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Next Century Cities Connects Local Leaders to FCC Geoffrey Commissioner Starks

Next Century Cities is committed to providing a platform for members to connect with federal leaders about their on-the-ground experiences in towns, cities, counties, and villages nationwide. Municipal administrators and advocates are experts on how federal policies impact broadband access and adoption in their communities, insights that are needed to inform federal policymaking. 

On November 5, 2021, local leaders met with the Office of Federal Communications Commission’s (“FCC”) Commissioner Geoffrey Starks to discuss outreach strategies and implementation challenges related to the Emergency Broadband Benefit (“EBB”) among residents in their communities. The local officials represent municipalities in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Southwestern areas of the United States. 

Commissioner Starks and his staff listened intently. Local leaders detailed their experiences working to educate residents about potential eligibility for the EBB. They also shed light on hiccups in the registration process, such as confusion about participating providers and the need for assistance filling out applications.

Local leaders emphasized the role that community partners, such as nonprofit organizations, played in helping to get the word out about the EBB and navigating the sign-up process. Additionally, a Southwestern community shared details about a program designed to engage and educate residents about digital devices.  

Throughout the meeting, local leaders echoed one another’s sentiments that local governments and community organizations need funding for community outreach. They also requested that the FCC provide stronger support for community organizations working to promote the program. Finally, local officials reiterated the need for the FCC to provide more granular EBB participation data. 

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