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2014 IAMU Broadband Conference Fast Approaching

The Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities is presenting the 2014 IAMU Broadband Conference on March 26 - 27. The event will be held at the Ramada Tropics and Resort Center in downtown Des Moines. (Psst! Take your swimsuit - there is a water park in the Resort Center!)

Christopher Mitchell will be presenting on March 26 along with Craig Settles at 10:15 a.m. Central. The discussion will focus on economic impacts of broadband. Check out the schedule to see the broad range of topics, speakers, and vendors.

You can register online or contact Curtis Dean at IAMU for more info on the event.

 

2014 Broadband Communities Summit In Austin, Texas Set for April 8 - 10

The 2014 Broadband Communities Summit is scheduled for April 8 - 10 in Austin, Texas.

Chris Mitchell will be speaking at 3 p.m. on April 8 during the Economic Development Program as part of the talk titled "Economic Development: The Killer App." Chris will be back on April 10th to speak during the Rural TeleCon segment. He will present information on the state of broadband in regions that continue to struggle with connectivity. The "Envisioning a Future for Broadband Deployment" panel from 11:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m. CST.

Other panel discussions in the Rural TeleCon segment will be:

  • The Bandwidth of the States: Where They Stand in 2014 (a quick review of broadband in all 50 states as stimulus projects roll out)
  • Financing Future Bandwidth
  • Disruptive Technology Is Spurring Learning In the Classroom
  • Measuring Prosperity from Rural Broadband Utilization
  • Cool Things Rural Communities Are Doing With Broadband

You can view the entire summit agenda online, review details about free workshops, and plan your trip. You can also register online for the event, to be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin.

Minnesota Broadband Conference February 4 - 5

Mark your calendar to attend Boarder to Boarder Broadband: A Call to Action on February 4 - 5 in St. Paul, Minnesota. The event is sponsored by the Blandin Foundation and a long list of organizations concerned with connectivity, economic development, and education ni Minnesota.

ILSR's Chris Mitchell will be presenting on February 5 as part of 9:15 CST Breakout Session, Broadband Infrastructure Development. Other Breakout Sessions are Digital Inclusion, Business and Economic Development, and Applications. A detailed agenda and speakers list is available [PDF].

A description of the conference from the registration page:

The time is ripe for Minnesota legislators and residents to have a “So what? Now What?” conversation about our shared aspirations for Border to Border Broadband:

  • The Governor’s Broadband Task Force is issuing their 2013 report and recommendations soon.
  • The director of the Office of Broadband Development will be in place in January 2014
  • Minnesota state legislators have been touring rural areas to hear directly from Minnesotans about their technology needs and dreams.

Conversations have been happening but…What does it all add up to?

The event will be at the RiverCenter in downtown St. Paul. Attendee tickets are $120 ($60 per day) and Exhibitors pay $300 or $60 if your organization is a nonprofit. You can secure your ticket by registering online. See you there!

Leadership Panel Set For November Broadband Communities Conference

In November 2012, Broadband Communities Magazine hosted the first of its Economic Development Conference Series in Danville, Virginia. The second conference, scheduled for November 5-7, 2013, will bring another group of leaders together in Tinley Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.

This year, the conference will focus on the Midwest with discussions about Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

As usual, our own Christopher Mitchell will speak there and will be generally available to discuss community owned networks with those who attend.

From the announcement:

We are assembling an outstanding multi-disciplinary roster of national, regional, and local experts who have extensive experience in using advanced communications capabilities to foster economic development and create jobs. We will examine what is working well, what is not, and what lies ahead, particularly as federal stimulus funding ends.

Our speakers will provide attendees a wealth of economic research, case histories, how-to materials, and other practical information that they can use effectively in their communities. We will address the latest "hot" topics, including Google Fiber, FirstNet, the Connect America Fund, the FCC's new Health Care Connect Fund, emphasizing their potential to foster economic development and job creation. We will also provide ample time for networking and learning about relevant cutting-edge products and services.

The leadership panel includes:

  • Jim Baller - Conference Chariman and President of Baller Herbst Law Group
  • Joel Mulder - Illinois Broadband Deployment Council, Illinois Municipal Broadband Association, and Senior Director of Business Development, G4S Technology
  • Gary Evans - Former CEO of Hiawatha Broadband Communications
  • James Salter - CEO, AEG
  • Susan Crawford - Roosevelt Institute Fellow
  • Lev Gonick - CEO, OneCommunity (as of July 2013)
  • Blair Levin - Executive Director, Gig.U
  • Diane Kruse - Former Chair, FTTH Council and President of Neo Fiber

You can register now until July 1 for the Special Early Bird Rate. The event will be at the Tinley Park Convention Center and the adjoining Holiday Inn offers a special rate for conference attendees.

Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition Gather in DC May 1-3

DC is the place to be May 1 - 3 to see how broadband and telecommunications policy will affect education, research, and healthcare. The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) annual conference will be at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

The conference this year is titled "Getting to a Gigabit" and speakers will address a range of issues that will impact community anchor institutions, including E-Rate, BTOP and BIP funded projects, new programs developed to address the digital divide, state and local government broadband programs, and the Universal Services Fund.

A range of talented speakers will present, including Lawrence Strickling from the NTIA. Sunne McPeak from the California Emerging Technology Fund, Blair Levin, and a long list of other distinguished professionals in telecom.

You can still register to attend and there are also sponsorship opportunities available.

Christopher Mitchell at Freedom to Connect 2013

My presentation from Freedom to Connect on why we should support Community Owned Internet networks. Unfortunately, the video starts about 1 minute into the presentation. Please leave feedback below.

Freedom to Connect Starts Monday, March 4

Freedom to Connect starts on Monday morning, March 4, at 9 AM EST and should not be missed. If you cannot make the live event in Silver Spring, Maryland, you can join from afar.

That's right, there will be a livestream and for a $25 fee, you can join the backchannel discussion.

This conference has some incredible presenters ... and also me - Christopher Mitchell - giving a keynote in the opening session. I'll also be joining the Democracy Now show at 8 AM EST to talk about community owned networks. They also have a livestream at their site.

 

SEATOA Conference Set for March 21st-22nd

This March 21-22, the SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SEATOA) will be hosting the "Networking Communities for the New South" conference. The conference will be held at the Omni Charlotte Hotel.

We are excited to see Susan Crawford as the keynote speaker. From the conference page:

She will provide a broadband policy reality check, and answer – among other questions –whether current so-called “level playing field”, “free-market” policies are leaving us with a second class network that only the rich can afford.

(For a preview, listen to Susan in a recent Broadband Bits Podcast. She talked about her recent book and discussed the need for long term U.S. telecom policy change.)

Check out the schedule and list of other speakers [PDF] and start planning your itinerary. You can also register online.

Some of the issues discussed will be:

  • Public and private resources
  • How to offer services to schools and other government institutions as a way to save costs and yet build a platform for high bandwidth use
  • Info on the Research Triangle Park's North Carolina Next Generation Network, (NCNGN - sounds like NC Engine)
  • The National Public Safety FirstNET and municipal network
  • How to build, operate, and integrate social media into, local Public, Education and Government (PEG) channels, and into your organization's lobbying campaigns to obtain optimal reach

Exciting Upcoming Events!

If we want to protect the open Internet and expand access to fast, affordable, and reliable connections, we need to organize. There are few better ways to organize or get inspired than in-person events with great speakers and time to chat with others.

I will be at both Freedom to Connect and the National Conference for Media Reform and strongly encourage you to sign up with the early bird rates now available.

The first is Freedom to Connect (F2C) just outside Washington, DC, at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland.

F2C: Freedom to Connect is designed to bring under-represented people and issues into the Washington, DC based federal policy discussion. F2C: Freedom to Connect revolves around three central topics.

The first is an open infrastructure owned or controlled by and responsive to the community it serves and whose resources it depends upon. The second is a publicly specified set of Internet protocols open to all who meet its specifications. The third is the use of the Internet to promote government of, by and for the people, and to counteract autocratic government power.

To learn who will address each topic, visit F2C. Below is a short video with some of the fun moments of this conference in 2012. (You can see the presentations and panels from 2012 here.)

Register by Jan 18 to get the early bird discount: $195. Don't forget, this event always has world-class music between sessions -- always a great experience.

NCMR Logo

One month after F2C, Free Press is holding the National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) in Denver on April 5-7.

I spoke at the last NCMR and will be on at least one, possibly several panels in Denver to discuss community owned broadband networks and Internet policy. This event attracts great people and the conversations in the halls around presentations never fail to inspire me.

Want to delve into the most pressing issues facing technology and the future of the Internet? Then check out the National Conference for Media Reform in Denver on April 5–7, 2013. Our conference is a three-day whirlwind that brings together the nation's leading thinkers and innovators to discuss policies and politics and how technology is shaping the world. Early-bird registration rates are available through Jan. 30, 2013, so sign up today.

There are big questions facing us in 2013. Will innovation and creativity flourish online, or will corporations lock the Internet down? Will communities have access to the technologies they need to solve the problems they face? How can we take on big companies and corrupted policymakers — and win?

Join many great speakers, including Susan Crawford, in Denver for NCMR. Register now for the early bird rate of $170. That rate expires at the end of January.

Help Get the Word Out About Community Networks

What will we be talking about that the National Conference for Media Reform in Denver, April 5-7 of 2013? Lots of things, but let's make sure Community Networks are on the agenda!

The National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) is a great gathering of enthusiastic people who want to build a better media that reflect the values of all America, not just corporate America. Free Press organizes the event every other year.

For the next 10 days, we can vote on what sessions we want to see at the conference -- and the process is very easy. Jump over to voting.freepress.net, fill out a simple 3 entry form, click on the confirmation email that is immediately mailed to you, and select the sessions you want to see.

There are a ton of great proposals, but we are really hoping to see a few sessions on community broadband, so we have a few recommendations. Given the importance of the Internet to distributing media, we need to make sure this conference has a strong suite of sessions discussing how we can improve universal access to fast, affordable, and reliable networks.

Our top recco is a session we proposed ourselves, Community Broadband Creates Jobs, Choices, and Cost Savings.

Below are some additional sessions we are also excited to see. Regardless of which sessions are picked (some may be combined), we hope to see you at NCMR!