On Monday, October 4, 2021 we had an amazing panel discussion on the benefits of community broadband. As the Arlington County Board takes tentative steps toward exploring the creation of a public option for broadband for all its residents, we thought it would benefit our Arlington friends and neighbors to hear how other communities are making use of their community-owned and community-oriented broadband networks to spur economic development, foster innovation, and bridge the digital divide. Our assembled group of public broadband practitioners from around the country talked to us about how their networks are making a major difference in their communities and gave us a great opportunity to learn and be inspired.
In addition to our, speakers we also heard from County Board member Christian Dorsey, who expressed the need to treat broadband as a utility and not a luxury commodity.
For a copy of Brad Nosler’s slides, click here.
For a copy of Bruce Patterson’s slides, click here.
Speakers and topics:
Deb Socia. Deb is President and CEO of The Enterprise Center, a nonprofit that nurtures innovation in Chattanooga, Tennessee with the goal of connecting people to resources and building an inclusive community. Growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem and the Innovation District, building digital equity, and supporting research and implementation of smart city applications are all a part of the organization’s focus. Prior to her current role, Deb was the Executive Director of Next Century Cities, a nonprofit that supports community leaders as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. A fun fact about Deb is that she previously served on Arlington’s Broadband Advisory Committee, so she is intimately familiar with our ConnectArlington network. Deb spoke to us about a range of innovative programs being enabled by Chattanooga’s municipal broadband network.
Brad Nosler, General Manager for HiLight, the City of Hillsboro’s (Oregon) municipal fiber optic broadband system. Brad has led efforts to build HiLight system operations from the ground up. Prior to joining the city, the vast majority of Brad’s professional career had been in the fast-growing cable/telecommunications industry. Beginning in 1983, he spent more than 33 years in the cable, telecommunications, and broadband industry, serving in a variety of leadership roles. Brad was previously VP of Marketing and Sales for Comcast and NBCUniversal from 2010 until 2016, and held positions of Senior Director of Product Marketing at Comcast; Director of Marketing with AT&T Broadband; and Director of Government & External Affairs for Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI). In his presentation, Brad focused on the HiLight network’s “Bridge” program, which is a ground-breaking approach to building digital equity in impoverished areas of Hillsboro. For a copy of his slides, click here.
Daniel Jones, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology Department of Portsmouth, VA. Daniel Jones has served as the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Portsmouth, VA since January 2016. Daniel strategically leads 33 employees encompassing three divisions of the Department of Information Technology. With more than 20 years of Information Technology experience, Daniel strives for a holistic approach to Information Technology through digital inclusion. Currently, key initiatives include the transformation of Portsmouth, VA into a Smart & Secure City as identified by City Council. Those initiatives include a municipal broadband fiber network and connectivity of unserved and underserved communities. Daniel spoke to us about how Portsmouth formed a broadband authority to undertake a number of public interest initiatives, particularly in the realm of digital equity.
Bruce Patterson, Director of Solution Services at Entry Point Networks, where he oversees all consulting projects, including network planning, feasibility analysis, network design, cost projections, construction oversight and network operations and management. Bruce is the recognized thought leader behind the ‘Ammon Model’ which includes Automated Open Access and a Business Model that mitigates risk for cities and creates local network ownership of infrastructure that is treated as a true public utility. In 2020, the Open Technology Institute released its annual survey of global internet costs and listed Ammon as network with the lowest cost for Gig internet access worldwide. Bruce was the Technology Director at the City of Ammon and responsible for network planning, design, construction, and network operations until his departure from the City in June of 2021. If you attended our last forum, you’ll remember Bruce gave a fascinating presentation on the “Ammon model”. During this presentation, he focused on the kinds of network innovations that a software defined network is capable of when implemented on a publicly-owned fiber to the home/premises network. For a copy of his slides, click here.