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Digital New England Conference and Webcast Begins Monday at 8:30 a.m. ET with Obama Administration Telecom Officials



PORTLAND, Maine, September 28, 2015 – In the first significant conference following the release of the Broadband Opportunity Council Report and Recommendations, top telecommunications officials from the Obama administration — including the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture — will be speaking on Monday in Portland at “Digital New England: A Summit for Regional Broadband Leaders.”

For those unable to addend the conference in person, a webcast of the event will be available at this web site of the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Information about the program, which is co-sponsored by NTIA and Next Century Cities, is available at this registration page.

Touted as a regional event for the entire New England area, the event is shaping up as national in its scope, with high profile broadband leaders including Susan Crawford, professor of law at Harvard University; David Edelman, special assistant to President Obama for technology policy, as well as Sen. Angus King, and independent senator who caucuses with the Democrats.

Additionally, Larry Strickling, assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Commerce Department, and Keith Adams, assistant administrator of telecommunications, for the Rural Utilities Service of the Agriculture Department, providing high-profile addresses.

The NTIA and the RUS are the agencies responsible for the Broadband Opportunity Council report, which was released last week.

Below is the complete information for Monday’s program.

Digital New England: A Summit for Regional Broadband Leaders

September 27-28, 2015

Portland, Maine

Save the Date! Please join the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Next Century Cities for a Regional Broadband Summit featuring two special keynote addresses by national broadband leaders.

Broadband is emerging as a critical driver of economic growth and prosperity in New England. The “Digital New England” broadband summit will bring together state, local and federal officials, industry representatives, community leaders and other key stakeholders to share real-world broadband success stories and lessons learned from across the region. The summit will also examine the gaps that remain and strategize on what still needs to be done to expand access to and adoption of high-speed Internet services for the benefit of all citizens.

A welcome reception will be held late in the afternoon of Sunday, September 27, followed by a day-long summit on Monday, September 28. The summit will feature keynote addresses and high-impact discussions focused on everything from how to bring advanced telecommunications infrastructure to rural communities, to how to ensure that all Americans have the broadband access and critical skills needed to thrive in today’s digital economy.

WHO: The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (U.S. Department of Commerce), Next Century Cities, Sen. Angus King (I-ME) (invited) and other state and local officials.

WHERE: Holiday Inn By the Bay, Portland, Maine. To register at the block room rate at the Holiday Inn By the Bay, please use code “NTIA-NCC.” (Welcome reception to be held at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute)

WHEN: September 27-28, 2015



Digital New England: A Summit for Regional Broadband Leaders

Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland, ME

September 27-28, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

5:00pm  7:00pm        Welcome Reception at Gulf of Maine Research Institute

(350 Commercial Street, Portland, ME)

Monday, September 28, 2015

7:30am – 4:00pm         On-site Registration

7:30am – 8:30am        Networking Breakfast

8:30am – 8:45am        Welcome and Opening Remarks

  • Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities
  • Doug Kinkoph, Director BroadbandUSA, NTIA
  • Larry Strickling, Assistant Secretary, NTIA

8:45am – 9:15am        Keynote Conversation

  • Angus S. King, Jr.,  United States Senator for the State of Maine
  • Susan Crawford, Professor of Law, Berkman Center of Internet and Society, Harvard
  • David Edelman, Special Assistant to the President, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

9:15am -10:15am       First Panel: A Shared Future: Regional Approaches to Broadband

  • Chris Mitchell, Policy Director, Next Century Cities (moderator)
  • Representative Norm Higgins, Maine House of Representatives, District 120
  • Elin Katz, Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut,
  • Monica Webb, Chairman, Massachusetts Wired West,
  • Fletcher Kittredge, CEO, Great Works Internet
  • Briana Warner, Economic Development Director, Island Institute

10:15am – 10:30am    Morning Break  


10:30am – 10:45am     Remarks from Jill Szuchmacher, Google Fiber

10:45am – 11:45am      Second Panel:  Why Broadband Matters: Real-World Impacts 

  • Sharon Gillett, Principal Networking Policy Strategist, Microsoft Research (moderator)
  • Jascha Franklin-Hodge, CIO, City of Boston
  • Emy Tseng,  Sr. Communications Program Specialist, BroadbandUSA/Berkman Fellow, Harvard
  • Tim Schneider, Public Advocate, Maine Public Advocate Office
  • Susan Corbett, CEO, Axiom Technologies
  • Pam Goldberg, CEO, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

11:45am -11:50am     Special Maine Broadband Announcement

11:50am – 1:30pm      Lunch  

12:15pm – 12:45pm    Lunchtime Keynote by Larry Strickling, NTIA

1:30pm – 2:30pm        Breakout Workshops

Getting started: Models 101 – Connecticut/Rhode Island Rooms

  • Don Williams, Broadband Program Specialist, BroadbandUSA (moderator)
  • Chris Campbell, Principal Broadband Strategist, Tilson
  • Irv Thomae, Chairman, EC Fiber
  • Chris Dumais, Information Technology Director, City of South Portland

Successful Broadband Projects – Oxford/Somerset Rooms

  • Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities (moderator)
  • Josh Broder, CEO, Tilson
  • Larry Sterrs, Chairman of the Board, Unity Foundation
  • Jim Nimon, Executive Director of Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council
  • Denzel Hankinson, Chair, Leverett Municipal Light Plant, Leverett, MA
  • Eric Nakajima, Director, Massachusetts Broadband Institute

Partners’ Perspective – Lincoln/Kennebec/Cumberland Rooms

  • Chris Mitchell, Policy Director, Institute for Local Self Reliance, NCC  (moderator)
  • Jeff McCarthy, Vice President of Business Development, Maine Fiber Company
  • Allison Ellis, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Frontier Communications
  • Russ Stephens, President and CEO, NextGen Telecom Services Group, Inc.
  • Jeff Nevins, Director, Regulator & External Relations and Community Broadband Development, Fairpoint Communications

2:30pm – 2:45pm        Afternoon Break

2:45pm – 3:55pm        Third Panel: Results of the Broadband Opportunity Council

  • Aimee Meacham, BroadbandUSA/NTIA (moderator)
  • David Edelman, Special Assistant to the President, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Karen Hanson, Manager Partnerships and Interagency Affairs, BroadbandUSA/NTIA
  • Keith Adams, Assistant Administrator of Telecommunications, Rural Utilities Service (RUS), Department of Agriculture

3:55pm – 4:00pm        Concluding Remarks

  • Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities
  • Doug Kinkoph, Director BroadbandUSA, NTIA


Metaverse Can Serve as a Supplement, Not Replacement, For Educators: Experts

The virtual world where avatars can meet as if they were in real life can be a companion for education.



Screenshot of the Brookings event Tuesday

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2022 – Experts said at a Brookings Institution event said Tuesday that while the “metaverse” can go a long way toward improving education for some students, it should serve as a supplement to those educational goals.

The metaverse refers to a platform of 3D virtual worlds where avatars, or virtual characters, meet as if they were in the real world. The concept has been toyed with by Facebook parent Meta and is being used as a test for the educational space.

“The metaverse is a world that is accessible to students and teachers across the globe that allows shared interactions without boundaries in a respectful optimistic way,” Simran Mulchandani, founder of education app Project Rangeet, said at Tuesday’s event.

Panelists stated that as the metaverse and education meet, researchers, educators, policymakers and digital designers should take the lead, so tech platforms do not dictate educational opportunities.

“We have to build classrooms first, not tech first,” said Mulchandani.

Rebecca Kantar, the head of education at Roblox – a video game platform that allows players to program games – added that as the metaverse is still emerging and being constructed, “we can be humble in our attempt to find the highest and best way to bring the metaverse” into the classroom for the best education for the future.

Anant Agarwal, a professor at MIT and chief open education officer for online learning platform edX, stated the technology of the metaverse has the potential to make “quality and deep education accessible to everybody everywhere.”

Not a replacement for real social experiences

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, senior fellow of the global economy and development at the Center for Universal Education, said that while the metaverse brings potential to improve learning, it is not a complete replacement for the social experience a student has in the classroom.

“The metaverse can’t substitute for social interaction. It can supplement.”

Mulchandani noted the technology of the metaverse cannot replace the teacher, but rather can serve to solve challenges in the classroom.

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Digital Inclusion

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Emphasizes 100 Percent Broadband Adoption

‘It’s about making sure wireless connections are available in 100 percent of rural America,’ said the chairwoman.



Photo of Kelley Dunne, CEO of AmeriCrew, leading panel on workforce issues at the Rural Wireless Infrastructure Summit by Drew Clark

PARK CITY, Utah, June 28, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission is making progress towards bringing “affordable, reliable, high-speed broadband to 100 percent of the country,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said at the Rural Wireless Infrastructure Summit here on Tuesday.

Rosenworcel pointed to the $65 billion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act now being deployed across the country, with a particular focus on unconnected rural and tribal areas.

Although the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will take the lead with these funds, the FCC’s new broadband coverage maps will be important in implementing state digital equity plans.

In her remarks, Rosenworcel also discussed how the upcoming 2.5 GigaHertz spectrum auction will involve licensing spectrum primarily to rural areas.

At the July FCC open meeting, said Rosenworcel, the agency is scheduled to establish a new program to help enhance wireless competition. It is called the Enhanced Competition Incentive Program.

The program aims to build incentives for existing carriers to build opportunities for smaller carriers and tribal nations through leasing or partitioning spectrum. Existing carriers will be rewarded with longer license terms, extensions on build-out obligations, and more flexibility in construction requirements.

“It’s about making sure wireless connections are available in 100 percent of rural America,” she said.

She also indicated her commitment to work with Congress to fund the FCC’s “rip and replace” program to reimburse many rural operators’ transitions from Chinese-manufactured telecommunications equipment. She also touted the role that open radio access networks can plan in more secure telecommunications infrastructure.

In other news at the conference, FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr addressed the role of funding broadband operations in rural America, the challenges of workforce training, and ensuring that rural carriers have access to high-cost universal service support.

In a session moderated by AmeriCrew CEO Kelley Dunne, panelists from the U.S. Labor Department, the Wireless Infrastructure Association and Texas A&M Extension Education Services addressed the need to offer a vocational career path for individuals for whom a four-year degree may not be the right choice. AmeriCrew helps U.S. military veterans obtain careers in building fiber, wireless and electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark contributed to this report.

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Broadband's Impact

Broadband Speeds Have Significant Impact on Economy, Research Director Says

From 2010 to 2020, a 10.9 percent growth in broadband penetration drove .04 percent increase in GDP, the study found.



Photo of Alan Davidson of the NTIA, Caroline Kitchens of Shopify, Raul Katz of Columbia University (left to right)

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2022 – Broadband and higher speeds have made significant contributions to economic growth over the last decade, according to a study discussed at a Network On conference Tuesday.

Raul Katz, director of business strategy research at Columbia University, conducted his research to determine where the United States economy would be if broadband had not evolved since 2010. He developed four models to explain the economic contribution of broadband, and all found support to suggest that broadband development has contributed to substantial economic growth.

The long-run economic growth model showed that between 2010 and 2020, a 10.9 percent growth in broadband penetration drove a .04 percent increase in gross domestic product – the measure of the value of goods and services produced in the nation. States with higher speed broadband had an economic impact of an additional 11.5 percent.

“States with higher speeds of broadband have a higher economic effect,” said Katz. “Not only is there penetration as a driver, but there’s also… return to speed. At faster speeds, the economy tends to be more efficient.”

The study found that if broadband adoption and speed had remained unchanged since 2010, the 2020 GDP would have been 6.27 percent lower, said Katz.

Caroline Kitchens, a representative for ecommerce platform Shopify, said Tuesday that there’s been great growth in the ecommerce business, which relies entirely on a broadband connection. “Worldwide, Shopify merchants create 3.5 million jobs and have an economic impact of more than $307 billion. It goes without saying that none of this is possible without broadband access.”

“We have really seen firsthand how broadband access promotes entrepreneurship,” said Kitchens, indicating that this has promoted a growing economy in over 100 countries.

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