Next Century Cities, Schools Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition, and US Ignite Host Event on Broadband Goals to Transform Communities

Event Featured Bipartisan Senators and Local Broadband Champions on Current Broadband Achievements and Future Policy Goals for the New Administration

 

Washington DC (November 30, 2016) — Today, federal and local broadband leaders came together to discuss how to expand efforts to digitally connect communities nationwide and key broadband policy goals for the next Administration at Transforming Communities: Broadband Goals for 2017 and Beyond. The event, co-hosted by Next Century Cities, Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition, and US Ignite, showcased bipartisan broadband champions from the Senate, the Executive Branch, mayors, heads of anchor institutions, and policy experts.

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) moderated by Special Assistant to the President R. David Edelman, and a welcome address by U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling. It also included demonstrations of innovative civic applications enabled through gigabit technology. To watch the event livestream, please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5drVTSpH5g  

“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.”

The half-day event, taking place at Google’s DC office, included two impressive panels. The first panel discussing how next-generation broadband is already helping communities succeed across the country featured Next Century City members Mayor Dana Kirkham (Ammon, ID) and Mayor Andy Berke (Chattanooga, TN), and SHLB members Superintendent Dallas Dance (Baltimore County Schools), Colorado Telehealth Network CEO Ed Bostick, and Head of the Kansas City Public Library Crosby Kemper.

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

“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,” said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. “Today’s event highlighted local successes with broadband champions like Mayor Burke and Mayor Kirkham, and allowed us to hear from bipartisan senators and policy experts about how all levels of government can work together to continue broadband efforts in communities nationwide and build on these transformative achievements.”

Transforming Communities was sponsored by the Ford Foundation, Google Fiber, Internet2, and Harrison Edwards. For a full agenda of the event, complete with speakers, visit http://nextcenturycities.org/transforming-communities-broadband-goals-for-2017-and-beyond/  

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Next Century Cities is a city-to-city initiative of over 150 communities was founded to support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. As innovative municipalities across the country recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities, Next Century Cities will celebrate these successes, demonstrate their value, and help other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband. For more information, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.