Speakers And Agenda Announced for #B4DE Livestream ‘Life After ACP’

Building for Digital Equity

Bringing together a nationwide cross-section of leading digital inclusion practitioners, the first Building For Digital Equity (#B4DE) livestream of the year is set to zoom in on the imminent end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Co-hosted by the ILSR's Community Broadband Networks Initiative and the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), the popular (and free) virtual gathering will focus on “Life After ACP” – as the FCC continues to wind down the program with the $14.2 billion fund on track to run out of money by the end of April.

Set for March 20, 2024 from 3 to 4:15 PM ET, the lineup of speakers will share on-the-ground perspectives and approaches being adopted at the community level as they work to keep financially-strapped households connected beyond ACP.

While virtual seats for #B4DE fills up fast, registration is still open here.

Here’s the run-of-show:

NDIA’s Amy Huffman will set the table on where things stand with the ACP wind down process before two lightning rounds take center screen.

B4DE Life After ACP flyer

For the first lightning round Margaret Käufer, President of The STEM Alliance, will give an overview on the short and long-term community work her organization is doing in upstate New York in the face of ACP’s demise. That will be followed by Jason Inofuentes, Program Manager for the Broadband Accessibility and Affordability Office in Albemarle County, VA, who will spotlight an ACP supplement program his office is pursuing and how they see things moving forward.

Attention then turns to the first of the main presententers – Monica Gonzales, Digital Equity Supervisor for Methodist Healthcare Ministries in Texas. Gonzales will give an overview of what her faith-based nonprofit healthcare organization is doing to address affordable connectivity across the 74 county South Texas region served by MHM.

Next the IT Director for the City of Pharr, TX, Jose Pena, will share the story of how his city embarked on a more structural approach to bridging the digital divide in what had previously been considered one of the worst connected cities in the U.S. He will also cover how PharrConnect is able to provide gig speed fiber service to low-income student households at no cost to the family.

Both Gonzales and Pena will also give #B4DE hosts ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell and NDIA’s Pamela Rosales – as well as audience members – an opportunity to ask follow-up questions immediately following their presentations.

The livestream, once again sponsored by UTOPIA Fiber, will conclude with a keynote presentation by Rebecca Kauma, Director of Digital Equity for the County of Los Angeles. Kauma will focus on the work the county is doing to transition residents off of ACP and the strategic vision the county has for creating bottom-up structural solutions to address affordable access.

Attendance is free but viewers are encouraged to register here to reserve their spot.

The livestream will be available (and later archived) on Facebook, YouTube, X (formerly Twitter), and LinkedIn, with live viewer questions answered by the invited speakers and presenters. We recommend viewing it on YouTube where the live chat will be most engaging. Other questions can be submitted using the #B4DE hashtag on X.

Watch the previous #B4DE Livestream below:

Remote video URL