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As state broadband offices work to prepare their five-year plans for the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment, this timely event will discuss the challenges, controversies and solutions surrounding this historic push for universal high-speed connectivity.
• Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast
• CostQuest Associates
• DCS Technology Design
State Broadband Leaders have a vital role to play in the implementation of BEAD. Not only are they responsible for distributing funds that will soon be allocated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, they are also poised to play a crucial role in implementing other key programs. This discussion will delve into state initial proposals, state goals and priorities, and high-cost thresholds. What are the next hurdles? How can states support each other?
• Angie Bailey, Director, Broadband Infrastructure Office, North Carolina
• Valarry Bullard, New Jersey Broadband Director
• Andrew Butcher, President, Maine Connectivity Authority
• Glen Howie, Director, Arkansas State Broadband Office
• Matt Schmit, Director, Illinois Office of Broadband
• Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast
For at least two years, the Biden Administration has been deploying federal broadband funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, including Capital Project Funds awards. Now, Middle Mile broadband awards were announced on June 16, 2023. How have or will these precursor programs to BEAD operate? What problems have they faced? What are states doing to build on previous investments?
• Chas Eberle, Director of Outreach and Senior Policy Advisor for the Capital Projects Fund, Treasury Department
• Joel Daly, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs and Product Strategy, Zayo
• Dr. Tamarah Holmes, Director of the Virginia Office of Broadband
• Laurel Leverrier, Assistant Administrator, USDA’s RUS, Telecommunications Programs
• Kathryn de Wit (moderator), Director, Pew’s Broadband Access Initiative
• David Don, Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Comcast Corporation
• Evan Feinman, Director of BEAD Program, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce
The BEAD program requires a 25 percent match from its subgrantees and a letter of credit. These requirements have the potential to be a large hurdle for many providers and states. How is the private sector poised to supplement the federal funds being deployed for the BEAD program? How will providers invest this capital into new broadband infrastructure?
• Steve Coran, Chair, Lerman Senter’s Broadband, Spectrum and Communications Infrastructure practice group
• Willie Heflin, Managing Director, Kinetic Ventures
• Blair Levin, Policy Equity Analyst, New Street Research; Non-resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
• Brian Vo, Chief Investment Officer at Connect Humanity
• Rob Pegoraro (moderator), Journalist for Fast Company, PCMag, Wirecutter and other outlets
The BEAD program includes a Buy America requirement that directs providers to source 55 percent or more of material from the United States. Although the NTIA’s draft waiver may address some of these concerns, there are other compliance burdens on both private and public internet service providers. Additionally, there will be many “back end” issues as part of BEAD network deployment. This concluding “town hall” session at the Summit will address issues with Buy America, letters of credit, workforce development, supplier diversity, regulatory requirements and rights-of-way.
• Angie Kronenberg, President of INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association
• Mike Romano, Executive Vice President of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association
• Scott D. Woods, President of Public-Private Partnerships for Ready.net
• David E. Bronston (moderator), Special Counsel, Phillips Lytle LLP
Evan Feinman is the director of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, the primary program deploying broadband created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. He has previously served in multiple roles within government, on political campaigns, and in the private sector, most recently directing both the Virginia broadband effort and a state economic development agency. Feinman received his bachelor's degree from UVA, his law degree from Washington and Lee, and has completed multiple public policy fellowships. He lives in Richmond, Va., with his wife, Annalisa Feinman, a Richmond public defender, and his son, Bennett.
Angie Bailey, director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office within the N.C. Department of Information Technology’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity, focuses on planning and implementation of the infrastructure investment programs that are helping close the digital divide in North Carolina. Bailey previously served as director of N.C. Broadband within the N.C. Department of Commerce and has more than 20 years of experience in broadband planning and development in North Carolina. She has extensive expertise in broadband policy issues, rural and community development, coordination of statewide programs and partnerships with North Carolina’s broadband providers. Bailey was named N.C. Tech Association’s 2022 Tech Woman of the Year as part of the N.C. Tech Awards.
As the State of New Jersey’s first Broadband Director, Valarry drives the state’s broadband strategy of equal access for all New Jerseyans and direct substantial federal and state funding that will soon become available by working with industry, communities, and agencies to ensure the greatest impact for digital literacy and inclusion. She also focuses on building out an enhanced staff and processes to manage funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law signed by President Biden.
Andrew Butcher is the inaugural president of The Maine Connectivity Authority a new quasi-governmental agency serving as the primary entity charged with achieving universal access of affordable high-speed broadband in the state of Maine. By balancing investments in projects, places and people MCA is advancing digital equity for all. Butcher has over 15 years in community and economic development, social entrepreneurship and connected infrastructure. Prior to his role at MCA he founded an internationally recognized non-profit, served as director of the Maine Broadband Coalition and helped advance numerous innovation and resilience initiatives in Maine.
Glen Howie is the Director of the Arkansas State Broadband Office, where he serves as the chief broadband advisor to Gov. Asa Hutchinson. He will oversee the state’s BEAD and Digital Equity planning and implementation, an effort expected to exceed $1 billion. Starting in his role August 1, he came to Arkansas from the nationally recognized Louisiana Office of Broadband Development and Connectivity.
Matt Schmit currently serves as Director of the Illinois Office of Broadband, where integration of 21st century infrastructure and service delivery is a primary focus of his work and research. He previously held office as a senator in his home state of Minnesota, and has served on many legislative boards on broadband deployment, transportation policy & investment, and community & economic development. In addition, Mr. Schmit has served on the Cook County Council on Digital Equity (CODE), the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) board, the Blandin Broadband Strategies board, the St John’s University Board of Regents, and the Legislative Water Commission; represented Minnesota on the National Conference of State Legislators Nuclear Energy Work Group and Commerce Committee; and was an active member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators and State Ag and Rural Leaders.
Breakfast Media LLC CEO Drew Clark has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.
Joel Daly is a seasoned entrepreneur and technology executive with a 25-year track record. He currently holds the position of SVP Government Affairs and Product Strategy at Zayo, where he successfully secured NTIA Middle Mile Awards totaling $93M. Over the past 4 years at Zayo, Joel has served in key leadership roles, including President of zColo, overseeing a $1.4B datacenter divestiture, and SVP of Zayo Central Fiber Region.
Chas Eberle is the Director of Outreach and Senior Policy Advisor for the Capital Projects Fund, a $10 billion program at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Prior to joining CPF, Chas served for 10 years at the Federal Communications Commission in a variety of roles as an attorney in the Wireline Competition Bureau and Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Front Office, where his work focused on universal service programs, wireless infrastructure and spectrum policy, and the Broadcast Incentive Auction. Prior to joining the FCC, he was in private practice in Washington.
Dr. Tamarah Holmes is director of the Office of Broadband at the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. She has served the Commonwealth of Virginia for nearly nine years as a program manager for the Virginia Appalachian Regional Commission. She previously served as a coordinator for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program for Newark, NJ, an administrative project analyst for Richmond, and a community development block grant coordinator Chesterfield County.
Laurel Leverrier is the Assistant Administrator of the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS), Telecommunications Programs, where she oversees RUS’ $5 billion portfolio of telecommunications loans and grants. During her eighteen-year career at USDA, Laurel has served in a variety of positions and has participated on a number of federal working groups, including the American Broadband Initiative (ABI). Laurel is a graduate of American University’s Key Executive Leadership Program and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Economics from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.
Kathryn de Wit directs Pew’s broadband access initiative, which works to accelerate efforts to connect millions of Americans to affordable, reliable high-speed internet. Her team works with broadband offices and state officials across the country, as well as researchers, advocates, and Congress to help states and the field prepare for this momentous federal investment. De Wit holds degrees from Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh, is a recipient of the Benton Institute for Broadband and Society’s Emerging Leader Award, and was named to The Washingtonian’s 500 Most Influential People in 2023.
David Don serves as Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Comcast Corporation. He is responsible for developing and implementing the company’s strategies before federal and state governments. David has worked extensively on public policy, infrastructure, and spectrum allocation for over 25 years, and he often represents Comcast in public fora examining the most relevant issues of the day.
Steve Coran is chair of Lerman Senter’s Broadband, Spectrum and Communications Infrastructure practice group. He represents broadband providers, private equity firms, equipment and technology companies, and new technology firms, serving their policy, transactional, compliance, and licensing needs. He also actively represents a trade association before the FCC, Congress, and other federal agencies in matters involving spectrum policy, Internet regulation, the Universal Service Fund, and other proceedings affecting wireless broadband service providers and other wireless technology interests.
William Heflin is Managing Director at Kinetic Ventures, an investment firm with over 35 years of history investing in the technology and services industries. Kinetic’s most recent investment fund will focus on investing in rural broadband and digital infrastructure businesses. Willie has led investments in the communication and software areas. Prior to his work with Kinetic he worked for IBM. He received his BS and MS in engineering from the University of Illinois and his MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.
Blair Levin has worked for the past 30 years at the intersection of broadband policy and capital markets. From 1993-1997 Levin served as Chief of Staff to FCC Chairman Reed Hundt and subsequently oversaw the development of the 2010 United States National Broadband Plan. He has also worked as a policy equity analyst, which he now does for New Street Research, while also serving as a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Metropolitan Policy Project of the Brookings Institution
Brian Vo is the Chief Investment Officer at Connect Humanity, an impact fund investing in broadband infrastructure targeting low-income, rural, and BIPOC communities. Connect Humanity provides structured loans to ISPs, municipalities, co-ops, and others building and operating affordable broadband. Prior to impact investing, Brian was with McKinsey & Company's Strategy and Corporate Finance Practice, Macquarie's Private Equity team, and Jefferies Investment Bank.
Rob Pegoraro covers the problems and possibilities of consumer technology--computers, gadgets, telecom, social media, apps, and other things that beep or blink--for Fast Company, PCMag, Wirecutter and other outlets. He also speaks frequently about them on radio, podcasts, TV and at conferences. Pegoraro has met most of the founders of the Internet and once received a single-word e-mail reply from Steve Jobs.
Angie Kronenberg is President of INCOMPAS, the internet and competitive networks association. Angie is responsible for managing the INCOMPAS policy team and its work before federal, state, and local governments, and she leads the association’s efforts on membership and business development. Angie has successfully influenced and shaped some of the most complex, high-profile matters in the communications space, and she is an expert on technology and telecommunications policy, including broadband deployment, access, and availability, universal service, net neutrality, merger reviews, competition policy, and administrative law.
Mike Romano is the Executive Vice President of NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, overseeing NTCA’s public policy and business development initiatives, the educational and community-focused mission of the Foundation for Rural Service, and several areas of association operations including member engagement, information technology, and human resources. Before joining NTCA, Mike was of counsel with Morgan Lewis, served as the founding vice president and general counsel of GTT Communications, and held a variety of positions with America Online and Level 3 Communications.
Scott D. Woods is the President of Public-Private Partnerships (P3) for Ready.net, Inc. Scott facilitates and develops key public-private partnerships with state broadband offices, service providers, anchor institutions, and local communities. He also focuses on providing a platform for local communities to express their needs for broadband access and digital equity investments. He also develops industry partnerships and fosters alliances with key stakeholders across the country to advance and support community-based broadband education and advocacy initiatives. Scott currently hosts the Ready or Not? Podcast, where he shares his deep knowledge of the broadband industry while giving local ISPs and communities a voice and a platform.
David Bronston, former general counsel for the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications, is an authority on fiber and wireless network deployment in public and private rights of way. Bronston has obtained and negotiated licensees, franchise leases and authorizations necessary for digital infrastructure deployments of towers, small cells, Distributed Antenna Systems, data centers, metro enterprise and middle mile networks. A builder of both telecommunications and professional networks, Bronston and Phillips Lytle can assist with public private partnership and joint venture agreements, financing transactions and network build agreements. In other words, the regulatory, operational and transactional elements of successful network deployments.
Comcast Corporation is a global media and technology company. From the connectivity and platforms we provide, to the content and experiences we create, our businesses reach hundreds of millions of customers, viewers and guests worldwide. We deliver world-class broadband, wireless, and video through Xfinity, Comcast Business and Sky; produce, distribute and stream leading entertainment, sports and news through brands including NBC, Telemundo, Universal, Peacock and Sky; and bring incredible theme parks and attractions to life through Universal Destinations & Experiences.
Resourcing the bridge between government investment and community engagement to achieve digital equity: The Digital Equity and Opportunity Initiative’s mission is to jumpstart the building of a lasting civic infrastructure. DEOI will provide core funding support to state broadband coalitions with broad-based community engagement and that have the mobilization capacity to maximize the opportunity and drive equitable outcomes in digital access.
Phillips Lytle is a national Leader in Telecommunications Law, ranked by The Legal 500 in the TMT category. The Legal 500’s analysis of Phillips Lytle concludes that our team “has carved out a niche advising clients in relation to all aspects of infrastructure transactions in the telecoms space, representing a range of regional and blue-chip clients in the sale, acquisition, and development of business-critical infrastructure projects.”
Founded in 2008 by Chris Scharrer, DCS Technology Design is focused on developing methodologies that produce highly accurate Broadband accessibility map data. DCS validates where existing served areas are reported correctly and find where unserved gap areas are still being overlooked and has helped Michigan municipalities locate thousands of previously missed or mis-reported homes and businesses that do not have access to Broadband and qualifying them for needed grant funding. County by county, DCS continues to demonstrate the importance of trusted information that assures connectivity and inclusiveness for all residents.
Connect Humanity is a non-profit impact fund advancing digital equity by investing in community connectivity providers. Connect Humanity supports underserved communities to identify the right solutions to meet their connectivity needs and provides funding and technical assistance so they can build the internet infrastructure, tools, and skills they need to participate fully in a digital society.
CostQuest Associates (CQA) is a broadband consulting firm specializing in economic cost modeling, broadband planning, mapping, government advisory, network valuation, appraisal services, and developing GIS (Geographic Information System) data for the broadband ecosystem. Through deep analytical approaches and a wealth of expertise on hand, CostQuest blends real-world engineering principles, regulatory knowledge, economics, and data science, to solve complex broadband challenges and create effective solutions that enable broadband professionals and governments to reach their goals and succeed.
Lerman Senter is regularly recognized as a leading communications firm and is ranked as a top Washington law firm by both U.S. News and World Report and The National Law Journal. Lerman Senter’s Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers attorneys advise clients commencing broadband, voice and video service on technical development, vendor relationships, partner opportunities and compliance solutions. The firm has a library of consumer-facing operating and lease agreements for cost-efficient and FCC-compliant contracts. Lerman Senter’s multi-state services include broadband expansion projects, grant funding, FCC and FTC compliance (including voice, cable and over-the-top), and public-private partnership agreements.