin returns. Local governments routinely spend millions of dollars on infrastructure with the only expectation of return being the long-term beneficial impact on the local economy… which ultimately allows them to maintain tax revenue without rate increases.”

And the City’s fiber network has become MAGIC for its economic development — the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, that is. A joint effort of the City, Ting Internet, and a local wireless network company, MAGIC is a technology incubator — a “collaboratory” – focused on local high school and college-age students. MAGIC offers students a technology meeting place, “challenge based” tech learning events, classes, and a pathway to internships and employment.

Come learn how your community can replicate the Westminster experience as part of our CLIC half-day event on April 30 in Austin. CLIC members can register here for both our CLIC program and the Broadband Communities Summit conference at our CLIC discount rate of $350 by using the code CLIC2018. If you’re not yet a member, join here (it’s free).

Join CLIC in Austin April 30 to hear Local Community Broadband Success Stories

Come to CLIC in Austin on April 30 to discuss The Vital Role of Local Internet Choice on the first day of the 2018 Broadband Communities Summit. Hear stories of community broadband successes from North Carolina to Detroit, and take them home to refute the false narratives about community broadband efforts being peddled in D.C. and in various state legislatures.

We know that great nations are built on great cities and towns. And local communities across the country, of all political stripes, are stepping up to secure their economic futures by deploying modern broadband networks – the new roads of an economy now dependent on the Internet. They are engaging in public-private partnerships or building their own internet roads where others decline. Yet, despite this laudable leadership, local governments are frequently portrayed by industry lobbyists as impediments to rapid broadband deployment, particularly next-generation wireless. Traditional local powers, they claim, should be sharply curtailed or even preempted.

In sharp contrast, numerous successful local initiatives reflect the benefits of local control and involvement.  For example, public-private partnerships are popping up all around North Carolina. Multiple counties are working with Open Broadband to identify areas of need and then use local resources to address those needs. Gaston County partnered with Open Broadband to bring to Belmont free public Wi-Fi along the downtown main street and Internet service to public buildings and a local innovation center,TechWorks of Gaston County. TechWorks is using its new Gigabit connectivity to serve its new collaborative workspace (a repurposed textile factory) to enable entrepreneurs.

Come to Austin and hear from Open Broadband, Tech Works and many others. CLIC members can register here for both the half-day CLIC program and the Broadband Communities Summit conference at our CLIC discount rate of $350, by using the code CLIC2018. Or become a member of CLIC by joining here (it’s free).

Come to CLIC @BBC-Austin April 30 to Discuss “The Vital Role of Local Internet Choice”

What better place to talk about how vital “Local” is than in the uniquely local community of Austin, Texas. Come join us on Monday, April 30, in Austin, for CLIC’s important strategy session on “The Vital Role of Local Internet Choice,” at the foot of the Broadband Communities’ conference: “Fiber: Putting Your Gigs to Work.”

Great nations are built on great cities and towns. Over the last few years, communities across America have come to realize that their ability to achieve greatness, or even success, in the years ahead will depend on their ability to acquire affordable access to fiber-rich communications networks. That is so because fiber networks, like electric power systems a century ago, are platforms and drivers of simultaneous progress in just about everything that is important to communities, including economic development and competitiveness, education, public safety, health care, transportation, environmental protection, government services, democratic discourse and much more.

As a result, diverse local communities across the country are increasingly stepping forward to secure their communications futures by working with willing incumbents, entering into partnerships with new entrants, establishing their own networks or developing other creative options that work for them. On top of this, the Federal Communications Commission’s recent elimination of network neutrality protections has fueled a surge of interest in public broadband networks. At the same time, the communications industry has mounted an aggressive campaign to undermine local authority. Before Congress, the FCC, the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and numerous states, the industry has sought to portray local governments as impediments to rapid broadband deployment, particularly next-generation wireless broadband. Traditional local powers, they claim, should be sharply curtailed or even preempted.

So join us at 1p.m. in Austin on April 30, where we will continue to help local communities and our allies  be as effective as possible in opposing barriers to local Internet choice. Emphasizing the positive, we will showcase successful local initiatives reflecting the benefits of local control for the community’s economic and broadband future. We will discuss the factual and legal arguments that work best in refuting the new wave of objections to community broadband and public-private partnerships. And we will finish with a deep dive into the experience of a small rural community that furnishes an excellent example of how the public and private sectors working together can build a great community and an inclusive and advanced workforce. The full agenda can be found here.

CLIC Members can register here with our CLIC discount ($350) using the code CLIC350 or CLIC2018. This registers you for CLIC and the entire BBC conference (May 1-3rd). Or become a member of CLIC by joining here (it’s free).

CLIC-Colorado Uses Video to Teach Legislators the Value of Local Net Choice

Here is a great example of how to use video to teach your state legislators why local communities need local internet choice. CLIC’s Colorado Chapter, CCUA, produced this short video to put their message in a nutshell. They utilized real-life stories from small businesses, schools and healthcare providers to emphasize the message that access to the 21st century internet is equivalent to access to electricity in the 20th century: You can’t live without it, Their message: “The time is now for state and local governments to be part of the solution.” For more information, contact Todd Barnes at