Last month, Next Century Cities staff members visited the University of Virginia to host a master class on municipal broadband. They were invited by Dr. Christopher Ali, an Assistant Professor of Media Studies, and his undergraduate internet policy students.

Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities, and Cat Blake, Policy and Program Manager, led a day-long discussion about what makes broadband a local issue, what public network models exist, who the critical stakeholders are, and the barriers that stand in the way of local investment. The day also included research presentations from students who are studying municipal broadband initiatives in Virginia and beyond.

Much of the discussion was driven by student questions, such as:

  • How can we make broadband access a voting issue?
  • What can we do to address the lack of ubiquitous access to competitive broadband providers in the United States?

After such a successful class, Deb Socia noted, “If we all approach policy issues with this passion and thoughtfulness, the future of the internet will be in good hands.”