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Broadband Conference in Western Massachusetts Aims to Highlight Internet’s Role in Economic Development

Drew Clark



September 5, 2014 – Broadband Communities Magazine is hosting its third annual conference on the role that broadband plays in economic development from Tues., Sept. 16 through Thurs., Sept. 18 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The conference builds on successful prior event held in Danville, Virginia, in fall 2012; and in Tinley Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, in fall 2013.

Among the featured speakers at the upcoming conference n Wednesday will be State Rep. Stephen Kulik, who has worked with the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to promote the expansion of broadband infrastructure even before the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act put substantial federal funding into such efforts.

Others helping to tell “the Massachusetts story” include Eric Nakajima, assistant secretary for innovation policy, and Bill Oates, chief information officer for the commonwealth.

Keynoting Thursday’s conference session will be Jonathan Chambers, chief of the Office of Strategic Planning at the Federal Communications Commission, as well as a panel of powerful communications policy women: Susan Crawford, visiting professor of law at Harvard University; Sharon Gillett, principal strategist for technology policy at Microsoft, and Gigi Sohn, special counsel for external affairs at the FCC.

Tuesday’s event’s include a full-day seminar on the role of broadband and municipal planning. Let by Kathleen McMahon, co-chair of the American Planning Association’s Smart City Task Force, the goal of the vent is to get city planners to become “broadband champions,” and consider the important role that high-speed internet service plays in overall city planning.

According to Conference Chairman Jim Baller, “During the last fifteen years, thousands of communities across the United States have sought to attract or develop advanced communications networks, recognizing that such networks can provide them and the nation multiple strategic advantages in the increasingly competitive global economy. In virtually every case, fostering robust economic development has ranked at or near the top of the list of considerations motivating these communities.”


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