Today, Next Century Cities hosted City-Vendor Connect in partnership with KC Digital Drive’s Gigabit City Summit in Kansas City, Mo.


City-Vendor Connect, a “speed networking” event, paired dozens of cities looking for innovative partnerships to expand broadband access for their residents with multiple vendors offering a variety of proposed solutions. This format provided cities and vendors the opportunity to speak one-on-one in order to build relationships, discuss assets and needs, and create potential partnerships.


City-Vendor Connect hosted speed networking rounds for 22 vendors and 21 cities, including Next Century Cities members Chattanooga, Tenn.; Gulfport, Miss.; Kansas City, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; Spring Hill, Kan.; Upper Arlington, Ohio; and Montgomery County, Md. In addition to the speed networking rounds, two panel discussions with local leaders and vendors who have built successful broadband partnerships offered models and lessons learned to attendees.


City-Vendor Connect in Kansas City, Mo.


“City-Vendor Connect provided excellent opportunities for city leaders to get more information and make initial connections with vendors that can provide innovative solutions for community connectivity problems,” Next Century Cities Executive Director Deb Socia said. “We were excited to partner with KC Digital Drive for this effort. Today, we helped cities learn about and pursue models that can ensure more of their residents have access to high-speed, reliable broadband internet and the opportunities that come from this high-quality access.”


The first panel, “The Importance of City-Vendor Connections,” was moderated by Kansas City, Mo.’s Director of Policy McClain Bryant and featured Google Fiber’s New Initiatives Expansion Lead Yiaway Yeh, Principal at Baller Stokes & Lide, PC Sean Stokes, and Magellan Advisors’ VP of Digital Innovation Jory Wolf.


“The Importance of City-Vendor Connections.”


The second panel, “How Do You Finance a Network?”, was moderated by Next Century Cities’ Executive Director Deb Socia and featured KeyBanc Capital Markets’ Managing Director Tom Coverick, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s District Community Affairs Officer Tim Herwig, Municipal Capital Markets Group, Inc.’s Director Christopher Perlitz, Magellan Advisors’ VP of Digital Innovation Jory Wolf, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s Telecommunications Assistant Administrator Keith Adams.


“How Do You Finance a Network?”


Next Century Cities opened City-Vendor Connect to all vendors that registered through official channels. The organization does not support or endorse any specific vendor or broadband development model.


For more information about the event and a list of sponsors, visit:


If you represent and community or vendor and would be interested in hosting, sponsoring, or attending a future City-Vendor Connect event, please contact Deb Socia at