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A National Inflection Point: The Intersection of Research & Education Networks and Sustainable Digital Equity Initiatives

May 25 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm EDT

A Series of State Case Study Virtual Workshops


Beginning in March of 2020, access to broadband became a social determinant of health, education, work, and economic security. The world realized that broadband Internet is a utility as essential as electricity and potable water.

While the federal government and many states have made a wise decision to provide billions in capital funding to achieve broadband equity, the tough part will be sustaining and maintaining (and, ideally evolving) these infrastructures over the next 5, 10, or 20 years.

With money going directly to states, territories, and indigenous Tribes, there are now 60 states and territories and 574 Tribal Nations, each organizing their own plan to implement broadband access and adoption in unique cultural, geographic, and demographic areas. This series will help you learn from some of the most progressive.PANEL OVERVIEW

Connecting California:  From Community Perspectives to Funded Projects

California, the world’s fifth biggest economy, is 20 months into the first element of the state’s $6.8B digital equity initiative, the $3.8B middle mile component. Join the Marconi Society and community and broadband leaders from California for a conversation about creating the state’s middle mile network to learn about key strategies, lessons learned and next steps in creating digital opportunities in the world’s fifth-largest economy.

This panel will address the following topics:

  • Successful strategies that are applicable in other environments
  • Braiding together funding and programs from multiple sources
  • Strategies for sustainability beyond federal and state capital funds
  • Approach of the state’s Indigenous Tribes
  • The roles and relationships between public and private entities to cover the country’s most populated state

Panelists include:

  • Louis Fox, Moderator, President & CEO, CENIC; Founding CEO, GoldenStateNet
  • Kevin G. Harbour, Sr., President, BizFed Institute
  • Rachelle Chong, Consultant, Government Relations, GoldenStateNet
  • Sylvie Wong Cosgrove, Executive Director for IT Infrastructure, Stanford University
  • Barbara Hayes, Chief Economic Development Officer, Rural County Representatives of California
  • Erik Hunsinger, VP, Infrastructure, GoldenStateNet
  • Tony Naughtin, President & Chief Operating Officer, GoldenStateNet
  • Matthew Rantanen, Director of Technology, Southern California Tribal Chairmen’s Association
  • Connie Stewart, Executive Director of Initiatives, CalPoly Humboldt, & Chief Policy Advisor, California Center for Rural Policy

Meet the panel