Economic Development Track

Get the latest data and learn the latest strategies for securing and then using an ultra-broadband network to attract business, create jobs and keep the businesses your community already has.

Tuesday, April 9

8:00 am – 8:45 am

General Session

The Big Picture

Hear what's on the minds of the experts Broadband Communities turns to when we want to know about multifamily, economic development and rural broadband issues.


Steve Ross - Editor-at-Large, Broadband Communities

Jim Baller – President, Baller Stokes & Lide, PC  
Bryan Rader – President, UpStream Network
Drew Clark – Chairman and Publisher,, President, Rural Telecommunications Congress

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Track Session

Broadband at the Crossroads: Our Experts Weigh In

Like electricity, advanced communications have the ability to drive and support simultaneous progress in just about everything that’s important to communities across America and around the world.  This includes economic development, education, public safety, health care, environmental protection, entertainment, democratic discourse and much more.  While we’ve made some progress, we still have a long way to go.  What got us to where we are now, and what do we need to do next to reap the full benefits of advanced communications capabilities?  How do we distinguish between reality and hype?  Where and how should we invest limited public resources?  How do we ensure that we won’t leave rural, low-income, disabled, and other underserved Americans behind.  Back again by popular demand, this panel of highly-respected experts will address these issues from multiple angles, in spirited but respectful exchanges reflecting their differing professional interests, experiences, and philosophies.

Nicol Turner-Lee – Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution

Chris Mitchell – Director, Community Broadband Networks, Institute for Local Self-Reliance 
David Hoover – Principal, The Ferguson Group
Doug Dawson President, CCG Consulting

4:10 pm – 5:00 pm

Track Session

Howdy, Partner!

As broadband has increasingly become a critical need for economic and community vitality, hundreds of American localities of all kinds and sizes have considered, or are considering, how they can collaborate with others to reach broadband goals in win-win ways.  Collaborative strategies can include formal public-private or public-public partnerships, public efforts to support mainly private initiatives, shared risk models of various kinds, and a broad range of arrangements that can work in particular circumstances.  In this session, our experts will draw on their first-hand experiences and knowledge of the field to provide insights on how partnerships can be structured and operated to serve both public and private interests.

Joanne Hovis – President, CTC Technology & Energy

Monica Webb – Director of Market Development and Government Affairs, Ting Internet
Scott Shapiro – Consultant, MetroNet; Former Chief Innovation Officer of City of Lexington
Will Aycock – General Manager, Greenlight Community Broadband, City of Wilson, NC
Nate Walowitz – Regional Broadband Program Director, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments
Kenrick Gordon, P.E. – Director, Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband, State of Maryland


Wednesday, April 10

7:45 am – 8:50 am

Track Session

5G: From Gee-Whiz to Making It Work (Breakfast and Program)

Separating fact from fiction when it comes to small-cell deployment and its potential impacts can be confusing. But our panel of industry experts, consultants and city staffers on the front lines will help sort it all out. From their unique perspectives, they’ll review the status of the key small-cell issues before the FCC, Congress, the courts; provide examples of what's working in the field and what's not; explore areas of potential agreement; and exchange views on what the future holds in terms of deployments -- and in terms of the outcomes consumers can expect.

Deb Socia – Executive Director, Next Century Cities

Antonia Graham – Assistant to the City Manager; Energy and Sustainability Manager, City of Huntington Beach, California
Angela Stacy – Vice President of Marketing and Communications, SmartWorks Partners
Lisa Youngers – President & CEO, Fiber Broadband Association
Tim Burke – Vice President, Strategic Technology, Liberty Global, Inc.
Brian Kurkowski – Principal Member of Technical Staff – FirstLight

8:00 am – 8:50 am

Track Session

5G: From Gee-Whiz to Making It Work 

Continued …

9:00 am -9:50 am

Track Session

What Do We Really Know About Broadband and Economic Development?

Economic development is always at or near the top of the list of reasons given for pursuing advanced broadband networks and capabilities.  But what do we really know about the relationship between broadband and economic development?  Is the relationship just coincidental, or is it causal in some circumstances?  How do we measure tangible community benefits – "externalities" – that go beyond revenues received from network users?  What can we do to accelerate the achievement of these benefits?  This session will review the rapidly expanding body of economic research and anecdotal evidence on this critical issue. 

Catharine Rice – Project Director, Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC); Consultant, Broadband Matters

Nicol Turner-Lee – Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation, Brookings Institution 
Michael Render – President and Leading FTTH Researcher, RVA LLC 
Masha Zager – Editor-in-Chief, Broadband Communities

10:00 am – 10:50 am

Track Session

Lessons Learned From Turn-Around Communities

One of the challenges that evaluating capital-intensive local broadband projects poses is that such projects typically lose money in their early years.  In addition, projects that have a history of success may encounter new difficulties, and, conversely, projects that encounter early difficulties may blossom over time.  This session features four communities that have overcome significant challenges and have learned invaluable lessons along the way.

Chris Mitchell – Director, Community Broadband Networks, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Don Patten – General Manager, MINET
David Post – Mayor Pro Tem, City of Salisbury, NC; Attorney, David Post Law Firm
Roger Timmerman –  Executive Director and CEO, UTOPIA Fiber
Angela Imming – Director of Technology and Innovation, City of Highland, IL

12:45 pm – 2:00 pm

Cornerstone Awards Luncheon

Sponsored by Verizon

Keynote Address by: 
Jannine Miller
– Senior Advisor for Rural Infrastructure, USDA

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Track Session

Looking for Alternatives for Funding Your Municipal Fiber?  You’ll Find Them Here

This session will examine some real life examples of financing municipal fiber projects with sources other than standard municipal bonds. The session will concentrate on the financing aspects of specific projects – what were the local hurdles to overcome and what was the reception from the financial community. The panel will look at financing with private activity bonds, financing based on property taxes, financing through home property liens and financing using direct customer contributions. Also included in the session will be a look at how fiber financing might benefit from the newly created Qualified Opportunity Zones.

Doug Dawson – President, CCG Consulting

Graham Richard – CEO, Graham Richard Associates, LLC
David Robertson – Lewis, Young, Robertson & Burningham, Salt Lake City

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Track Session

The Future of Work: Find Out What Works

Broadband infrastructure can lay the foundation for healthy community ecosystems. But what strategies are necessary to build on top of that foundation in ways that will encourage a positive future of work and learning for community stakeholders? What successful models allow communities to continually adapt? In this rapid-fire session, we will review a variety of case studies of effective approaches to building community systems leveraging entrepreneurial, employment, and education strategies to help communities continually adapt in exponentially-changing times.

Gary Bolles – Co-Founder, eParachute; Partner, Charrette LLC


Thursday, April 11

8:00 am – 9:00 am

Track Session

Regional Cooperation: The Road to Creating a Digital Economy

Unilateral efforts to promote broadband within a single community can be daunting, but teaming up with partners to achieve both local and regional goals can drastically increase both the chances of success and the impact. By working with a shared purpose on a regional scale, communities can realize larger objectives, often with fewer resources.  This session will examine how to engage regional stakeholders, including agencies such as transportation, public safety, utilities, and education, and  how to combine resources to leverage local and regional assets and the benefits of shared policy and governance. We will also explore how to get more with less through regionalized funding and cooperative procurement.

Jory Wolf – Vice President of Digital Innovation, Magellan Advisors

9:10 am – 10:00 am

Track Session

Electric Cooperatives: The Emerging Power Player in Broadband Deployments

Broadband connectivity is increasingly a necessity in our interconnected world, but many communities, especially in rural America, still lack access to high-capacity broadband.  Now, in a rapidly increasing number of rural communities, the history of rural electrification is repeating itself:  more than 100 electric cooperatives are either offering, deploying, or exploring the provision of broadband service to their communities.  About 30% of FCC’s Connect America Fund II reverse auction bids were won by electric cooperatives, and many are utilizing existing RUS loan and grant programs, as well as the new ReConnect Program.  Broadband grants and loans from State and local governments, and other sources, also play an important role.  Attendees will hear from cooperative leaders who have deployed or are deploying broadband to unserved and underserved areas about how they have overcome obstacles other providers could not. 

Brian O'Hara – Senior Director Regulatory Issues, Broadband & Telecommunications, National Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

Mike Keyser – CEO, BARC Electric Cooperative
Jasen Bronec – CEO, Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA); President, Elevate Fiber
Curtis Wynn – CEO, Roanoke Electric Cooperative

10:10 am – 11:00 am

Track Session

Key Legal Issues: A Rapid-Fire Update + Q&As

Back by popular demand, our legal experts  in this interactive session will open with a 10 minute, rapid-fire update of the key legal/regulatory issues affecting broadband projects, including the latest developments in small cell wireless legislation and litigation.  Attendees will then will have the opportunity to ask any questions they want – and get the answers to them.

Sean Stokes – Principal, Baller Stokes & Lide, PC
Casey Lide – Principal, Baller Stokes & Lide, PC

11:10 am -12:00 pm

Track Session

Raise Your IT Security IQ

Networks can be successful and achieve their economic development purposes only if users have confidence in the health and security of the network.  In this session, experts in IT security will discuss network breaches/Penetration Testing and the tragic loss of time and money and confidential information from your network.  You will hear “Stories from the Road” of network hacks, ransom ware and the Gap Strategies and security operational protocols that are mandatory if you really want to save your network, your time and your money!!  Come join us for an hour of intelligence that you dare not miss, the “Take a Ways” are more than worth the price of admission!!

Sponsored by Mid-State Consultants


Gordon Caverly – Regional Vice President, Mid-State Consultants

Christopher Neaves – Principal Cyber Systems Architect, K2Share LLC
Mike Riley – Vice President, Engineering, ISP Engineering, Mid-State Consultants, Inc.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

General Session

Exhibit Hall Luncheon, Keynote Presentation and the “Must be Present to Win” $5,000 Drawing

Big Cash Drawing During Thursday’s Exhibit Hall Lunch: To qualify, players must visit each participating drawing sponsor to obtain their signature or stamp. Once all boxes are filled, please turn in to the registration desk where your entry will be verified. This drawing is only for attendees. Vendors cannot participate. Only one submission per person. Must be present to win.

Jim Baller – President, Baller, Stokes & Lide, PC

Susan Crawford
 – John A. Reilly Clinical Professor of Law, Harvard Law School 

The Coming Tech Revolution – And Why America Might Miss It 

That’s the title of fiber broadband champion and Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford’s new book – and what you’ll hear her address at Thursday’s working lunch. The great promise of cheap, ultra-fast fiber-optic connectivity is limitless communications capacity that will radically transform everything from business, education and medical care to urban and rural problem-solving. Why might America miss out? Crawford notes that 84 percent of homes here are still connected to the internet through far more limited copper wire. China, on the other hand, is installing some 20,000 FTTH connections daily. Crawford has lots to say about the whys of America’s sluggish and haphazard efforts to switch to fiber and about the ways we can fix it. She’ll share them and follow up with a Q&A and book signing.

Book signing immediately following.

Sponsored by CTC

April 8-11, 2019

Renaissance Hotel in Austin, Texas

Photo Gallery

Here's a glance at last year's Summit.

Look who you'll meet at the Summit

  Unique Opportunity to Network with Broadband Systems Operators*
*Includes Telcos - Private, CLECs, ILECs; Cable Operators; Wireless Broadband Operators, Property Managers, Developers, Owners, REITs, Universities, Colleges
  Equipment Manufacturers, Suppliers, Distributors 17%
  Government/Legal 12%
  Consultants, Contractors 10%
  System Installers, Service Providers 8%
  Financial Advisers, Institutions, Investors 3%

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