• Expanding Internet Financing: Bank Financing for Rural Broadband Initiatives

    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) published this newsletter to highlight the important role that national banks and federal savings associations (collectively, banks) can play in helping rural communities gain reliable, high-speed internet access through broad

  • Technical Assistance Overview: Digital Inclusion

    NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team provides expert assistance and support to stakeholders that are interested in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programs that advance economic development, education and public safety in

  • Technical Assistance Overview: Broadband Infrastructure

    NTIA’s BroadbandUSA team provides expert assistance and support to stakeholders that are interested in broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion programs that advance economic development, education and public safety initiati

  • Digital Inclusion Guide: Connectivity with a Purpose

    Digital inclusion implies that individuals have access to robust broadband connections; Internet-enabled devices that meet their needs; and the skills to explore, create and succeed in the digital world. BroadbandUSA developed this resource to help leaders consider factors that could impact or influence their digital inclusio

  • Webinars Archives

    Practical Broadband Conversations

    BroadbandUSA presents a webinar on the third Wednesday of every month at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on a range of topics of interest to policymakers, decision-makers, practitioners and consumers. 

    What: Practical Broadband Conversations are monthly, hourlong webinars presenting practitioners speaking and taking questions on the range of topics addressed by BroadbandUSA, including best practices for improving broadband deployment, digital literacy, digital inclusion and e-government

    Who: The webinars are open to the public and press.

    When: BroadbandUSA will hold the webinars from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Wednesday of every month.

    Registration: The registration link for the next webinar is under Events on the BroadbandUSA homepage. Pre-registration is recommended. NTIA asks registrants to provide their first and last names, city, state, job title, and email addresses for both registration purposes and to receive any updates on BroadbandUSA. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

    For more information: Please contact Elaine Sloan at General questions and comments are welcome at any time via email to

          November 14, 2018
          Broadband Connectivity is Transforming Healthcare
          Broadband connectivity is critical for many reasons, including access to quality healthcare. From remote patient monitoring to mobile health applications accessed via smartphones, tablets, or other devices, advances in telemedicine and telehealth technologies have impacted patient care and health outcomes far away from hospitals and doctors’ offices. Connected-care services significantly reduce economic and administrative costs for patients and health care providers. This webinar explored innovations in telehealth and telemedicine applications and programs that two leading universities have developed to improve patient health in their states, especially in rural and remote areas.

                October 17, 2018 
                Federal Broadband Funding: Policies and Programs to Connect America
                This BroadbandUSA webinar offered an overview of federal funding options to support increasing broadband access in communities across the United States. Learn about recent program and policy updates from officials representing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

                  September 19, 2018 
                  Innovative and Emerging Broadband Technologies: Providing Economical Alternatives for Rural Broadband Access
                  This webinar focused on statewide strategies to promote broadband adoption and use in rural communities. Speakers highlighted the role of state governments, libraries and university extension programs in planning and executing these strategies. The speakers also discussed the role of broadband adoption in rural economic and workforce development, as well as approaches to facilitate broadband use and improve digital skills.

                  Note: No webinar was held in August 2018

                  July 18, 2018
                  Statewide Strategies for Rural Digital Inclusion
                  This webinar focused on statewide strategies to promote broadband adoption and use in rural communities. Speakers highlighted the role of state governments, libraries and university extension programs in planning and executing these strategies. The speakers also discussed the role of broadband adoption in rural economic and workforce development, as well as approaches to facilitate broadband use and improve digital skills.

                    June 20, 2018
                    Smart Agriculture: Increasing Productivity Through Technology
                    Smart agriculture engages technologies such as Big Data, GPS, IoT and connected devices to help farmers and ranchers better manage their production. Using these technologies, farmers and ranchers can improve water efficiency, produce higher quality crops and raise healthier livestock. Reliable and robust rural connectivity are fundamental to helping farmers gain benefits from new technologies. The speakers covered advances in smart agriculture equipment and sensors, the use of big data analytics for decision-making and highlight new innovation hubs, entrepreneurial support and test beds. The webinar will also featured the work of the NTIA/NIST jointly facilitated Global Cities Team Challenge Smart Agriculture and Rural SuperCluster to develop best practices.

                      May 16, 2018
                      Infrastructure Week Special: Successful Models and Best Practices for Rural Broadband Deployment
                      Digital technologies impact all sectors of the economy including agriculture, small town main streets, and regional economic development. Yet 31% of rural Americans still lack access to fixed terrestrial broadband speeds of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Increased interest in broadband is creating new opportunities leading service providers and civic leaders to find new models to expand rural broadband. We will explore three successful case studies and highlight best practices for successful rural broadband deployments.

                      April 18, 2018
                      How Smart States are Using Innovative Techniques to Enhance Technology Use

                      BroadbandUSA’s Practical Conversations have showcased how cities and communities are using technology to solve local issues. In the April webinar, find out how states are using smart technology and policy to enhance economic development and quality of life for their urban, suburban and rural communities. Representatives from three states and a moderator from the National Governors Association will provide examples of how they are changing healthcare delivery, improving disaster mitigation, controlling traffic and lighting, creating economic growth and enhancing public safety.

                        March 21, 2018
                        Broadband Public-Private Partnerships:Delivering Solutions for America’s Communities
                        Learn how to create successful broadband public-private partnerships and hear about the successes, challenges, and risks as well as specific details on implementation and management steps. 

                          February 21, 2018
                          Best Practices for Enhancing Deployment of a Public Wi-Fi Network
                          Learn about the successes, challenges, and risks as well as specific details on implementation and management steps. Our speakers highlighted their experiences with public-private partnerships in deploying broadband networks, implementing smart cities, powering the Internet of Things, and creating digital inclusion projects.

                          January 17, 2018
                          Practical Broadband Conversations: Innovative Funding Solutions for Digital Inclusion Programs
                          Effective digital inclusion programs are essential for communities, supporting efforts such as workforce development, educational attainment, financial literacy and better access to health care. Finding financial support for such programs requires creative partnerships, coordination with civic leaders and messaging that articulates the benefits of such programs to communities. Join our webinar to learn how communities have funded digital inclusion programs using a variety of funding options such as local philanthropies, city budget mechanisms and private sector support.

                          Note: No webinar was held in December 2017

                          November 15, 2017
                          Electric Co-ops Bringing Fiber to Rural America
                          Electric cooperatives are capitalizing on existing infrastructure and deep community roots to bring gigabit communications to rural communities, and the results can be transformational. Just as rural electrification energized the country in the early 20th century, high capacity broadband connections are necessary for thriving communities in the 21st century. Join BroadbandUSA’s Practical Broadband Conversations webinar to learn how member-based co-ops are making the case for investment and creating new opportunities for economic prosperity

                          October 18, 2017
                          Understanding the Role of Broadband in Regional Economic Development
                          Broadband is a key driver of regional job creation and economic prosperity. Recognizing this, many communities are taking a cooperative approach to develop a comprehensive regional economic strategy emphasizing broadband deployment and use. Join BroadbandUSA’s Practical Broadband Conversations webinar to learn how regional economic development agencies are leveraging broadband to spur collaboration, innovation and growth.

                          September 20, 2017
                          Digital Training and Workforce Development
                          Communities of all sizes are recognizing the importance of developing a digitally trained workforce. Join BroadbandUSA’s Practical Broadband Conversations webinar to hear how local leaders are helping their workforce prepare for emerging industries and businesses.

                          Note: No webinar was held in August 2017

                          July 19, 2017
                          How Broadband is Transforming Agriculture
                          Broadband is enabling a revolution in agriculture practices, leading to “Smart Farms” that maximize resources by using information technology, mobile phones, apps and the Internet. Join the BroadbandUSA conversation on how broadband can help create new generation farms and farmers.

                          June 21, 2017
                          Exploring Business Model Options for Broadband Deployment
                          There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to deploying broadband in communities, and this includes consideration of broadband business models. Join a conversation on successful broadband projects that will highlight three approaches that network owners have used to achieve their communities’ connectivity goals. The models include: a) Private owned and operated; b) Public owned and operated; c) Public owned and private operated. Representatives from network providers who have successfully employed each model will discuss the rationale for choosing a particular strategy, key benefits and trade-offs.

                          May 17, 2017
                          Next Generation Technology Deployment
                          Advanced communications infrastructure enables a range of next-generation technologies and smart community initiatives, including smart grids, intelligent transportation systems, connected street lights and remote healthcare. Hear fiber and wireless providers as well as local government representatives discuss how infrastructure allows them to create smarter communities.

                          April 19, 2017
                          Strategies for Broadband Adoption and Digital Inclusion in Rural Communities
                          This webinar will focus on strategies to promote broadband adoption and digital inclusion in rural communities, highlighting the role of libraries and university extension programs. The speakers will discuss research findings on the effect of broadband adoption in rural economic development, as well as program strategies to facilitate digital inclusion, such as mobile-hotspot lending programs, community outreach and digital skills training.

                          March 15, 2017
                          Overview of Federal Funding: Introduction to Federal Funding Opportunities for Broadband
                          The webinar will provide an overview of the federal programs that provide funding for broadband planning, infrastructure deployment, research, public computer access and digital literacy. Whether you are in the beginning stages of your planning process or starting to build your broadband network infrastructure, BroadbandUSA will help guide you to the appropriate federal programs for your needs and identify the necessary processes to apply for funding.

                          February 15, 2017
                          Leveraging National Data to Jumpstart Your Broadband Plan
                          The U.S. Census Bureau, NTIA and FCC collect and make data about availability, subscriptions and usage publicly available. Join us to do a "deep dive" into federal datasets, including the FCC Form 477 filings from broadband providers that show broadband availability, speed and technology, and NTIA's Digital Nation data, which represents the largest comprehensive national household survey on computer and Internet use. We'll also highlight how the BroadbandUSA Community Connectivity Initiative will leverage this data as part of its online assessment tool. Hear from the experts and ask your questions

                          January 18, 2017
                          Broadband Opportunity Council Accomplishments and Outlook
                          Since the Broadband Opportunity Council was formed in March 2015, federal agencies have made great strides toward meeting the goals and fulfilling commitments to increase broadband deployment, competition and adoption through executive actions within the scope of existing programs, missions and budget. Join BroadbandUSA to learn about the progress made and what the future holds for this interagency effort.

                          Note: No webinar was held in December 2016

                          November 16, 2016
                          How Does Broadband Contribute to Economic Development?
                          Now that broadband has been around for some time, have the promised economic benefits come to fruition? How can we measure these benefits and who in your community is benefitting? Join our BroadbandUSA webinar to learn the latest news from practitioners in the field.

                          October 19, 2016
                          What is Digital Inclusion?
                          Join experts from the field to hear how the definitions of “digital inclusion” and “digital equity” have evolved over time. While access to affordable robust broadband is important, people also need digital skills, access to computers and other Internet devices, and knowledge of useful applications and content in order to fully benefit from Internet access. Our presenters Emy Tseng, Broadband Program Specialist, BroadbandUSA and Dr. Roberto Gallardo Estrella, Associate Extension Professor & Leader, Intelligent Community Institute, Mississippi State University Extension will highlight some of their own digital inclusion work and discuss examples of digital inclusion programs.

                          September 21, 2016
                          Stakeholder Engagement
                          Our speakers for this webinar, Anne Byers and Kathy Johnson, have successfully managed broadband stakeholder engagement for Nebraska and Alabama respectively. They will share their insights to effectively recruit and manage stakeholder relationships.

                          August 17, 2016
                          State Broadband Planning: Achieving Success, Overcoming Challenges
                          During this webinar, presentations will be made by state broadband leaders Jeff Sural from North Carolina and Gar Clarke from New Mexico on their very best planning ideas. You will hear directly from the folks who not only spent time in the trenches--they figured out how and where to put the trench.






                        • Bank Financing for Rural Broadband Initiatives (Video)

                          This brief video by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency highlights the important role that banks play in helping rural communities develop high-speed broadband systems and reviews how banks may receive CRA receive Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) consideration for these activities. The video highlights a cooperatively-owned fiber optic network serving 10 towns and 17 townships across four counties in south central Minnesota.


                        • Sustaining Broadband Networks: A Toolkit for Local and Tribal Governments (PDF)

                          This toolkit presents an action plan to maintain and sustain a broadband network. This guide contains best practices and lessons learned from broadband programs. The is meant to help both local governments who entered into public-private partnerships and ISPs ensure that those networks are sustainable. 

                        • Implementing a Broadband Network Vision: A Toolkit for Local and Tribal Governments (PDF)

                          This toolkit builds on NTIA’s previous guidance on plotting a broadband roadmap and examines how that work can inform a broadband implementation strategy. It includes a nine-step process that outlines how to implement broadband networks from conception to operation.

                        • Using Partnerships to Power a Smart City: A Toolkit for Local Communities (PDF)

                          This Toolkit is for government officials, urban planners, citizen groups, and others who want to implement successful smart cities projects. Drawing from lessons learned, it provides a framework for getting the most out of public-private partnerships, including what to look for in a partner, assessing each partner’s contribution, and guidance on how to structure the most fruitful partnership agreements.