Why community digital equity discussions should be in person

Iowa’s Department of Management (DOM) is kicking off a series of 50-plus town hall-style meetings to learn directly from residents what broadband and digital services they need. The in-person meetings, which DOM announced on March 6, started on March 14 and will run through late May. They will cover four topic areas: accessibility, affordability, digital devices, and digital skills. One reason the meetings are not available virtually is to emphasize local, in-person participation, said Matt Behrens, the state’s chief information officer.

Broadband equity means access and adoption, not just infrastructure rollouts

If governments are to truly close the digital divide, they must focus on encouraging community broadband adoption and making sure residents have tools to access high-speed internet, not just on installing infrastructure. While there has been a lot of recent talk about the need to better map broadband availability, panelists at Nextgov and GCN’s Emerging Tech Summit warned that there must also be a similar emphasis on ensuring that people can take advantage of internet access, or else some communities will not feel the benefits. And while investing in new broadband networks is a tangible way

More details emerge on NYC free internet pilot

Some low-income households in New York City will receive free broadband internet under a plan announced by Mayor Eric Adams (D-NY) during his State of the City address. Households with Section 8 vouchers in the Bronx and northern Manhattan boroughs of the city will be part of a pilot program that gives them access to free broadband. Pilot participants will be provided with access through the creation of a wireless mesh network.

Public Knowledge cites ‘inaccuracies’ in new broadband maps

Just days after the Federal Communications Commission released an initial draft of a national map showing the availability of broadband internet, some groups are criticizing what they see as the map’s shortcomings. A letter from Public Knowledge dated Nov.

Open access networks: 'A good cheap pipe’ for internet connectivity

The use of open-access internet networks to help close the country’s digital divide has excited many groups who see them as a viable connection strategy for communities where there is little fiber or competition between broadband providers, or where one incumbent provider dominates, as is the case in many cities. There are already some examples of successful open-access networks in the US, albeit driven by the local governments themselves.

Broadband’s rural reach: How electric co-ops reduce the digital divide

Electric co-ops are stepping up to close the digital divide. An effort in Virginia has connected 30,000 rural residents to the internet through fiber since 2017 and plans to hook up another 200,000 in the next three to five years. The work is being driven by the Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Association of Broadband Cooperatives, which was established to provide a “singular, unifying voice for cooperative broadband interests.” Co-operatives are not driven by profits.

Communities collect granular broadband data amid wait for better federal maps

States have begun to produce their own mapping data for Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) grant allocation.

How Odessa delivers broadband to homes and businesses at no cost to the city

In Texas, the Odessa City Council voted to allow the installation of infrastructure for citywide broadband internet under its streets by SiFi Networks in a deal worth more than $100 million. Under the terms of the 30-year contract elected officials agreed to, SiFi has access to all public rights-of-way to install, maintain and operate the fiber optic infrastructure necessary for an open access network.