Connections Blog

Register Now for the Broadband Communities Conference in the Nation’s Capital from October 30-31st

Mark your calendar for October 30-31, 2019,  in our nation’s capital and come join CLIC and  Broadband Communities for two days of intense discussion devoted to broadband policies and practices that are impacting our local economies.

Wednesday morning starts with “The Big Picture: Washington Experts Tackle the Critical Broadband Issues” moderated by Washington, D.C. broadband policy expert Jim Baller, and featuring Joseph Wender, Senior Policy Advisor to Senator Ed Markey, Nicole Turner-Lee, Brookings Institute Fellow at the Center for Technology Innovation, Douglas Kinkoph, Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and a senior representative of the Federal Communications Commission.

Two days of workshops will then cover broadband and economic development from multiple angles, including, funding, technology, community broadband, public-private partnerships, the future of work, strategies on how to bring modern internet infrastructure to those without access and much more.

Vint Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google

Thursday afternoon closes with CLIC’s seminal event: A Conversation about Local Internet Choice in the 2020s, featuring two extraordinary visionaries in the field. Here, Joanne Hovis, CLIC’s CEO, will engage Vint Cerf, an Internet Pioneer and currently VP and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, and Jon Sallet, former FCC general counsel and author of the Benton Foundation’s publication, “A Vision for the 2020s: Access to Broadband in the Next Decade” in a penetrating exploration of our broadband future. Through this extensive conversation among Joanne, Vint, Jon, and the audience, we will explore the optimal policies and best practices for local broadband decision-making and how these might inform policy making for the coming decade at all levels of government.

CLIC members qualify for the discount rate of $150, by using the code CLIC-DC19. Register now and register here. (This rate includes both conference days and meals.)  Or become a CLIC member by signing up here. It’s free.

CLIC Announces Recipients of 2019 Local Internet Choice Awards

WASHINGTON, DC – The Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) today at 2 P.M. will announce the recipients of CLIC’s 2019 Local Internet Choice Awards. CLIC established its national awards to honor individuals and organizations for their extraordinary contributions to the preservation and protection of local decision-making in critical broadband infrastructure matters. These awardees will be honored during CLIC’s opening ceremony on April 8, 2019 in Austin, Texas to kick off our program, Action Plan for Local Internet Choice for 2019 and Beyond.

The 2019 Local Internet Choice Award recipients are:

Local Internet Choice Federal Policy Champion
Blair Levin, Gig.U – For his timely, thoughtful, persuasive, and amusing speeches and writings in support of federal policies that would preserve, protect, and, where necessary, restore local internet choice.

Local Project of the Year
Roanoke Valley Broadband Authority – For operating a financially sound, fully transparent, and state-of-the-art open-access fiber system that has been a driver and platform for robust economic development; that has caused commercial internet and data transport service prices in the region to drop by as much as 30 percent; that has attracted many new providers serving public, private and residential customers; and that has enabled businesses across all four of its member communities to report more service options than ever, allowing them to grow, thrive and compete locally, nationally and internationally.

Local Internet Choice Local Courage Award
Jeff Wilson, IT Director, Holly Springs – For his visionary and exemplary leadership and courage in guiding his Town on how develop a fiber to the home network after his community was bypassed by fiber movements in the region. Jeff recommended and advocated for the community to build its own fiber backbone to serve their public institutions, and this ultimately led to a private company (TING) utilizing that fiber and bringing Gigabit fast, fiber to home service to Holly Spring residents and businesses, and far earlier than the same services were offered to neighboring Research Triangle communities.

• Public Partner of the Year
Westfield Gas & Electric – For developing a state-of-the-art fiber network in its home town and then putting the knowledge and experience it gained to good use as the public partner in fiber projects in 20 other rural communities in Western Massachusetts. WG&E not only played a leading role in obtaining financial assistance from the state government, but it is also designing, constructing, and operating the systems. In the words of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, “This is big.”

Private Partner of the Year
Ting Internet – For its continuing excellence as the private partner in a growing number of public-private fiber-to-the-premises partnerships in Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. Ting is proving that all concerned can benefit from a visionary and well-executed business strategies that focus on helping communities meet ambitious goals driven and supported by advanced communications capabilities, that emphasizes excellent customer relations and careful cost management, and that targets reasonable profits and long-term growth.

Local Internet Choice Vanguard Innovator Award
The City of Wilson – For the City’s extraordinary, ongoing leadership in bringing advanced communications services and capabilities to the businesses, institutions, and residents of its community and for being at the vanguard of the development of creative, highly valuable uses of fiber networks. Among many other things, Wilson has spurred its region’s emergence as an innovation economy, featuring advanced skills workforce development and the area’s first Innovation Hub, called the GigEast Exchange.

In a Partisan Era, Local Broadband Transcends Partisanship: Join CLIC in Austin April 8

Join us April 8th in Austin for CLIC’s half day strategy session that includes an in-depth discussion on how partisanship seems to disappear at the local level when building broadband infrastructure.

During our half day focus detailing An Action Plan for Local Internet Choice in 2019 and Beyond, we will first widen the lens to federal and state policy levels, where partisanship seems stark, as we uncover legislation and regulations that could help or hurt local broadband choice. We will hear from Netflix on why local internet choice matters to their disruptive company, and the day then finishes by narrowing the lens to the local level.

From 4:30-5:30 p.m., “In a Partisan Era, Local Broadband Transcends Partisanship” will feature community broadband experts including Will Aycock, General Manager for Wilson Greenlight; Bill Vallee, State Broadband Policy Coordinator for Connecticut; Nathan Watkins, City Manager and Dwight Thomas, Director of IT and Broadband, Mont Belvieu, Texas, who will tell us their stories on what it took to build this critical infrastructure in their communities. Hear the refreshing stories on how local businesses and residents came together with a common cause. Hear the challenges they faced; but how they overcame them.

CLIC members can attend our April 8 event and all three days of the BBC “Putting Your Gigs to Work” conference at a deeply discounted rate, by registering here by March 29 and using the code CLIC410. Or become a CLIC member. It’s free!


Join CLIC in Austin April 8 to Discuss Our Action Plan for Local Internet Choice for 2019 and Beyond

Join us on April 8 in Austin as CLIC hosts a half day session on An Action Plan for Local Internet Choice in 2019 and Beyond. CLIC panel discussions will include strategic policy discussions at the federal and state levels, featuring national experts, Angelina Panettieri, Principal Associate, Technology and Communications, for the National League of Cities; Nancy Werner, General Counsel of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors; and Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities.

Panettieri, Werner, and Socia will join CLIC officers Jim Baller & Joanne Hovis for a focused discussion on Washington 2019: Challenges & Opportunities for the Local Broadband Future. Recent conversations emerging from Washington reaffirm what the CLIC community has always known: the opportunities and challenges of local broadband exceed geographic boundaries. We’ll review the impact of a new Congress and the Trump administration placing local broadband under the national spotlight, whether new local network options are available as the USDA rolls out its new $600 million in rural broadband funds, and whether the FCC will continue to intrude upon traditional local powers. Our state and local panel speakers can be found here.

CLIC Members can attend our April 8 event and all three days of the BBC “Putting Your Gigs to Work” conference at a deeply discounted rate, by registering here and using the code CLIC410. Or become a CLIC member. It’s free!

Dr. Robert Wack Joins CLIC Board of Advisors

CLIC is delighted to announce that Dr. Robert Wack, a renowned pioneer in community broadband, has joined the CLIC Board of Advisors.

Robert currently directs a regional strategy to leverage technology and broadband in the delivery of health care services. He serves as medical director of the continuum of care at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Maryland and previously served the hospital as director of the pediatric unit.

Robert is president of the Westminster, MD Common Council, where he championed and led development of the renowned Westminster fiber network. He also serves as board chair of MAGIC, the Mid-Atlantic Gigabit Innovation Collaboratory, an economic development non-profit with the mission of realizing the transformative potential of the community-wide gigabit fiber network. 

Robert Wack earned his MD from Georgetown University and completed his pediatric internship and residency at Tripler Army Medical Center as an officer of the United States army.

CLIC welcomes Robert to our board of advisors and thanks him for his many years of effort on behalf of local internet choice and better broadband.

Netflix to be a Featured Speaker at CLIC’s Event in Austin, April 8

Peter Cohen, Netflix Partner Engagement Manager

CLIC is proud to announce that Peter Cohen, Partner Engagement Manager at Netflix, will be a featured speaker during our CLIC half day event on April 8 in Austin. Peter will be speaking on “Why Disruptive and Innovative Companies Support Local Internet Choice” at 4pm, following two sessions which will address the challenges and opportunities for local internet choice presented by a new Congress and varied state legislative dynamics.

Join our strategic discussion on April 8 in Austin as CLIC provides An Action Plan for Local Internet Choice in 2019 and Beyond.  CLIC members can attend our April 8 event and all three days of the BBC “Putting Your Gigs to Work” conference at a deeply discounted rate, by registering here and using the code CLIC410. Or become a CLIC member. It’s free!

CLIC Supports Arkansas Republican Women Legislative Caucus Initiative to Remove Municipal Broadband Restrictions: HB150

Arkansas Republican Women Legislative Caucus introduce their Dream B.I.G. agenda

Background:  Twenty-one Arkansas Women Republican State Senators and Representatives wanted it to be clear that Arkansas’ lack of rural broadband was in a state of emergency. As part of their DREAM “B.I.G.” agenda, the Arkansas Republican Women Legislative Caucus sponsored rural broadband legislation on January 23rd, that sought to unleash their rural municipalities to apply for over $1 billion in USDA grants.

As originally written, SB150 would have removed most restrictions on municipalities that do not operate their own electric utilities by putting them on par with municipalities that do operate electric utilities. (Municipal electric utilities in Arkansas already have the right to provide communications services other than traditional local exchange services.)  After SB150 moved from the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee to the Senate floor, the broadband municipal broadband restrictions were re-imposed on those communities that do not operate electric utilities , and a new provision was added giving them the right, alone or with a private partner, to apply for loans or grants to serve unserved areas and to provide services in such unserved areas pursuant to grants or loans received. 

On February 15, CLIC wrote a letter of commendation and support to the Arkansas Republican Women Legislative Caucus, complimenting their bold and important step to ensure universal broadband availability in Arkansas.

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February 15, 2019

Arkansas Republican Women Legislative Caucus

Senator Breanne Davis, Senator Cecile Bledsoe, Senator Jane English, Senator Missy Irvin; Rep. Deanne Vaught, Rep. Sonia Barker, Rep. Mary. Bentley, Rep. Karilyn Brown, Rep. Sarah Capp, Rep. Frances Cavenaugh, Rep. Carol Dalby, Rep. Charlene Fite, Rep. Robin Lunstrum, Rep. Rebecca Petty, Rep. Nelda Speakes, Rep. Michelle Gray, Rep. Cindy Crawford, Rep. Jana Della Rosa, Rep. Julie Mayberry, Rep. Gayla Hendren McKenzie, and Rep. Laurie Rushing

SubjectCLIC support for Rural Broadband Legislation SB150

Dear Members of the Arkansas Republican Women Legislative Caucus:

We write to thank you and your colleagues for your work to promote local internet and broadband choice and opportunity.

We write in our capacities as women leaders of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC), a nonpartisan entity that represents a wide range of public and private interests who support the authority of local communities to make broadband internet choices that are essential for economic competitiveness, democratic discourse, and quality of life in the 21st Century.

CLIC believes that our national interest requires that local communities have the authority to engage in broadband projects through whatever means best suits the local community, as is determined by their elected officials. Such means can include a wide range of options, including partnerships with private entities, public networking, and facilitation of private ISP investment.

We were delighted to see that your Caucus’s “Dream B.I.G.” legislative agenda included SB150: An Act to Amend the Telecommunications Regulatory Reform Act of 2013; to Provide Additional Access to FCC-Defined Broadband Service; to Declare an Emergency. The original version of SB150 would have removed the state’s legal barriers that currently prevent municipalities from doing their part to help deploy broadband in their communities. When that version of SB150 passed the Senate Insurance and Commerce Committee, it sparked hope for a better future for the businesses, institutions, and residents of Arkansas. Unfortunately, the far more restrictive version that passed the full Senate represents a step backward, as it ties the hands of local communities to determine their broadband destinies.

We stand with you in this bold important step to ensure that no child or family is denied access to educational, healthcare, public safety and economic opportunities unleashed by access to broadband because of where they live. We hope to have the opportunity to support your efforts.

Please let us know who we should contact in the near future to work together.

Sincerely,

Join CLIC in Austin April 8, 2019 @BBC’s Broadband Summit

Austin, the Capitol of Texas

Add Austin to your April 2019 travels plans by joining CLIC on April 8, 2019, to discuss our Action Plan for Local Internet Choice for 2019 and Beyond. We’ll be coming together on the first day of the Broadband Communities Annual Broadband Summit, held at the Renaissance Austin hotel. CLIC members qualify for a discount to all three-days of this BBC event.

During our half day CLIC session, national legislative experts and local champions will address the challenges and opportunities for our local broadband future created by a new Congress in Washington and the FCC. We will examine issues ranging from broadband infrastructure funding, to yet more FCC regulatory initiatives that could intrude on traditional local powers. We will then delve into the 2019 state legislative year and discuss how new state proposals have hampered or helped local broadband deployments. Our afternoon will close with bi-partisan success stories from various local communities who will share their strategies on how to manage the politics of local broadband initiatives. See our diverse range of speakers here.

CLIC Members can attend our April 8 event and all three days of the BBC conference at a deeply discounted rate, by registering here and using the code CLIC410. Or become a CLIC member. It’s free.

Join CLIC in Austin April 2019 at BBC’s Broadband Summit

Add Austin to your 2019 travel plans! Come join CLIC on April 8, 2019, on the first day of the Broadband Communities Annual Summit, scheduled from April 8-11, 2019 at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin.

On April 8, CLIC will detail its Action Plan for Local Internet Choice for 2019 and Beyond. During this half day session, national legislative experts and local champions will address the challenges and opportunities for our local broadband future created by a new Congress in Washington and the FCC. We will examine issues ranging from broadband infrastructure funding, to yet more FCC regulatory initiatives that could intrude on traditional local powers. We will then delve into the 2019 state legislative year and discuss how new state proposals have hampered or helped local broadband deployments. Our afternoon will close with bi-partisan success stories from various local communities who will share their strategies on how to manage the politics of local broadband initiatives.

CLIC Members qualify for a BBC conference discount by registering here and using the code CLIC410. Or become a CLIC member. It’s free.

CLIC Responds to FCC Commissioner O’Rielly: Community Broadband Increases Democratic Discourse

FCC Commissioner O’Rielly has recently made some claims regarding risks to the First Amendment that he sees as arising from community and municipal broadband efforts. The Commissioner makes clear his unhappiness with municipal broadband efforts generally, but particularly calls out what he considers to be First Amendment concerns that arise from community provision of communication services.

As proponents of local internet choice and community-based decision-making, we note simply that one of the many driving public policy considerations that leads to community broadband efforts is the recognition by local governments that the broadband internet is increasingly the platform on which America’s democracy lives and on which civic discourse thrives. Without affordable, robust access to the broadband internet, Americans are cut off from the critical policy and political debates of their local communities and of the nation.

Across America, many localities have stepped in where the private sector has failed to provide the abundant and affordable connectivity that their communities need.  In so doing, these localities have increased, not decreased, the number and variety of voices participating in our national democratic discourse.  The FCC should appreciate and applaud the deep commitment of America’s localities to equity and opportunity with respect to speech and civic discourse.

–Joanne Hovis (CLIC CEO) and Jim Baller (CLIC President)