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Connecting the Heartland Workshop Series

Bringing together decision-makers and influencers from the Capitol with problem-solvers and doers in the heartland

The Connecting the Heartland Workshop Series aims to improve coordination and maximize the impact of new federal funding programs by convening stakeholders from the Capitol with those in the heartland – from urban neighborhoods to rural farming communities.

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Availability Workshop • September 21, 2021

Seizing this historic moment to close the broadband access gap

In this workshop, we heard from those leading broadband efforts on the state level in Illinois and Ohio and from a panel of heartland mayors working to close the digital divide in their communities.

Key Takeaways:

  • This is the moment for communities to lean in and drive the process of solving their local connectivity gaps.
  • The need for coordination between all levels of government as well as private and non-profit sector stakeholders has never been greater.   
  • Building infrastructure alone will not close the digital divide. Investments in affordability and adoption must go hand-in-hand with expanding availability.
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Adoption Workshop • August 2, 2021

Closing the adoption gap and promoting digital equity

Highlighted in this workshop, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who recently established a first-of-its-kind Office of Digital Equity and Literacy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Expanding access goes beyond infrastructure – we need funding for adoption efforts to fully close the gap.
  • To effectively deploy this unprecedented digital inclusion funding, states need guidance and resources to maximize impact.
  • No one-size-fits-all approach: States must work with community stakeholders to include digital inclusion in grant programs and planning.
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Affordability Workshop • April 19, 2021

Addressing the affordability gap and promoting the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit

FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, and leading state and local stakeholders from around the country, discussed overcoming the affordability barrier to high-speed home internet service and the roll-out of the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit.

Key Takeaways:

  • Federal programs will only be successful with planning/ coordination among state and local stakeholders.
  • Take note of lessons learned and best-practices and share them widely for future efforts.
  • Success will take speed, creativity and true grassroots, person-to-person, outreach.
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