Citizen advocates in Arlington, Virginia, are calling on the County Board to establish a broadband authority. A broadband authority would be able to provide faster, more affordable internet service options for Arligton residents. On August 19, 2020, community leaders hosted a forum to discuss the nature of the digital divide and possible solutions, particularly a public option for broadband.
Next Century Cities’ Executive Director Francella Ochillo was invited to provide insights on the digital divide in Arlington and ways to increase broadband adoption. Holly Hartell, Assistant CIO for Strategic Initiatives at Arlington County Department of Technology, shared background on municipal efforts to promote digital equity. Bruce Patterson, Technology Director, in NCC member municipality, Ammon, Idaho, described The Ammon model. He reminded community advocates and residents that building a network would be a challenge but was entirely possible. Other panelists included Gigi Sohn, Distinguished Fellow at the Georgetown Law Institute for Technology Law & Policy and a Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate, and Robert Bridgham, Executive Director of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority (ESVBA).
Click here to review the Broadband Authority for Arlington petition.