Archived Webinars




February 2018

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How do counties take on broadband planning? How do counties prioritize and set up a competitive bid process? What approaches and resources have been most successful? Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities, will guide our panel as they answer these questions and more. Sybil Tate, Assistant County Manager in Person County, NC, will provide her hands-on experience in county broadband planning and share the keys to her success. Eric Frederick, Vice President for Community Affairs for Connected Nation, will share his federal perspective on the importance of county broadband efforts. With a special emphasis given to local and state efforts in the Trump Administration's infrastructure proposal, counties could be the lynchpins to building broadband.


Moderator: Deb Socia, Executive Director, Next Century Cities
Sybil Tate, Assistant County Manager, Person County NC
Eric Frederick, Vice President for Community Affairs for Connected Nation



Libraries as Digital Inclusion Champions

January 2018

Webinar Slides Available Here

What does the term "digital inclusion" mean? How do libraries play a role in connecting their communities? Answer these questions and learn how libraries can promote digital literacy, civic engagement, education/learning, health/wellness and more during our January Grow2Gig+ webinar. Panelists will present their own case studies on innovative digital inclusion projects at the local, state, and national levels as well as discuss solutions for your library and community.


ModeratorLourdes Aceves, Senior Program Manager, Urban Libraries Council (ULC)
Stacey Aldrich, Hawaii State Librarian
Grier Carson, Director, Putnam County Public Library, Indiana
Amber Gregory, Coordinator of E-Rate Services, Arkansas State Library


December 2017

Webinar Slides Available Here

The FCC modernized its E-rate policies in 2014 to encourage greater build-out of fiber to rural schools and libraries. But the implementation of these policies has been fraught with difficulty, and over one-half of E-rate fiber applications requesting Special Construction Charges have been denied. This webinar will present the perspectives of schools applying for E-rate fiber funding as well as the perspective of a bidding providers.


ModeratorFred Brakeman, President, Infinity Communications and Consulting, Inc.
Hatton Littman, Communications Director, Missoula County Public School
Rob Oyler, CEO & Founder, WANRack
Mike Daniel, Vice President, Tech Funds Inc.


November 2017

Webinar Slides Available Here

The 2014 E-rate Modernization Order made new funding available to improve wireless broadband connections in schools and libraries. Some schools and libraries have made innovative choices to deploy wireless services on school buses and to residential users off-campus. Join our panelists as they discuss how to make the most of this funding to close the homework gap. Andrew Moore, CIO at Boulder Valley School District, will also discuss his petition to the FCC regarding off-campus use of existing E-rate connectivity. Read SHLB's comments filed in support of the petition.

Creative solutions like these are especially critical now since one in three American homes lack broadband, according to the Pew Research Center. Five million homes with students lack access to essential Internet services to complete their homework, access online resources, and apply to college.


  • Moderator: Susan Bearden, Bearden Education Technology Consulting, LLC (Former Senior Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education)
  • Andrew Moore, CIO at Boulder Valley School District
  • John Harrington, CEO, Funds for Learning


October 2017

Webinar Slides Available

The Connect America Fund (CAF) is a federal program that provides funding to defray the cost of operating and extending both fixed and mobile broadband networks to serve consumers and small businesses in rural, high-cost areas in the United States. Join two former senior FCC officials as they discuss the History of the Connect America Fund, the Phase II  Auction (Performance Standards, Application Process, and Auction Mechanics), as well as Reporting Requirements.


  • Carol Mattey, Mattey Consulting LLC
  • Rebekah Goodheart, Jenner & Block (on behalf of rural electric industry)
  • Moderator: John Windhausen, SHLB Coalition


Q. Is 10 down 1 up for the extremely high-cost areas (remote areas) or can it be 4 down 1 up for remote areas?
A.  The minimum speed that can be bid in the Phase II auction is 10/1.

Q. To be clear, funding is only available to entities that are categorized as telecommunications providers?
A.  Correct.  This is a statutory requirement. Even so, a provider does not need to be a telecommunications carrier today to participate in the auction.  For example, WISPs and many electric cooperatives are not considered telecommunications carriers today but can participate in the auction.  In other words, an entity does not need to be a telecommunications carrier today but must be willing to become a telecommunications carrier and offer voice and broadband if it bids and wins in the auction.  

Q.  Companies that provide middle mile backbone fiber that are not telecommunications companies without last mile connections are not eligible.
A.  Correct.  Aside from the statutory requirement that recipients of funds must be “eligible telecommunications carriers,” the recipients of Phase II funding are required to offer service to end user (residential and small business) locations. At the same time, a middle mile provider could partner with a last mile provider and/or decide to extend service to the last mile in certain areas for purposes of the auction.  

Q.  What does an auction cap of $146.10 per month mean?  Does that mean it would cost a provider $146.10 a month to connect a household and meet their profit margin?
A.  The sum of the reserve prices nationwide is larger than the amount budgeted for the Phase II auction.  The FCC has stated that the purpose of capping funding per location is to ensure that “Phase II support is not unreasonably skewed towards areas that the Commission has deemed the most expensive to serve and the most remote.” The FCC’s cost model assumes a greenfield fiber build.  To the extent that providers are using other technologies, or can leverage existing assets, the actual costs to serve a particular census block could vary from the estimates in cost model, and in fact be less than the capped amount.  The FCC expects bidders to do due diligence to determine the cost to deploy broadband service at the relevant speed tier for particular census blocks before participating in the auction.

Q. Are there performance testing standards for CAF2 recipients?
A.  The FCC has not yet adopted specific performance testing standards.

Q. Reporting seems to be aggregated up to the state level where consumers cannot see the success of a given recipient in a given census block.  Is that right?
A. Yes, compliance is determined at the state-level, not the census block level.


September 2017

Webinar Slides Available Here

The Rural Health Care Program has reached a fiscal cliff. Funding requests for 2016 exceeded the program's $400 million cap, and USAC recently announced it would reduce funding by 7.5% for 2016 applicants. SHLB filed an emergency letter with ten Telehealth Networks and is currently urging the Commission to take immediate steps to provide interim relief. Join our panelists as they discuss the importance of the Rural Health Care Program, telemedicine, and other steps we can take to improve the health of rural communities.

  • MODERATOR: Camelia Rogers, Telehealth Funding Connection, LLC
  • Rebecca Manna, Kalispell Regional Medical Center
  • Jim Rogers, New England Telehealth Consortium



Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series - RURAL HEALTH CARE PROGRAM

April 2017

 Slides Available Here

The Rural Health Care Program has reached a fiscal cliff. Funding requests for 2016 exceeded the program's $400 million cap, and USAC recently announced it would reduce funding by 7.5% for 2016 applicants. SHLB filed an emergency letter with ten Telehealth Networks and is currently urging the Commission to take immediate steps to provide interim relief. Join our panelists as they discuss the importance of the Rural Health Care Program, telemedicine, and other steps we can take to improve the health of rural communities.

Kathy Wibberly (Director of the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center) provided an overview of the program. Ally Orwig (Project Coordinator at Indiana Rural Health Association) provided the perspective of a funding recipient and challenges faced. Jeff Mitchell (former Director of RHC Program and currently Of Counsel at Lukas, LaFuria, Gutierrez & Sachs, LLP) explored the policies around the future of the program. John Windhausen (Executive Director, SHLB) moderated the discussion.


Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series - Broadband in the Infrastructure Bill

March 2017

Slides Available Here

As the presidential election revealed, rural communities feel neglected and left behind. That's why SHLB's Grow2Gig+ webinar explored the specific broadband needs of rural America and how the upcoming infrastructure bill has the power to address those needs.

John Windhausen (Executive Director, SHLB Coalition) discussed funding mechanisms and recommendations in SHLB's recent Rural American Broadband Connectivity (ABC) Plan. John Richards (CEO & General Manager, Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative) and Chip Byers (MoreNet) provided the rural/electric co-op perspective and shared practical insight from implementing broadband networks.


Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series - Successful Models for State Subsidy Programs

February 2017 

Slides Available Here

Many anchor institutions cannot afford their share of the cost of broadband, even after receiving federal funds from programs like E-rate. Fortunately, some states have developed programs to address Community Anchor Institution (CAI) funding and broadband challenges. SHLB's Grow2Gig+ webinar highlighted three of these different state programs. The webinar featured Kurt Kiefer and James Sylla (Wisconsin), Susan McVey (Oklahoma), and Diane Wells (Minnesota) and was moderated by Bob Collie (Managing Director, Parana River Group). 

Kurt Kiefer and James Sylla provided an overview of the Broadband Expansion Grant managed by Wisconsin's Public Service Commission. Susan McVey discussed the Oklahoma Broadband Initiative and how it connects schools, libraries, health clinics and other anchors. Diane Wells provided insight into Minnesota's successful Border-to-Border Broadband grant program. Learn how your state can support greater broadband connectivity for all!


Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series - Partnerships and Rural Broadband Needs

January 2017 

Slides Available Here


As the presidential election revealed, rural communities feel neglected and left behind. That's why this webinar explores the specific broadband needs of rural America and how partnerships can address those needs. Join Joanne Hovis (President, CTC Technology & Energy), Chris Mitchell (Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance), Mark O'Connor (Senior Vice President, Carlson Wireless), and John Windhausen (Executive Director, SHLB Coalition) as they discuss the various solutions to bring rural communities up to speed. 

Joanne Hovis discussed the particular broadband challenges rural communities face. Chris Mitchell explained the role of Community Anchor Institutions in connecting communities and review promising business models. Mark O'Connor discussed the potential of TV White Space technology in rural communities. John Windhausen moderated as well as summarized SHLB's recent American Broadband Connectivity (ABC) Proposal for the Trump Administration. 


Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series: Government Funding and Networks

November 2016 

Slides Available Here

This Grow2Gig+ webinar explored how government funding impacts anchor institution broadband. Federal, state, and local governments are crucial in broadband deployment. Governments can build fiber networks to connect anchor institutions as well as fund broadband network providers to build to expensive or rural areas. Join Bob Collie (Senior Vice President of ENA), Louis Fox (CENIC President and CEO), Tom Rolfes (Education IT Manager for State of Nebraska), and Clark Rucker (Assistant General Manager, CFO of Morristown Utility Systems) as they discuss the various ways that federal, state, and local governments impact school, library, and other anchor institution connectivity. 

Tom Rolfes discussed how the State of Nebraska has expanded its network to serve the K-12 community. From the opposite perspective, Louis Fox of the Corporation of Education Network Initiatives in Cailfornia (CENIC) discussed how CENIC has used funding from the State of California to connect almost 85% of California's libraries in three years. Clark Rucker, a municipal broadband specialist, then provided insight into government networks at the local level. Bob Collie moderated and tie the conversation into what we can expect from the Trump Administration.


Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series: Reducing Broadband Costs: Competition & Infrastructure

October 2016

Slides Available Here

High service prices and build-out costs remain big hurdles to improving digital equity across the nation. Watch Tom Koutsky (Connected Nation), John Windhausen (SHLB Coalition), and Nick Alexander (Level 3) tackle the question of how to reduce broadband costs through competition and infrastructure.

Tom Koutsky approached the topic of cost reduction with a discussion of infrastructure policy and what federal, state, and local governments can do to improve broadband build-out in a timely and effective manner. John Windhausen then offered various means of improving competition in the marketplace. Jumping off this discussion, Nick Alexander tied in how BDS reform can improve broadband competition for schools, libraries, and other anchors.


Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series: The First Steps in Creating a Broadband Plan

September 2016

 Slides Available Here

This webinar marked the kick-off of the SHLB Coalition's Grow2Gig+ Webinar Series. September we discussed The First Steps in Creating a Broadband Plan. The discussion drew from the first two policy papers and answer questions such as: 

  • How do I conduct a Broadband Needs Assessment? 
  • Who should be involved in the creation of a broadband plan? 
  • How do I ensure I'm using wireless most efficiently? 
  • How do I improve wireless connections between buildings and the community?

Jeff Campbell, Cisco, and Kelleigh Cole, Broadband Director of Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development, gave their insights in a conversation moderated by John Windhausen, SHLB Executive Director.