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Preconference Program
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
9:00 am – 5:00 pm

An Action Plan for Local Internet Choice in 2017 and Beyond

Great nations are built on great cities and towns. During the last few years, local communities across America have come to realize that their ability to achieve greatness, or even success, in the years ahead will increasingly depend on their ability to acquire affordable access to fiber-rich communications networks. That is so because fiber networks, like electric power systems a century ago, are platforms and drivers of simultaneous progress in just about everything that is important to communities, including economic development, education, public safety, health care, transportation, environmental protection, energy, government services, democratic discourse, entertainment, and much more.

Today, a large and rapidly growing number of communities are aggressively seeking access to advanced communications capabilities by working with willing incumbent carriers, entering into public-private partnerships with new entrants, building their own networks, or developing other creative approaches. In these endeavors, the key to successful outcomes is the ability to choose among the options that work best for the community. Unfortunately, in many locations local Internet choice is constrained by legal or other barriers.

The coming year will be critical for local Internet choice. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to invalidate the portions of state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevented Wilson and Chattanooga, respectively, from expanding their robust, high-speed broadband network to their neighbors who were living in a digital desert. The Court’s ruling left standing the FCC’s findings regarding the benefits of local broadband, but its decision limits the FCC’s authority to remove unnecessary and harmful restrictions on community broadband providers. As a result of this decision, CLIC’s and your work to preserve, protect, and advance local choice are now more important than ever.

Over the next year, CLIC and its allies must redouble our efforts to make local Internet choice a national priority at all levels of government, to oppose new state barriers proposed in the wake of the Sixth Circuit decision, and to roll back the existing state legislation that limits community-led broadband projects in nearly 20 states.

Join us for CLIC Day in Minneapolis, where we will break down how we expect 2017 to impact the ability of communities to make Internet choices at the local level and develop a game plan for all of us—community advocates, government officials, private sector leaders, and members of CLIC—for going forward. We’ll bring together some of the key thought leaders in our field to discuss what lies ahead for local Internet choice. We’ll review effective messaging tools that can make conversations about broadband and local choice issues positive and productive. We’ll share from the field about building support for Internet choice at the local and state levels. We’ll also develop specific action plans together to make local Internet choice a consensus issue across America in 2017 and beyond!

8:45 am - 9:00 am
Welcome to Minneapolis & Introductions

Jim Baller – President, CLIC
Joanne Hovis – CEO, CLIC
Jodie Miller – President, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors

9:00 am -10:30 am
Local Internet Choice in 2017 and Beyond
In this session, prominent national opinion leaders representing a range of disciplines and political points of view will frame the issues for the day through a discussion of the critical role of cities in driving the national economy and achieving other national, state, and local goals; the importance of advanced communications capabilities to the success of localities across America; the damage caused by legal and other barriers to local Internet choice; the key opportunities to advance local Internet choice; and the best approaches to building national consensus on the benefits of local Internet choice.

Joanne Hovis – CEO, CLIC
Jim Baller – President, CLIC

Blair Levin – Communications & Society Fellow, Brookings Institution
Berin Szoka - President, TechFreedom
Heather Gold – President, Fiber to the Home Council
Derek Slater – Head of Policy Strategy & Campaigns, Google Fiber

10:30 am -11:00 am
Coffee and Networking Break

11:00 am -12:00 pm
Crash Course on Effective Messaging for Technology Issues
Let’s face it—people’s eyes glaze over when they hear about complex technological issues.  This session brings together a group of seasoned technology communications professionals.  During the session they will discuss how to control the message surrounding local Internet choice, how to meet objections to Internet choice, how to reach the right people, how to structure the message for the audience, etc. 

Adrianne Furniss – Executive Director and Trustee, Benton Foundation

Noah Theran – Director of Communications, Internet Association
Ellen Satterwhite – Director, Glen Echo Group
Deb Socia – Executive Director, Next Century Cities
Danna Bailey – VP Communications, Chattanooga EPB

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm   
Lunch: 2016 CLIC Awards & Keynote Presentation: The Future of Local Internet Choice
How issues of local Internet choice and other communications issues are likely to fare in the next administration.

Keynote Speaker:
Gigi Sohn – Counselor to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

1:30-2:20 pm 
How to Garner the Support of Local Elected Officials for Local Internet Choice
Making the case to local elected officials that the community can and should play a significant role in broadband can be an uphill battle.  In this session, we hear from the communities that have made the case for local Internet choice and won.  How did they make that happen?  What stakeholders had to be engaged from the beginning and who engaged them? What bi-partisan messaging did they use? What communications were necessary before, during and after a decision to proceed to keep the momentum on the side of local Internet choice? What time frames were at play? 

Catharine Rice – Project Director, CLIC

Will Aycock – General Manager, Greenlight Community Broadband, City of Wilson, NC
Monica Webb – Head of Government Relations, Ting Interet
Robert Wack – Council President, City of Westminster, MD
Joey Durel – Former Mayor, City-Parish of Lafayette, LA

2:20-3:10 pm        
Engaging with State Legislatures and Other State Officials on Local Internet Choice
All too often a local community’s or communities have begun to plan and organize to build a new broadband network, only to learn that a state legislator has introduced a state bill that removes their authority to do so, or that sets up barriers the effectively prohibits them from obtaining this 21st Century infrastructure. This workshop will focus on the role of state legislators play in facilitating or blocking local Internet choice. It will provide lessons drawn from a variety of states on how various players lobbied, and conveyed their goal of protecting and pursuing local Internet choice, and even perhaps after losing, how they continue the campaign.

Ashley Stelfox – General Counsel, CLIC

Elin Katz – Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut
Randy Simpson – Vice President, Colorado Communications Utility Alliance & Utility Alliance (CCUA)
Barry Orton – Professor, Emeritus - Telecommunications, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Ewell Lawson – Manager of Government Relations, Missouri Public Utility Alliance

3:10 – 3:30 pm        

3:30 - 5:00 pm    
Town Hall and Action Planning: Broadband Policy Proposals for the Next Administration and Preparing for the Year Ahead
The final session of the day will be the most forward-looking.  Several moderators will lead the discussion and encourage audience collaboration and participation.  Topics of conversation will include: What do we want from the next administration?  How do we prepare for a national push for local Internet choice?  What should CLIC do and how can it be most effective?  What can each of you do in support of local Internet choice?  And more.  We’ll conclude the discussion by outlining specific action plans for CLIC and our allies.  



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