Broadband Bunch presents

Adventures in Broadband. Embracing Obstacles, Seizing Opportunities and Finding Solutions. 

In this virtual series, we present key topics important to broadband providers and their customers. Each panel consists of industry leaders, experts and analysts as they engage in open and frank discussions on mission critical topics in the broadband space.

Session 27: June 20th, 2pm ET

Lost in the Digital Divide: Are the FCC Broadband Maps Failing Our Communities?

Join us for an upcoming webinar on the FCC Broadband Maps. The digital divide has been a growing issue for many years, and while the FCC Broadband Maps are meant to help address this problem, they are not without their major flaws. As we continue to face this issue head-on, it’s critical to understand what we can do to improve the accuracy of the maps and ensure that they are useful tools in bridging not widening the digital divide. Our expert panelists will dive into the major problems of the map and discuss possible solutions moving forward. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from the best and be part of the conversation. Register today!

Session 26: May 24th, 2pm EST

Bridging the Gap Between Broadband and Real Estate

Throughout the broadband industry, we often tout the statistic that fiber internet can increase home values by 3.1% or $5,000. But this is only true when real estate agents and home buyers know where fiber internet is available. With unreliable FCC maps and no address-level data, many agents don’t know where to find information they can trust to answer client’s questions and market fiber-connected homes. At the same time, fiber-connected communities across the country are looking for ways to spotlight their networks and attract new residents and businesses.

In this panel, we’ll hear from experienced broadband marketer Chad Mix, real estate specialist Robert Zuzek, rural economic development expert Josh Seidemann, and Fiber Homes creator Robert Gilbert. Our panelists will discuss ways they’re bridging the gap between broadband and real estate to help rural communities thrive in the digital age.

Our Guests:

Robert Gilbert Chad Mix Joshua Seidemann Robert Zuzek Kaleigh Cox

Session 25: May 17th, 2pm EST

The New IT: How technology leaders are preparing for the shift

IT is changing and not in small ways as seen in the past. The IT Labor fight is intense and technology workers are more vocal then ever on expectations. The IT Role in the organization is changing at an accelerated pace and technology leaders are re-thinking how to respond. The decision making process for IT Investments has moved past the traditional model and organizations are adopting new methods for directing technology investments. What’s driving the discussions on the possible elimination of the traditional IT function? How are leaders responding to what is being called the “great resignation”? Can we really get to a “No Code” environment sometime soon? Join us for this exciting discussion.

Our Guests:

Nikunj Nirmal Rob Kafka

Session 24: April 14th, 2pm - 3pm EST

Modernizing Broadband RFP Practices

In this session, we will look at the challenges with the traditional RFP methods used by companies to buy software and why they often fall short. We will discuss pitfalls of traditional methods and introduce some proven and ready to use recommendations for developing an ‘intelligent RFP’. The focus will be on how one creates and conducts an RFP that will guide an organization into evaluating true differentiated offerings of a software company and drive a timely selection decision with confidence.

Our Guests:

Guy Bevente Pete Pizzutillo

Session 23: March 24th, 2pm EST

The Imperative of Public Broadband: March 24, 2 pm

There are going to be times when no matter what a community says or does, it is not going to be able to get the broadband its citizens need. In these instances it is imperative that communities press forward anyway; but how? Hear how these communities have solved broadband deficiencies through self-deployment and why they decided to undertake this journey.

Our Guests:

"F. X." Flinn Angela Bennink Ryan R. Maehl

Session 22: February 24th, 2pm EST

Public-Private Partnerships – A Checklist for Success

As money begins to stream into the broadband space over the next few years, not every community will want to take on the task of building and operating their own broadband network. For these, lining up the right partners makes sense. We’ve assembled an excellent panel of experienced entities committed to partnering with others seeking better broadband. Click the link to register to hear and understand their thought processes. This session will be hosted by Heather Burnett Gold, CEO of HBG Strategies, a consultancy engaged in broadband education targeted at enabling fiber deployment among underserved communities.

Our Guests:

Monica Webb David Kramer Jeff Berthold

Session 21: January 19 th, 2pm EDT

The Funding is Coming, the Funding is Coming

How will your community structure its broadband plan to take advantage of this opportunity? In this special series, presented by the Broadband Bunch, we launch an examination of several of the ownership models that your community could utilize in its broadband plan in order to take advantage of the once in a lifetime funding coming from NTIA. While each state will have its own guidelines, it is not too early for each community to consider how they will organize for the best delivery mechanism for their circumstances – partner with a local incumbent or electric coop, create a public private partnership with a third party or build it themselves.

In this initial episode we hear from Joanne Hovis, president of CTC Technologies, who has guided tens of communities, as to the pros and cons of each of the different structures and what your community should be doing today to enable anyone of them. This overview will help direct you in the weeks ahead when we will review the specifics as to each model. If you are looking to capitalize on the coming funding opportunity, you will not want to miss this episode and upcoming ones in this series.

Our Guests:

Joanne Hovis, CEO

Session 20: January 6th, 2pm EDT

Broadband Funding Options and Potential Pitfalls

In this discussion, we will explore funding for broadband expansion on a strategic level. Instead of the laundry list of federal/state/local grant opportunities that are flooding the market today, we will discuss hidden costs and potential pitfalls that should be on your radar. We are joined by Marty Fredericks, CPA and Partner, BKD CPAs and Advisors, an expert with a strong financial/accounting background having worked with many rural providers. Join us as we explore options you can deploy to help you leverage funding to build faster and more efficiently.

Our Guests:

Marty J. Fredericks, CPA

Session 19: October 28th, 9am EDT

Project Gigabit: How the UK Is Moving Forward at Light Speed

Bringing ultra high-speed connectivity to all areas of the UK is now front and centre as the UK launches the new 5B Project Gigabit. The overall goal is to reach over 1 million hard to reach homes and business with ultra-high-speed internet. But how will the UK get done? Join Heather Gold as she leads this exciting panel with Richard Thorpe of City Fibre, Steve Leighton of Voneus, Justin Leese of Ogi, and Vincent Garnier of FTTH Council Europe.

Our Guests:

Vincent Garnier Justin Leese Steve Leighton Richard Thorpe

Session 18: September 7th, 2pm EDT

One on One with Deb Socia, The Enterprise Center, Chattanooga, TN

In Chattanooga, EPB’s fiber optic network connects to every home and business in its 600-square-mile footprint, creating vast opportunity for innovation. Since 2014, The Enterprise Center has worked with partner organizations in Chattanooga to foster economic development by capitalizing on the gigabit network and smart grid. The Enterprise Center aims to advance entrepreneurship and Smart City innovation while ensuring equitable access to technology for all residents.

In this one-on-one with Deb Socia, the president & CEO of The Enterprise Center, we will learn about some of The Enterprise Center’s key accomplishments and how the organization works as a community partner to make an impact.

Our Guests:

Deb Socia

Session 17: August 17th, 2pm EDT

Myth-Busting Telco Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics

Waiting to modernize your systems to realize the promise of AI, Analytics and advance capabilities is the wrong strategy. Adopting platform versus waiting for you to get your house in order. Your business is opaque – do you have access to the info you need? Does it feel like a bridge too far? Join AT&T veteran and founder of BevTek, Guy Bevente as he discusses the realities of AI with industry leaders.

Our Guests:

Kristina Jensen Steve Leighton Nikunj Nirmal

Session 16: August 3rd, 2pm EDT

Get Lost! A Broadband Mapping Tool That Really Works

On June 17, the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) released an “Indicators of Broadband Need” tool that puts on one map, for the first time, data from both public and private sources. It contains data aggregated at the county, census tract, and census block level from the American Community Survey collected by the U.S. Census, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Measurement Lab (M-Lab), Ookla and Microsoft. Speed-test data provided by M-Lab and Ookla help to illustrate the reality that communities experience when going online, with many parts of the country reporting speeds that fall below the FCC’s current benchmark for fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload. This is the first map that allows users to graphically compare and contrast these different data sources.

Most importantly, this interactive mapping result in made generally available to the public at large. NTIA also offers to state governments and federal partners a geographic information system (GIS) platform called the National Broadband Availability Map (NBAM) that provides more complex tools for analyzing broadband access, such as the ability to upload GIS files to compare proposed projects.

On August 3, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, please join Heather Burnett Gold as she interviews NTIA’s Sarah Bleau, who will review all the capabilities of the new map and offer a demo of the tool.

Our Guests:

Sarah Bleau

Session 15: July 20th, 1:30pm - 3pm EDT

State and Regional Broadband Funding Options

Concerned that passing on the recent round of RDOF federal funding has precluded your company from valuable financial opportunities?  Don’t be! Particularly if you live in a state or region that has implemented a strong broadband program as more and more states realize they must do if they want their citizens to successfully emerge from the pandemic. An updated March 2021 Pew Research Report lists a strong funding and operations program as a key to a successful state broadband program and our panelists will discuss what this entails and how you can benefit.

Our Guests:

Russ Elliott Bradley Roebke Angie Dickison Rob Osborn

Session 14: June 15th, 2pm EDT

Muni Broadband: Creating the Communities Where Folks Want to Live

Numerous studies have quantified the economic impact of all fiber networks on economic development but what about the intangible values of living in communities that invested in broadband abundance. Join this elite panel of municipal broadband providers as they discuss have they have attracted and retained more residents to their highly desirable communities.

Our Guests:

Angela Imming Brittany Smith Robert Taylor

Session 13: May 25th, 2pm EDT

After the Build: Creating Sustainable Broadband Operations

After the excitement of the build is the reality of the operations. Keeping expenses down while keeping subscriber numbers up and new services/apps coming … the struggle is real. In order to succeed, providers must have a scalable platform, market insight and business analytics not to mention automated activation and provisioning.

Our Guests:

Hank Blackwood Russ Brethower Robert Petruk Kris Ward

Session 12: May 18th, 1pm EDT

Subscriber-Centric Operations: Why It’s Different; Why it’s Necessary

A subscriber-centric perspective extends well beyond customer service.  Being responsive, proactive and understanding your subscriber’s experience should happen at everywhere within your business. In this discussion, we speak with industry leaders about a subscriber-centric model and how it turns traditional operations on its head.  We examine how this model will be difference between long-term success or failure.

Session 11: May 11th, 2pm EDT

Strategic considerations to prepare for NTIA’s (and other!) new broadband funding

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will distribute more than $2 billion in new broadband funding through three new programs created by the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act…and that’s just the start of the new funding opportunities coming our way. If your organization or institution will be eligible to apply for one or more of these programs, you shouldn’t wait for the rules to start thinking about the opportunity. While each of the upcoming programs will have different rules and requirements, your strategic approach to preparing an application will be vital. This webinar will address how you can start preparing the broad outlines of your projects now – so you’re ready to submit a competitive application when the funding window’s open later this Summer.

Our Guests:

Heather Mills

Session 10: April 27th, 2pm EDT

Why Aren’t There More Open Access Networks?

The goal of Open Access Networks extends beyond access to the internet.  OANs should be a sustainable network that provides the freedom of information exchange, fosters a competitive ecosystem, enables digital innovation essential for its growth and long-term affordability.  In this panel, we examine the obstacles that prevent this vision becoming reality.  We talk with OAN practitioners to identify how they have progressed towards this vision.

Our Guests:

Chris Mitchell David Corrado Kim McKinley Sean Coletti

Session 9: March 11th, 2pm EDT

Partnerships Expedite Broadband Deployment

Concerned about having the necessary internal resources to build the Broadband your community needs? Not to worry, you can find partners who can fill in any holes in your deployment plans. Join this session of entities experienced and committed to partnering with others seeking better broadband.

Hosted by Heather Burnett Gold, CEO of HBG Strategies, a consultancy engaged in broadband education targeted at enabling fiber deployment among underserved communities.

Our Guests:

Casey Logan Cullen McCarty Alexander Hagen Ami Rodriguez

Session 8: March 9th, 9am EDT

High Pay Back Automation in Telecom

Telecommunication companies at all Tiers continue to look for the greatest possible return on technology and automation investments. There are many investment opportunities, but Telecoms need to decide where to invest precious and limited capital. Given the need to maximize ROI, where should Telecoms place their “big bets” when it comes to selecting technology and automation initiatives? In this session, we will discuss 4 key technology trends – Public Cloud, Edge Computing, AI, and Analytics – with a focus on High Pay Back potential for each.

Our Guests:

Charlotte Patrick Bryan Estes Saikumar Dubagunta

Session 7: September 15th, 2pm EDT

Open Access Networks: Are Americans Ready to Jump In?

In this all Q&A panel discussion, participants will hear from operators and vendors who are providing open access networks – networks that generally offer a separation between the physical layer (transmission) provided by one operator and the services layer (products) allowing multiple operators. This system has been in place in the US for years in the middle mile market but is just being tested in the last mile market. While it is gaining strength in European counties, is the US ready to jump-in as a way to offer network infrastructure in areas that might not normally justify the investment?

Networks currently operating this model include Utopia in Utah, Grant PUD in Washington, Medina County, Ohio and more. Join us as we discuss what needs to be enabled for success.

Our Guests:

Kim McKinley Russ Brethower Brian Snider Kyle Glaeser

Session 6: August 11th, 1pm EDT

Getting the Broadband That Your Community Wants: Factors in Deciding to Build it Yourselves

Often wanting better broadband for your community, broadband on par with that offered to urban/suburban areas, is not enough. Your current incumbents may determine, based on their return parameters, that your community should does not justify the investment that it will take to deliver that level of service. What to do? Wait, hope? No, put together an action plan for determining your own broadband future including finding partners and consultants who can help build this model. This session will feature those experts discussing what it takes and how to achieve success.

Our Guests:

Will Aycock Benjamin J. Fineman Steve Lange Chris Mitchel

Session 5: July 7th, 2pm EDT

Yes, Fiber Networks are Still Being Built!

The good news is that social distancing is not stopping the flow of fiber to communities. It is an investment in infrastructure that, because it is almost all out of doors and does not require close contact with others, can and is continuing in strength. Hear from these companies involved in bringing fiber to you and your customers as they explain the new ground rules for maintaining the flow of essential high-speed broadband.

Our Guests:

Carl Meyerhoefer Jeff Reiman Jason Pond Chris Beisner

Session 4: June 16th, 1pm EDT

Funding New Networks in the Era of Social Distancing

So, a little panic has set in, how can we even afford at a time like this to build a broadband network that will enable access to the critical applications our communities need? State and federal funding opportunities are still available as are more creative public/private partnerships. In this session, professionals who understand the myriad of funding opportunities will discuss options that will fit any community.

Our Guests:

Carol Mattey Joanne S. Hovis

Session 3: June 9nd, 2pm EDT

Life post COVID-19: A new normal?

The worldwide pandemic has led to economic disruption, unprecedented government action, business model shifts, and adjustments in the way we live, work, and play. Will our responses lead to a new normal? Join us in the conversation focused on some of the key changes that we embraced and thoughts on the longer lasting impacts.

Our Guests:

Marc D. Guerra Julie White Chandra N. Sekharan

Session 2: May 26th, 2pm EDT

Telemedicine: Critical for Our time

With doctors and hospitals slammed with treating Covid-19, how can communities safely manage healthcare for noncritical patients, regardless of their illness? In this session, learn how telemedicine can be employed for remote maintenance of patients with chronic illness, initial screening and diagnosis. Hear from experts who have created effective telehealth networks and what worked.

Our Guests:

Kathy Hsu Wibberly Kathy G. Schwarting Jim Balshi Aaron Rogers

Session 1: May 5th, 2pm EDT

Distance Learning: What Creates Success

In this session, we will hear from educators involved in distance learning as well as researchers who have explored the requirements for successful implementation of distance learning including access to devices, access to broadband and effective training. Companies and communities should be able to evaluate if their distance learning requirements will be sufficient to meet their educational goals during this time of social distancing.

Our Guests:

Todd Way Johannes M. Bauer Pierrette Renée Dagg Nick Fisher Erin Huggins

Hosted By:

Heather Burnett Gold is the CEO of HBG Strategies, a consultancy engaged in broadband education targeted at enabling fiber deployment among underserved communities.

A thirty-year plus industry veteran, Gold most recently served as the President/CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. Prior to that, she was the SVP of External Affairs and Access Management for XO Communications.

Gold holds a BA (magna cum laude) and MA degrees in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Washington University in St. Louis. Gold also completed the General Management Program of the Harvard Business School. She was honored by the Washington Business Journal as one of its 2010 Women Who Mean Business and was recognized by Fierce Telecom as one of its Women in Wireline for 2013.

Guy Bevente is the founder of BevTek – a consulting company focused on advising software and services companies with a focus on digital transformation. Guy is also a Telecom veteran who led various IT transformative efforts during his 21 years at AT&T. Guy’s responsibilities at AT&T included major systems integration and modernization efforts across both the BSS and OSS space.

More recently, he led architecture and delivery teams in the digital domain space for both the B2C and B2B channels. He also has a great deal of experience in M&A, Organization Development, and Driving Change.