Community Broadband Bits Podcast

Community Broadband Bits is a weekly audio show hosted by Community Broadband Networks Initiative Director Christopher Mitchell featuring interviews with people building community networks or otherwise involved with Internet policy. You can listen to episodes below or download via Apple, Google, or Spotify. Alternatively if you know what to do with it, copy the feed here.

We also produce a semi-regular video show called Connect This! that has its own site. Find other podcasts from ILSR here.

We also have an index of all episodes and links to transcripts. Keep up with new developments by subscribing to our one-email-per-week list sharing new stories and resources. We’d love to hear your feedback! Email us.

The Last Train - Episode 564 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

We're more than 15 years and a hundred billion dollars into the alphabet soup of federal broadband infrastructure subsidy programs, and millions upon millions of households are stuck on deteriorating connections and capacity-constrained technologies. This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Jonathan Chambers, partner at Conexon, to talk about how the BEAD program is our last chance.

Doubling the Number of Municipal Networks in the Next Five Years - Episode 563 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

May 2022 witnessed something remarkable: the birth of a new nonprofit advocacy organization whose sole purpose was to speak up for the hundreds of communities that have built municipal broadband networks, and the thousands more that want to but don't know where to start. Now, the American Association for Public Broadband has named as its Executive Director as Gigi Sohn, former Biden nominee to the Federal Communications Commission. And she's ready to get to work.

A Challenge A Day Will Make BEAD Go Our Way - Episode 562 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Christine Parker (Senior GIS Analyst at ILSR), and Meghan Grabill (Geospatial Analyst at the Maine Connectivity Authority) to run through the recently announced NTIA location challenge process for the upcoming BEAD program and talk about how state processes can adjust eligible technologies and location types, shift of the burden of proof to the IPSs, allow of more flexible speed test data, and include the ability to add community anchor institutions to grant-eligible maps.

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing, Trojan Horse Networks, and Flowering BUDs - Episode 561 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Sean Gonsalves to chat about the astroturf anti-municipal misinformation campaign being run by the Utah Taxpayer's Association, how a city negotiated a capital fee it's using to build its own network and get out from under Comcast's thumb, and the growing momentum behind Maine's Broadband Utility Districts (BUD) and their quest to improve competition and Internet access for residents.

Mason PUD 3 is Snaking Its Way Through the Unserved and Underserved Parts of Washington State - Episode 560 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Justin Holzgrove and Mike Rientjes from Mason County Public Utility District 3 in Washington State. The PUD provides electric service to more than 35,000 households across an area the size of Rhode Island, and began connecting its grid infrastructure to fiber in the late 1990s. Since 2003, it has operated an open access ftth network for households; an endeavor that has sped up since 2015, when residents began clamoring for more. To meet demand and plan for the future, PUD 3 uses a fiberhood approach and construction adders.

How Rural Internet Access is Being Transformed by Electric Cooperatives - Episode 559 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

Electric cooperatives overwhelmingly serve regions that face population density challenges and income disparities as compared to their urban counterparts, as well as all of the other challenges that go with it: declining populations, hospital closures, increasingly frequent extreme weather events, and more. This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Brian O'Hara, Senior Director of Regulatory Issues for Telecom and Broadband at NRECA, to talk about how more than a quarter of the country's electric cooperatives have answered the call of their members and expanded into Internet service.

The Public Utility District Taking on the Olympic Peninsula - Episode 558 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Will O'Donnell, Broadband and Communications Director at Jefferson County Public Utility District in Washington State, to talk about the Herculean task facing the PUD: how to deploy an open access fiber network to the utility's 21,000 meters in some of the least-dense parts of the state.

Demand Driven by the People in Kitsap County, Washington - Episode 557 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by three members from the Kitsap Public Utility District's open access FTTH team in Washington state to talk about the formation of Local Utility Districts, managing an open access network seeing increased demand, and the value of increased choice and competition for residents and businesses.

How the Core Values of Small ISPs Contribute to Internet Access and Digital Equity for All - Episode 556 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Angela Siefer (Executive Director, National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Matt Larsen (CEO, Vistabeam) to talk about connecting the unconnected and doing digital equity work as a small Internet Service Provider (ISP). In a marketplace that heavily favors the largest cable and telephone providers, they share the ways that they participate in grant programs and how they actively build peer networks to exchange knowledge and make sure the Internet works for as many of us as it can.

This Is Not the National Broadband Map We Were Promised - Episode 555 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

It's strange to see the FCC continually patting itself on the back for releasing a new national broadband map. Spend just a little bit of time with it, and the cracks and holes quickly show themselves. This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Christine Parker, Senior GIS Analyst at ILSR, and Alexis Schrubbe, Director of the Internet Equity Initiative at University of Chicago. They do a deep dive into the many, many problems that persist - and what we can do to fix them.