California Broadband Summit

At the CalMatters Ideas Festival in Sacramento, June 5-6, 2024

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California Broadband Summit Program

California is synonymous with innovation. Broadband internet access services can be dynamic and innovative, but they are also a basic infrastructure need. The California Broadband Summit aims to catalyze state stakeholders with actions to ensure better broadband for all Californians.

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Panel 1: The California Broadband Moment

As billions flood into broadband development nationwide, California is riding high on this wave, netting $1.86B from the government’s flagship Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program. For the nation’s leading tech hub, how has this pivotal moment unfolded? How does this dovetail with the state’s ongoing initiatives aimed to drive innovation in the technology and telecom sectors?

  • Rob Osborn, Director of Communications Division, California Public Utility Commission
  • Rep. Tasha Boerner, Assemblymember, California's 77th Assembly District
  • Patrick Blacklock, Chief Executive Officer, Rural County Representatives of California
  • Marc Blakeman, President, California & Pacific States, AT&T
  • Carl Guardino, Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy, Tarana Wireless
  • Janus Norman, President, California Broadband & Video Association (CalBroadband)
  • Drew Clark (moderator), CEO and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Fireside Q&A: Connecting the Dots on Digital Equity

As California seeks to deploy broadband infrastructure, it's important not to separate fiber-optics and wireless towers from the ways that better broadband leads to better lives. In this fireside chat with Broadband Breakfast CEO Drew Clark, California's Deputy Director of Broadband and Digital Literacy Scott Adams will discuss how California is connecting the dots between broadband access, availability, affordability and adoption: They all must work together to achieve digital equity.

  • Scott Adams, Deputy Director of Broadband and Digital Literacy, California Department of Technology
  • Drew Clark (moderator), CEO and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Break for Lunch at the Sheraton Grant Hotel in Sacramento, California.

Panel 2: California’s Pathbreaking Middle Mile Program

In 2021, California unanimously passed SB 156, earmarking a $6 billion broadband investment to bridge the statewide digital divide. More than half of the funds had been funneled towards building open-access, state-owned middle mile networks with high capacity fiber. But with Gov. Gavin Newsom's recent proposed budget changes, how will California adapt? Is the state still positioned to capitalize on its new middle mile network? How will the stakeholders navigate a new pathway?

  • Mark Monroe, Deputy Director, California's Middle Mile Broadband Initiative
  • Barbara Hayes, Chief Economic Development Officer, Rural County Representatives of California
  • David Beaulieu, Telecom Consultant, Tilson Technology Management
  • Trish Kelly (moderator), Managing Director, Valley Vision

Panel 3: California’s Cost to Build

With one of the country's most extensive highway networks, California must also wrangle with the prickly issue of broadband rights-of-way, which often drive up the cost of deployment. This legal clearance for deploying and maintaining broadband infrastructure along public routes often muddies the waters around broadband expansion plans. Where does the state stand on this issue? Are there still any bottlenecks that need ironing out for seamless broadband flow across the state?

  • Bill Higgins, Executive Director, California Association of Councils of Government
  • Roger Timmerman, Executive Director, UTOPIA Fiber
  • Dane Jasper, CEO, Sonic
  • Lori Adams, Vice President of Broadband Policy & Funding Strategy, Nokia
  • Greg Lucas (moderator), California State Librarian

Panel 4: Net Neutrality and Privacy

While federal net neutrality rules hang in limbo, California has long upheld its own law regarding the equal treatment of data, as well as its state-leading law on internet privacy. With its sights on universal broadband access statewide, how does net neutrality factor into California’s game plan? What has California’s leadership role on net neutrality and privacy had on broadband for California?

  • Geoffrey Manne, President and Founder, International Center for Law and Economics
  • Barbara van Schewick, Director, Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society
  • Sarah Lai Stirland (moderator), multimedia journalist

Diamond Level Sponsor

Our world is rapidly being transformed by the widespread and growing availability of connectivity. And AT&T is leading the charge with our nationwide fast and reliable 5G coupled with our growing, multi-gig fiber home internet service. As much as we depend on broadband connectivity today, we think this is only the beginning. Connecting communities across California is in AT&T’s DNA. Ever since Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone more than 145 years ago, we’ve been a leader in connecting people and businesses.

Gold Level Sponsors

Tarana is the creator of ngFWA (next-generation fixed wireless access) — an entirely new technology built from the ground up to deliver reliable residential broadband. G1, our ngFWA platform, overcomes previously insurmountable industry challenges for service providers in every market to deliver better broadband more efficiently.

CalBroadband is comprised of California’s leading experts in the development and deployment of broadband infrastructure. We leverage our member expertise to educate and advocate for transformative public policies that enable broadband service providers to continue their efforts to connect Californians. These efforts include expanding the availability of high-speed internet and broadband into unserved geographic areas and increasing adoption in existing service areas across the state.

Silver Level Sponsor

The California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) has been on a mission over the last decade to forge partnerships and foster public policy to close the Digital Divide. This work has been strategically-focused, results-oriented, and people-centered. CETF is a leading proponent of the Digital Equity Bill of Rights.

California Broadband Summit at CalMatters Ideas Festival

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Additional event information

The event in Sacramento on Wednesday, June 5 is part of the CalMatters Ideas Festival on June 5-6, 2024. The event takes place at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel, 1230 J Street, Sacramento, California. The California Broadband Summit begins at 10:30 a.m. PT.

Included in the registration price is:

  • Luncheon, panels and speeches at the California Broadband Summit on June 5.
  • Late afternoon / evening panels and reception at the CalMatters Ideas Festival on June 5.
  • Two-day pass to the CalMatters Ideas Festival on June 5-6.

Speaker Bios

PANEL 1: The California Broadband Moment

Robert Osborn is director of Communications Division California Public Utilities Commission. He represents the Commission in interactions with public, stakeholder groups, and various government agencies. He also oversees the development and implementation of statewide policies, including the administration of over $3 billion for broadband deployment under the Governor's Broadband For All Initiative.

Rep. Tasha Boerner was first elected to the California State Assembly in November of 2018 and re-elected for her third term in November of 2022. She represents the 77th District, encompassing Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar, and the coastal communities of La Jolla south to Coronado. Tasha was selected by Speaker Emeritus Anthony Rendon to chair the Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee for the 2023-2024 session. She serves on the Joint Committee on Arts and the following policy committees: Higher Education, Military and Veterans Affairs, Emergency Management, and Public Employment and Retirement. In addition, she chairs the Select Committee on Sea Level Rise & the California Economy. Tasha earned an M.A. in International Studies from Claremont Graduate University Institute of Politics and Policy. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Tasha is the proud Mom of two children.

Patrick Blacklock is the President and CEO of the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), a 40-member county service organization that champions policies on behalf of California’s rural counties. Prior to his role at RCRC, Mr. Blacklock led the government relations division of the California Cattlemen's Association before entering local government as the County Administrative Officer with Amador County and then as Assistant City Manager for the City of Elk Grove. In 2010, he was appointed to lead Yolo County as County Administrator. Under his tenure, Mr. Blacklock made lasting changes to Yolo County's governance, such as adopting Yolo County's long-term financial plan, overseeing the development of a manual for Board Governance, and implementing a comprehensive organizational strategic plan. Mr. Blacklock has a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UC Davis in Agricultural and Managerial Economics and Agriculture and Management, respectively.

Marc Blakeman serves as AT&T President – California & Pacific States.  In that capacity, he leads the company’s government affairs, public policy, philanthropic and social engagement initiatives across California. Over the course of his 25-year career at AT&T, he has served as President, Mid-Atlantic States, Vice President of External Affairs for AT&T California and as the Regional Vice President of External Affairs in Illinois. Marc is an active member of the community, serving on numerous non-profit boards including the Board of Directors of the California Chamber of Commerce, the Bay Area Council, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy; he also currently serves as Chair of the Employee Engagement Committee of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force at AT&T.

Carl Guardino serves as the VP of Government Affairs & Policy at Tarana. After three decades in CEO and senior officer roles, including 24 years as CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Carl came to Tarana after leading global government affairs for Bloom Energy. Carl also serves as Chair on the CA Transportation Commission, which annually programs and allocates nearly $10 billion in transportation improvements throughout the state. Through his past leadership roles, Carl has led and co-led 19 statewide, regional, and countywide ballot initiatives, winning 18 out of 19 campaigns. Carl graduated from San Jose State University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus. Outside of work, Carl is a runner, cyclist, and triathlete, having completed 19 marathons and three IRONMANs. Carl and his wife, Leslee, have three children.

Janus Norman, President of CalBroadband, is responsible for overseeing and directing all operations of the Association.  He is the head of the industries lead advocate before the state legislature and public utilities commission, ensuring that the interests of the cable broadband industry, as a provider of multichannel video service, high-speed internet service, and telephone are understood by governmental bodies and reflected in adopted laws, regulations, and policies.   

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.

Fireside Q&A: Connecting the Dots on Digital Equity

Scott Adams was appointed to head the state’s broadband efforts by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2021. His professional history includes positions as Rebuild North Bay’s first-ever scholar-in-residence and director of government and external affairs for Comcast in the Bay Area, where he implemented efforts to bring high-speed internet to low-income households.

Panel 2: California's Pathbreaking Middle Mile Program

Mark Monroe was appointed Deputy Director for the Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative in October 2021. Prior to his appointment, he worked at the California Department of Finance since 2000 where he had served as an Assistant Program Budget Manager since 2011. With a strong interest in public policy, Monroe has extensive experience in policy related to utilities, transportation, business, housing, labor, local government, and tax policy.

Barbara Hayes is Chief Economic Development Officer at Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) and oversees implementation of the organization’s economic development activities. In addition to assisting and supporting local economic development professionals, RCRC’s economic development efforts are focused on three key areas – forest resiliency, rural broadband, and infrastructure development. Barbara has worked in the area of economic development for nearly 30 years at both the state and regional level. Most recently she served as the President and CEO of the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO) where she led the region’s economic development efforts. Prior to joining SACTO, Barbara held several positions within the California Trade and Commerce Agency, including as State Director of the California Small Business Development Center Program and in the offices of Business Development and Local Development, providing technical assistance to small businesses and local governments in an effort to promote successful economic development activities.

David Beaulieu is a Telecom Consultant at Tilson Technology Management with 28 years of experience designing terrestrial and wireless networks for national telecom carriers and state governments. For the past two years David has been supporting GoldenStateNet in its role as third party administrator of the CA MMBI. Drawn to large complex projects David’s experience includes the rollout of early iterations of FTTx, the decommissioning of SONGS nuclear power plant, supporting SCADA for transmission of CA renewable energy, The Big Dig Boston, consultant to Saudi Telecom.

Trish Kelly is a Managing Director at Valley Vision, a regional nonprofit civic leadership organization serving the Sacramento Capital Region.Trish leads Valley Vision's broadband initiatives, which include management of the Connected Capital Area Broadband Consortium and the Capital Region Coalition for Digital Inclusion; local government capacity building through the Getting Connected Resource Guide, prepared in partnership with the California Emerging Technology; and regional policy initiatives. She also serves as the Co-Chair of the CA Forward Broadband for All Work Group. 

Panel 3: California’s Cost to Build

Bill Higgins joined CALCOG as its executive director in 2011.  Previously, he spent 11 years as a senior staff attorney, program manager, and legislative representative for the League of California Cities and its nonprofit affiliate, the Institute of Local Government. There, he focused his efforts on local and regional planning, housing, economic development, and land use policy. He is an enthusiastic regionalist and enjoys working on the day to day policy issues that improve the ability of regional governments to serve their member cities and counties. He has been an adjunct professor at Sonoma State University and teaches periodic classes through the UC Davis and UCLA Extension Programs.

Roger Timmerman has been serving as UTOPIA Fiber’s Executive Director since 2016 and has been a technology management professional in telecommunications and information technology for over 15 years. Roger has been designing and building networks throughout his career in various roles including Vice President of Engineering for Vivint Wireless, CTO for UTOPIA Fiber, Network Engineer for iProvo, and Network Product Manager for Brigham Young University. Roger earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Information Technology from Brigham Young University.

Dane Jasper is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-founder of Sonic, an internet and telecommunications company founded in 1994. From Dial-up to DSL and now fiber-optic Internet, Sonic is breaking new ground in broadband access. Under Dane’s guidance, Sonic has been built upon a foundation of industry-leading privacy policies, customer support, and cutting-edge technology, which have been recognized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, PCMag, and Consumer Reports.

Lori Adams currently serves as the Vice President of Broadband Policy & Funding Strategy for Nokia and is a key member of the Nokia Government Affairs Americas Team. In her role, Adams is responsible developing strategies and tools to enable increased company participation in state, federal, and international programs supporting infrastructure deployment by Nokia’s business organizations. Adams is a highly skilled telecommunications attorney and senior executive with more than twenty years’ experience and a successful track record in the government and private sector. This includes extensive experience with business development, federal, state, and local telecommunications issues, legal and regulatory matters, grant funding, municipal broadband, strategic planning, project management for large complex projects, public policy, government affairs, lobbying and public speaking. Adams has a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the American University and is an honors graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Greg Lucas was appointed California’s 25th State Librarian by Governor Jerry Brown on March 25, 2014. Prior to his appointment, Greg was the Capitol Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Chronicle where he covered politics and policy at the State Capitol for nearly 20 years. During Greg’s tenure as State Librarian, the State Library’s priorities have been to improve reading skills throughout the state, put library cards into the hands of every school kid and provide all Californians the information they need – no matter what community they live in. He holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from California State University San Jose, a Master’s in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, and a degree in communications from Stanford University.

Panel 4: Net Neutrality and Privacy

Geoffrey A. Manne is president and founder of the International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research center based in Portland, Oregon. He is also a visiting professor of law at IE University in Madrid and a distinguished fellow at Northwestern University’s Center on Law, Business, and Economics. Before founding ICLE, Manne taught at Lewis & Clark Law School, worked in the legal department at Microsoft, practiced antitrust law at Latham & Watkins, clerked for the Hon. Morris S. Arnold on the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and was a research assistant for Judge Richard Posner.

Barbara van Schewick is a professor of law, and by courtesy, electrical engineering at Stanford Law School. She is also the Director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. Van Schewick is a leading expert on net neutrality. Her research has influenced net neutrality debates in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Europe, and has been cited by academics, stakeholders, regulatory agencies, and other public entities worldwide. The Federal Communications Commission’s 2010 and 2015 Open Internet Orders relied heavily on her work. She served as the lead technical advisor for California’s 2018 landmark net neutrality law that restored all of the protections the FCC abolished in 2017, and testified at every hearing on the bill. She wrote amicus briefs on novel questions of federal preemption of state broadband laws in cases challenging state broadband laws, including California’s net neutrality law that was upheld three times by federal courts.

Sarah Lai Stirland is a Bay Area multimedia journalist. She currently contributes to KALW Public Media, and her local paper, The Los Gatan, among other outlets. She’s covered technology and policy for WIRED, National Journal’s Technology Daily, Personal Democracy Media, POLITICO and Broadband Breakfast, among other publications. She is the former Director of Digital Community at Ready, a data and software services platform for internet service providers.

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California Broadband Summit
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