Broadband Champion and Former FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn to Headline the 2023 Broadband Communities Summit

Great new venue with great new agenda with more than 150 dynamic speakers, plus multiple receptions and networking opportunities to connect with your peers.

  • Broadband Trends


Houston, TX--The broadband industry continues its white-hot streak and it’s going to get even hotter as the federal government prepares to start rolling out the billions marked for getting America connected. On May 1-4, over 1,000 municipal officials, network operators, service providers, technologists, suppliers, consultants, multifamily property owners and managers and thought leaders will convene in Houston for the 2023 Broadband Communities Summit. The dynamic industry event, produced annually by Broadband Communities Magazine, returns with a refreshed agenda including brand-new topics, many new, provocative speakers, and a sold-out trade show floor that can’t be beat.

“With billions about to flow and many new projects moving forward, this is the most important year ever for the broadband industry,” said Barbara DeGarmo, CEO, Broadband Communities. “We’ve spent months putting together this year’s agenda, chock-full of fresh content, to reflect broadband’s changing landscape,” she added.

DeGarmo announced that Gigi Sohn, one of the nation’s leading advocates for open and affordable communications networks, will deliver the keynote address this year at the Summit’s Cornerstone Awards Luncheon. DeGarmo added that attendees will hear from federal funders including NTIA, the Rural Utility Service, the FCC and Department of the Treasury , and an impressive lineup of private funders getting into the act.

Additional highlights of the 2023 Broadband Communities Summit include:

Keynote: Stand Up, Speak Up! The Broadband Industry Can't Afford to Let the Affordable Connectivity Program Run Out of Funds! | Tuesday, May 2 | 9:20 A.M. – 9:50 A.M.

 An industry expert in digital inclusion, Joshua Edmonds, CEO of Digital C, a powerful nonprofit focused on connecting the unconnected in the City of Cleveland, will share his thoughts and insights on why it’s so important that the government and the industry deliver connectivity for everyone.  

Funding: What's Out There and How to Get It | Tuesday, May 2 | 10:00 A.M. – 10:20 A.M.

Andy Berke, Administrator, Rural Utilities Services (RUS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), will provide an overview of the different funding sources available, including grants and public private partnerships, and best practices on how to access and leverage available resources.  

Funding Updates: Federal, State, Local Government Funds | Tuesday, May 2 | 10:30 A.M. – 12 P.M.

Moderated by Angie Kronenberg, President, INCOMPAS, this discussion will provide an overview of the current funding landscape and panelists will provide updates on recent legislative and policy changes related to funding including any new programs. 

Panelists include:  

  • Laurel Leverrier, Assistant Administrator, Telecommunications Programs, Rural Utilities Service (RUS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
  • Evan Feinman, Director, Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Program, U.S. Department of Commerce, NTIA 
  • Joseph Wender, Director, Capital Projects Fund, U.S. Department of the Treasury 
  • Trent Harkrader, Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau, FCC 

Cornerstone Luncheon:

A Candid Conversation with Gigi Sohn | Wednesday, May 3 | 12:45PM – 2:05PM 

One of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable, and democratic communications networks, Gigi Sohn has more than 30 years’ experience working across the US making broadband Internet access more ubiquitous, competitive, and protective of user privacy. In this session, Gigi will provide a glimpse into her FCC nomination “experience” and share valuable insights and life lessons.  In addition, she will discuss her perspective on the state of “broadband” and what’s next on the horizon. This will be her first public appearance since withdrawing from consideration as President Biden’s nominee for FCC Commissioner.

Special Screening:

Rocketeers – The UTOPIA Fiber Story | Wednesday, May 3 | 7:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.

This not-to-be-missed documentary premiere shares the never-before-told story of the Utah-based interlocal agency that is today the nation’s largest and fastest growing publicly-owned Open-Access fiber network. Success didn’t come easy but it’s their sought-after experience and industry leadership that helps municipalities in Utah, Idaho, Montana, and California deliver constituents the fastest Internet in the nation at the most competitive cost.  

Plus, new this year:

  • CLIC-AAPB Super SessionStarting and Sustaining Successful Community Broadband Initiatives with a keynote by Drew Clark, Editor & Publisher, Broadband Breakfast; Attorney at Law, Drew Clark PLLC and Elizabeth Walker, Assistant City Manager, City of Brownsville, TX. Panel discussions on Pushing Back on Barriers to Public Broadband Initiatives and Partnerships and The Role of Partnerships in Meeting America’s Broadband Challenges. And workshops on financial modeling, key legal issues public broadband initiatives face, presenting your project to investors, and How to Tell Your Broadband Story.
  • A Multi-family Program covering connectivity, digital equity, overcoming BEAD obstacles, tribal broadband, FCC mapping, broadband success stories, and what’s coming next—like connectivity for electric vehicle charging stations—building rural America, real world solutions for saving projects, digital infrastructure, and Open Access.
  • Attendees will hear how broadband policies and funds will be deployed throughout the nationBroadband Communities Summit will also take a deeper dive into cutting-edge new products with a sold-out exhibit hall, receptions, networking with peers, and more.

This year’s Broadband Communities Summit is Chaired by Jim Baller, Partner, Keller & Heckman; Scott Casey, President & CEO, ROVR; Heather B. Gold, Vice President, External Affairs, Mears Construction; Bob Knight, President & CEO, Harrison Edwards and Commissioner, Economic & Community Development, Town of Ridgefield, CT; Hilda Legg, President, Hilda Legg Strategies and former Rural Utility Service Administrator; Kimberly McKinley, Deputy Director and Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber; Bryan Rader, President, MDU Pavlov Media; Mike Smith, President & CEO, White Space Building Technology Advisors; Tom Stender, President & CEO, InfiniSys; Dean Wolfe, VP of Technology & Vendor Relations, Choice Property Resources; and Scott D. Woods, Esq., VP Community Engagement & Strategic Partnerships,

BBC Summit 2023 Sponsors:

Official Corporate Host: Broadband.Money

Enhanced Gold Sponsors: Spectrum Community Solutions, Xfinity Communities, Calix, Harrison Edwards, Michael Baker International Broadband, Quantum Fiber, and Frontier

Gold Sponsors: CostQuest Associates, Clearfield, and Ubiquity

Silver Sponsors: Redwood, Biarri Networks, and Dojo Networks

Tickets are selling quickly for the 2023 Broadband Communities Summit, which will be held May 1-4 at The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel & Convention Center. For tickets, room reservation, and to the view the complete agenda, please visit


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