Today, Next Century Cities co-hosted Transforming Communities: Broadband Goals for 2017 and Beyond in Washington DC, partnering with the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), and US Ignite to discuss important broadband goals for the future following November’s election. The half-day event brought together broadband champions from the US Senate, the Executive Branch, and other federal, state and local agencies, as well as community leaders, including mayors of Next Century Cities member communities, heads of anchor institutions, and policy experts.

 

All Transforming Communities panels can be viewed below:

 

 

The event featured remarks from Senator John Boozman (R-AR), a fireside chat with Senator Angus King (I-ME) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), which was facilitated by Special Assistant to the President R. David Edelman, and a welcome address by U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling.

Senators Angus King and Amy Klobuchar, David Edelman at Transforming Communities.

Senators Angus King and Amy Klobuchar, David Edelman at Transforming Communities.

 

Because Next Century Cities, US Ignite, and SHLB all exist to support communities and help community leaders transform the lives of citizens nationwide through the power of high-speed internet access, the event was aimed at the policy goals needed to expand broadband in 2017 and beyond.

Transforming Communities featured keynote conversations and panel discussions on how to expand current broadband efforts in communities nationwide and key policy goals and needs for the next Administration. It also included demonstrations of innovative civic applications enabled through gigabit technology.

The half-day event included two impressive panels. The first brought together Mayor Dana Kirkham (Ammon, ID), Mayor Andy Berke (Chattanooga, TN) with Superintendent Dallas Dance (Baltimore County Schools), Colorado Telehealth Network CEO Ed Bostick, and Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library, Carrie Coogan to discuss how to leverage high-speed internet for success in local communities nationwide. The panel was moderated by Next Century Cities Policy Director Chris Mitchell. 

Chris Mitchell, Carrie Coogan (sitting in for Crosby Kemper), Dana Kirkham, Ed Bostick, Dallas Dance at Transforming Communities

Chris Mitchell, Carrie Coogan (sitting in for Crosby Kemper), Dana Kirkham, Ed Bostick, Dallas Dance at Transforming Communities

 

The second panel focused on on broadband priorities for the next administration, and featured Counselor to the FCC Chairman Gigi Sohn, Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford, Economic Development Director for Winthrop MN, Mark Erickson, and Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute Blair Levin. The panel was moderated by Google Fiber Community Impact Manager, Clarissa Ramon.

Clarissa Ramon, Mark Erickson, Gigi Sohn, Blair Levin at Transforming Communities. Not pictured: Susan Crawford

Clarissa Ramon, Mark Erickson, Gigi Sohn, Blair Levin at Transforming Communities. Not pictured: Susan Crawford

 

Senators Boozman, King, and Klobuchar all spoke to the importance of broadband at the event, saying:

“Broadband is a vital component to our nation’s 21st century infrastructure and our federal policies must reflect this. Right now, a digital divide exists between rural and metropolitan areas which we must overcome,” Senator Boozman said. “I’m proud to join with other public and private sector leaders who share the goal of expanded access to broadband and I look forward to  discussing how we can reach this objective.”

“As we think about how we can equip ourselves with the tools to build a successful future, it’s clear that one of our top priorities must be working to expand next-generation broadband and connecting more Americans to 21st century infrastructure – and that effort must be spearheaded across all levels of government,” Senator King said. “High-speed broadband will enable people across the country, regardless of whether they live in rural Maine or New York City, to realize unprecedented economic, educational, and cultural opportunities. That’s why today’s event, which brought together a bipartisan coalition of voices to champion how broadband can transform our communities, is so vitally important.”

“Access to high-speed, reliable broadband has become a fundamental part of participating in the national and global economy. It is essential that we work together to ensure people across our country are connected to broadband in their homes, schools, and businesses,” Senator Klobuchar said. “Everyone, from the farmers in rural Minnesota to those in our towns and cities, must be able to log-on and participate in this new digital economy.”

 

For more information on the event and a list of sponsors, visit: http://nextcenturycities.org/transforming-communities-broadband-goals-for-2017-and-beyond/