Next Century Cities Event in Lexington, KY Teaches Lessons for Financing Next-Generation Broadband Projects
Public and Private Sector Leaders Joined Together to Discuss Approaches and Options for Broadband Financing, Citing Kentucky’s Success
Lexington, Kentucky (September 17, 2015) – Today, Next Century Cities, a city-to-city collaborative of over 100 communities focused on next-generation Internet access for all, held the Financing for Next Generation Broadband event in Lexington, Kentucky, bringing together mayors, elected officials, business leaders, and community members to share best practices and discuss approaches to broadband financing.
The event attendees heard a keynote from Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, and from Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Lori Flanery who headlined a panel on how Kentucky is achieving statewide ‘middle mile’ infrastructure through an innovative public-private partnership. The half-day, four panel Next Century Cities event, sponsored by KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., was held as a special session during the Broadband Communities Magazine’s larger economic development conference Fiber for the New Economy.
“Communities across the country are seeking more information about how to finance the type of projects that will build critical 21st century broadband infrastructure for their citizens,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “Today’s important discussions provided a unique opportunity for community leaders to learn about a wide variety of options and hear success stories that they can build on. We are sure that the information shared by public and private leaders today will help communities nationwide make the right choices for their unique broadband infrastructure efforts.”
“We welcome broadband leaders to Lexington as they learn about ways to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable and accessible broadband Internet,” Mayor Gray said. “Lexington is working to become a gigabit city. As a member of Next Century Cities, we’re eager to share lessons learned from the work happening here and throughout Kentucky. High speed Internet is critical to our economic competitiveness and quality of life.”
Additional panels during today’s event looked at issues such as how to overcome barriers and solutions to financing projects that build out the ‘last mile’ of broadband infrastructure, which makes fast internet speeds accessible for communities. At the panel Champaign, Illinois Mayor Deborah Feinen and Dr. Robert Wack, City Council President of Westminster, Maryland shared their own lessons learned.
A panel of business leaders, including Lev Gonick, CEO of OneCommunity, and Joanne Hovis, President of CTC Technology & Energy, looked at the variety of options that communities can pursue when working to obtain high-quality Internet access for their citizens. The final panel of the day featured experts including Kenneth Kuchno with the USDA Rural Utilities Services and Mark DeFalco with the Appalachian Regional Commission, who discussed the options that exist for federal support for local broadband initiatives. A full agenda and list of speakers for today’s event can be found here.