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

in Broadband's Impact by

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.”

Illinois Proposal for Transparent Town Halls

in Documents by

Broadband As a Tool for Transparent Town Halls for Responsible Infrastructure Investments of $700 Billion

Broadband Documents

Editor’s Note: This document was provided by Layton Olson of the Community Life Initiative in Chicago, Ill., on January 7, 2009, and is dated January 2, 2009. Visit the BroadbandCensus.com Broadband Wiki.

A proposal for Illinois  January 2, 2009

As we in Illinois work with the Federal government for a Responsible Process to manage 2009 Economic Recovery investments, we have opportunities for Local communities to intelligently and flexibly coordinate both short-term job and family security programs and longer term private and public investments.

As a result of several years of work in Illinois, we have statewide and regional networks with the capacity to host community town halls in areas up to 150,000 for community, business, education, health and public leaders.   Such broad-based and transparent town halls can quickly help understand and plan short term and longer investments, as well as provide oversight and data on how well they are doing, on a quarter-by-quarter basis.

Economic stimulus proposals include both shovel-ready and longer-term projects in transportation, schools and libraries, water, health care, home security, energy-efficient buildings and industries, tied together thru broadband extension.   Proposals include Federal, state and local government commitments, many with important private sector investments.

For America to compete in the world environment, we need More Than Representative Government.  That is, we need civic participation by juries of our peers, and the investment of their time and talents as well as their taxes and purchases.  In sum, Uncle Sam wants us — as leaders of communities, businesses, education, health and public bodies – to come together in Transparent and Accountable Town Halls in every area of the country, as the Building Blocks of Safe, Healthy and Resourceful Communties.

Community Town Halls, convened at local “people connector network” anchor institutions, such as hospitals, colleges and community centers, can bring together cross-sections of leaders for visioning and planning, program cooperation, data collection and transparent oversight of projects regardless of the funding source.    These networks add up to Digital Government at work in a people-inclusive way with reporting-transparent credibility through widely distributed Internet tools and community media.

To make Illinois a leading Digital Infrastructure state, we begin with 5 Golden Resolutions for 2009:

1. Illinois General Assembly to complete final passage before mid-January of Illinois House-passed allocation of $5 million in current non-taxpayer funds to match Federal rural healthcare broadband infrastructure funds of $21 million and to undertake medical IT record pilot projects in 15 regions throughout Illinois.

HB 3889

2. Illinois state and local governments work with all parties to present a coordinated list of short-term and longer-term investments to the Obama Administration and Illinois Congressional delegation, with projects listed on Internet for citizen comment.

3. Public and private parties in Illinois to cooperate for new era in Transparent Government by reviewing proposed Economic Recovery investments in all 10 Economic Opportunity regions of the state, and in U.S. Census data regions of up to 150,000, or about 4 1/2 Town Hall areas in each Congressional District.

4. Each local area Town Hall be asked to identify one or more Intelligent

Infrastructure job-creation projects for inclusion in Illinois statewide business locater network and links with university-private sector backed Technology Park system.

5. Illinois broadband awareness network will initiate consumer-friendly information activities including graphic-based information concerning Broadband Access and Digital Skills, including in relation to Digital TV transition in February 2009 and linked with Transparent Town Hall participation opportunities.

As parties who have worked with Illinois Broadband Deployment Council infrastructure and consumer demand committees, and who have worked to develop Broadband Planning tools for local and regional planning, including through American Planning Association Chicago activities and Digital Government hearing by Illinois House Computer Technology Committee, we seek to work with all public and private parties to invest our  time and money as good stewards of safe, healthy and economically resourceful communities throughout Illinois.

Our state is located at the Internet Crossroads of the World, with the most Internet traffic coming through metropolitan Chicago.   With these resolutions we can show that we are the State That Net Works, and is ready indeed with the Intelligent Infrastructure to host the 2016 Olympics.

Layton Olson
Community Life Initiative
Howe & Hutton, Ltd.

Ron Thomas, ACIP
Regional Planner

Dr. Jerry Field
IIT Industrial Management and Technology Program

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