Economic Development: The Critical Driver and Beneficiary of Advanced Communications Networks
By Economic Development Chairman Jim Baller
Across America, hundreds of communities are seeking to acquire or develop advanced communications networks. Such networks, they believe, can drive and support simultaneous progress in multiple fields that are of critical importance to them, including economic development and competitiveness, education, health care, public safety, transportation, energy, environmental protection, democratic engagement, and much more. In virtually every case, fostering robust economic development has ranked at or near the top of the list of considerations motivating these communities.
Our regional conferences respond to strong and widespread interest
Broadband Communities has responded to the strong and widespread interest in the relationship between advanced communications networks, economic development, and job creation by hosting a series of regional conferences that examine these matters from all angles, drawing on the insights of experts across multiple disciplines and on the first-hand experiences of the communities within or near the region in question.
Where the Great Plains Meet the Great Lakes
Following up on our highly successful regional conferences in Danville, VA, Chicago, IL, Springfield, MA, and Lexington, KY, we will hold our next regional conference from October 18-20, 2016, in Minneapolis, MN—where the Great Plains meet the Great Lakes. The conference will focus on Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Montana, as well as western Ontario and Manitoba. We will also include important and timely developments from other states and areas of Canada.
You’ll get useful info and insights that you can use at once
Our entire economic development program—every session, every speaker—will concentrate on the relationship between advanced communications capabilities, economic development, and work creation. Our experienced, talented presenters will provide useful, practical information that you can take home and put to use at once—including economic research, case histories, how-to materials, examples of what’s working and what’s not, lessons-learned, and invaluable insights.
We’ll address the timeliest and most important topics
Our workshops and sessions will address the latest, hottest topics – including Google Fiber, incumbent, and other provider deployments; public-private fiber projects of many kinds; developments in the major “verticals,” including health care, education, energy, etc.; addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, including seniors, individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals and families, and Native Americans; and much more. You’ll learn about many of the state, regional, and local projects in the region. You’ll also hear about what communities are doing to improve their chances of getting a gigabit network, including working with private-sector network providers, entering into public-private partnerships, and collaborating with vendors.
Funding advanced communications projects
You’ll also hear about a variety of successful public and private efforts to fund fiber networks. We will include timely information about the modernized E‑Rate program, the Connect America Fund, ConnectHome, and other federal investments in broadband. We will also explore both traditional and creative new financing mechanisms.
Please plan to join us in Minneapolis, and if you have suggestions for strengthening our program, please let us know as soon as possible.