Local Community Broadband: A Good Answer to Internet Connectivity

Merit Network

05/28/2020 - 12:00 to 13:00
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This presentation will explore some of the legal and regulatory issues posed by local broadband initiatives and public-private partnerships.

Jim Baller, President of Baller Stokes & Lide / President of Coalition for Local Internet Choice; Michael Watza, Partner, Kitch Drutchas Wagner et al/General Counsel to PROTEC.

During the last 25 years, Jim Baller has been involved in many of the leading community broadband initiatives and public-private partnerships in the United States, including more than 75 fiber projects. Since the early 1990s, he has also been a vigorous defender of local governments in dozens of battles in Washington and in the states over restrictions on the right of communities to control their own broadband futures. Jim will address the critical opportunities and challenges that communities considering broadband initiatives are likely to face.

Michael Watza has been a tireless advocate of local community self-governance and community broadband as a means for residents to overcome connectivity issues. Going head to head with an often overbearing telecommunications industry, Mike has helped several Michigan-based communities fight through legal barriers. He will discuss these experiences and touch on future projects currently in the pipeline.