On March 3, 2022, Next Century Cities hosted a regional broadband convening in partnership with the City of South Bend, Indiana, and Pew Charitable Trusts. State and local leaders and broadband advocates from across Indiana joined virtually and in-person to discuss connectivity barriers and strategies to improve broadband access and adoption.
Mayor James Mueller and Denise Reidl, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of South Bend, discussed city WiFi expansion and COVID relief efforts that connected over 4000 students, enabling them to continue learning safely from home.
Tom Bliss, Executive Director of the Southeast Nebraska Development District, shared success stories about regional collaborative efforts that started with collected broadband data. Earnie Holtrey, Program Manager for the Director of the Indiana Broadband Office, reiterated the ongoing need for relationships between local and state officials.
Bloomington CIO and Director of Information Technology Rick Dietz joined American Connection Corps Fellows Reneisha Rudder, Emma Woods, Gary Thompson, Iris O’Donnell Bellisario, and Cory Knipp in a conversation about digital inclusion efforts across the state.
Andy Berke, Special Representative for Broadband at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and former mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee, closed out the event with a call for equitable broadband deployment across the United States.
Check out some highlights below from the convening. We can’t wait to see you at our next gathering!
- Best Practices in States Nationwide with Kathryn de Wit, Project Director, and Jake Varn, Principal Associate, at The Pew Charitable Trusts
- How Federal Funding Can Help Accelerate Local Broadband Goals with Andy Berke, Special Representative for Broadband at NTIA and former mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee
- How a Regional Mapping Initiative Evolved Into a Statewide Collaboration with Tom Bliss, Executive Director, Southeast Nebraska Development District
- Insights from a State Broadband Office with Earnie Holtrey, Program Manager for the Director of the Indiana Broadband Office of Lt. Governor
- How NCC Municipalities Are Changing Broadband Outcomes for Residents with Corian Zacher, Senior Policy Counsel for Next Century Cities, and Brian Donoghue, Deputy Director for Next Century Cities
- Bloomington’s Digital Equity Plan and Local Collaborations Across Indiana with Bloomington CIO Rick Dietz and American Connection Corps Fellows Reneisha Rudder, Olivia Hayworth, Gary Thompson, Iris O’Donnell Bellisario, and Cory Knipp
- Media: South Bend hosts broadband conference with state and national partners (WVPE)
- Reference Materials: Indiana Resources
- Photos from Peter Ringenberg Photography