The Broadband Bunch presents...

Alone Together. Surviving and Thriving While Maintaining Social Distance

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This virtual series will present key topics to broadband providers and their customers on how to continue to grow while social distancing.  Broadband networks are still being built, customers are critically interested in advanced capabilities such as distance learning and telehealth as demand for all enhanced services is rising. Each panel will consist of providers, experts and analysts and will engage in frank and open discussions.

Join us for one session or all.


Session 1: May 5th, 2pm EDT


Distance Learning: What Creates Success

In this session, we will hear from educators involved in distance learning as well as researchers who have explored the requirements for successful implementation of distance learning including access to devices, access to broadband and effective training. Companies and communities should be able to evaluate if their distance learning requirements will be sufficient to meet their educational goals during this time of social distancing.

Our Guests:

Todd Way

Todd Way is the CEO for Douglas Fast Net, a for-profit broadband subsidiary of Douglas Electric Cooperative. Todd is a 1995 graduate of Oregon State University with a master’s in Business Administration and a B.S degree in Construction Engineering Management. Todd began his carrier in telecommunications in 1991 working with US West Communications in Oregon and Washington. In 2004 he assumed the role of VP of Operations for Rio Communications, a competitive local exchange carrier located in Roseburg, Oregon. In 2007 he took over the operations of DFN for the cooperative.

Todd is currently the Chair of the Northwest Telecommunications Association and of the Utilities Telecom Council’s Broadband Technology Committee. In the past Todd has sat on the boards of Eastern Oregon Telecom, the Roseburg Area Chamber of Commerce, the Umpqua Economic Development Partnership and the Douglas County Development Board.

Johannes M. Bauer

Johannes M. Bauer is the Quello Chair for Media and Information Policy at Michigan State University (MSU). From January 2013 through June 2019, he served as the Chairperson of the Department of Media and Information at Michigan State University. He is trained as an engineer and social scientist with MA and PhD degrees from the Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria. His research focuses on media and information policy and Internet governance, including issues such as network neutrality, overcoming digital divides, innovation in 5G wireless services, and the design of public interest technology. He uses qualitative and quantitative methods, including computational approaches to policy analysis.

His work has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and international organizations. Dr. Bauer has served as an advisor to public and private sector organizations in North and South America, Europe, and Asia. His most recent book, the Handbook on the Economics of the Internet (co-edited with Professor Michael Latzer at the University of Zurich), was published in 2016 by Edward Elgar. Dr. Bauer has held visiting professorships at the Technical University of Delft, Netherlands (2000-2001), the University of Konstanz, Germany (Summer 2010), and the University of Zurich, Switzerland (2012).

Pierrette Renée Dagg

Pierrette Renée Dagg is the director of Marketing and Communications at Merit Network, the nation's longest-running research and education network. Pierrette's teams organize educational resources, reports and events that support the Michigan Moonshot, an initiative that aims to bridge the digital divide in Michigan. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in the Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education and Educational Technologies from the University of Toledo.

Nick Fisher

Nick Fisher is finishing out his first year as an Assistant Principal at a middle school in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. He is in his 12th year in education, all at the same school. He previously served as a Dean for two years and a history teacher for nine years. He also spent seven years as the Social Studies department chair.

Erin Huggins

Erin Huggins is a Research Associate on the Research and Evaluation team at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University. Her current evaluation projects include work with The Homework Gap Hotspot initiative, UNC-TV, NC New Teacher Support Program, Digital Durham, and DPI’s School Business System Modernization team. Past projects include work with MyFutureNC, Digital Learning Initiative, NC Community College System, NCICU, DPI, and other stakeholders in North Carolina.

Erins' research interests focus on digital equity, new teacher support, teacher efficacy and motivation, and improving educational opportunities in rural communities. She holds a B.A. in English Literature, an M.A.T. in Special Education, and she is finishing a Ph.D. in Education Evaluation and Policy with a minor in Educational Psychology at North Carolina State University. Prior to joining the Friday Institute, Erin worked as a research assistant in NC State’s College of Education and worked for 11 years as a special education teacher in North Carolina.

Session 2: May 26th, 2pm EDT


Telemedicine: Critical for Our time

With doctors and hospitals slammed with treating Covid-19, how can communities safely manage healthcare for noncritical patients, regardless of their illness? In this session, learn how telemedicine can be employed for remote maintenance of patients with chronic illness, initial screening and diagnosis. Hear from experts who have created effective telehealth networks and what worked.

Our Guests:

Kathy Hsu Wibberly

Kathy is Director of the Mid-Atlantic Telehealth Resource Center (MATRC). TRC’s are federally funded to assist with telehealth program development and sustainability in order to increase access to quality care for rural and other underserved populations. Kathy is also Director of Research for the Karen S. Rheuban Center for Telehealth, Assistant Professor of Public Health Sciences at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine, faculty member at the Healthy Appalachia Institute and adjunct faculty member in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). Kathy’s public service career reflects close to 30 years of experience in public health, public policy, program development, program evaluation and strategic planning. Kathy is an Appointed Member and Chair of the Rural Health Committee for the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) Board and is Vice President of the Virginia Telehealth Network Board.

Kathy G. Schwarting

Kathy G. Schwarting, MHA serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Palmetto Care Connections, a non-profit telehealth network for SC that was founded in 2010. PCC works with existing telemedicine/telehealth providers to promote/expand their services as well as with new up and coming applications. PCC primarily focuses on improving access to care for rural/underserved populations. PCC assists providers in vetting the most suitable telehealth technology, conducting a site needs assessment that includes connectivity, installing and configuring the hardware and finally training the staffs to effectively utilize the equipment and software. PCC also Co-Chairs a statewide Telehealth Education Committee with SC AHEC whereby educational tools/resources are developed and distributed to primary care providers. PCC serves as the administrator for South Carolina’s Broadband Consortium called the Palmetto State Providers Network (PSPN) which is used to ensure appropriate bandwidth for health care providers for telehealth services.

PCC recently submitted more than $30M in funding requests to the Universal Service Administration on behalf of health care providers in SC. Kathy also serves as the Co-Chair of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance (SCTA) along with the Medical Director for MUSC Health which is responsible for building a statewide open-access telehealth network for SC and allocating funding for telehealth equipment, services and support as directed by the SC General Assembly. Under Kathy’s leadership, PCC manages a Telehealth Behavioral Health Network of 57 Behavioral Health Sites scattered throughout the state. PCC is also responsible for coordinating a Telehealth Summit for SC on an annual basis and it showcases telehealth success stories in SC and around the nation. Kathy has over 24 years of experience in rural health care working with various types of providers to improve the overall health care delivery systems. She spent more than fifteen years in rural network development working to foster relationships, develop partnerships, recruit health care providers and promote shared services between health care providers in rural communities by developing and coordinating the first not-for-profit rural health network in South Carolina, which served as a model for other states.

Kathy has also served in various capacities of leadership and management in the rural hospital setting including Director of Physician Services, Director of Support Services and Director of Operations for Bamberg County Hospital, a 54-bed acute care hospital. Kathy also established a Hospitalist Program and fully staffed and managed the Emergency Department at Barnwell County Hospital, a 64-bed acute care hospital. Kathy received her undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina and holds a Master in Health Administration degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. She serves on numerous advisory boards throughout the state including: the South Carolina Health Information Exchange (SCHIEx), the Low Country Area Health Education Consortium (AHEC), the South Carolina Behavioral Health Coalition (SCBHC) Core Leadership Team, The South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health Workforce Development Task Force, as well as the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance Advisory Board (SCTA). She also serves on the Advisory Board on a national level for The Center for Telehealth and e-Health Law (CTel). Kathy resides in Bamberg, South Carolina with her husband who coaches high school baseball and football. Her oldest son, Tav (22), attends the University of South Carolina and coaches high school football and her youngest son, Garris (21) attends Charleston Southern University.

Jim Balshi

Dr. Jim Balshi joined the St. Luke’s Information Technology Department in 2016 as the Chief Medical Information Officer. He has been practicing vascular surgery at St. Luke’s Hospital for over 30 years. Dr. Balshi completed his General Surgery Residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, his fellowship in Vascular Surgery at Boston University Hospital and his fellowship in Endovascular Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Balshi has worked with Information Technology throughout his career facilitating the Allscripts EMR in specialty practices. He assisted the inpatient leadership for our seven hospital Epic go-live in January 2016 and directed the Network’s 250 Ambulatory site Go Live in January 2018.

As CMIO since 2016, Dr. Balshi provides senior leadership and clinical guidance to the St. Luke’s Heart and Vascular Center team and assumes responsibility for Information Technology Medical Leadership. Dr. Balshi works with our clinical service lines to improve existing systems and provide physician IT leadership through our ongoing addition of Epic clinical modules. He directs additional technology projects enhancing patient care, quality improvement and the Provider / patient experience. Dr. Balshi’s project priorities include: 1) Expanding the role of TeleHealth across the spectrum of patient care 2) Developing the use of Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning in improving Clinical Decision Support. 3) Refining training techniques for Provider and Clinical staff education. Dr. Balshi was born at St. Luke’s Hospital and raised in Bethlehem. He and his wife Jill reside in Saucon Valley with their Aussie Hazel. Jim is an avid cyclist and enjoys golf, skiing and hiking.

Aaron Rogers

Dr. Aaron Rogers is a local leader in the treatment of nasal and sinus disorders. He trained at Emory University completing hundreds of sinus procedures under the supervision of academic rhinologists and endoscopic neurosurgeons there. His research centered on nasal polyposis and chronic sinusitis in addition to studying the effects of topical glucocorticoids (steroids) on the nasal and respiratory tissues.

At Advanced ENT he initiated and oversees the Otolaryngic Allergy program, offering allergy testing and modern allergy treatment options (such as “Allergy Drops“) for patients suffering from nasal and pharyngeal allergy symptoms. Diagnnostic olfactory (smell) testing is also performed. He also brought Balloon Sinus Dilation, or Balloon Sinuplasty, and the Intersect Propel steroid-eluting sinus implant to the Advanced ENT practice. After performing the first in-office sinus balloon procedure in Atlanta in 2010, he has made this a meaningful part of the treatment options offered to patients suffering from chronic sinusitis and nasal congestion. In 2017, Georgia’s first cryotherapy procedure for vasomotor rhinitis was performed by Dr. Rogers.

Lending endoscopic skills from sinus surgery, Dr. Rogers also performs advanced salivary endoscopy and minimally invasive procedures for salivary stone extraction (submandibular and parotid stone retrieval). In 2018 it is expected that laser salivary lithotripsy will be FDA approved – we will be an early center adopting this technique.

Obstructive sleep apnea, snoring and other sleep disorders have special interest to Dr. Rogers as well. Dr. Rogers works with two local sleep laboratories for diagnostic testing and has ability now to perform most sleep apnea tests from home. We have a full-time Certified Sleep Technician on-site to help with testing and fitting of CPAP devices. Dr. Rogers also offers oral appliance therapy (a specialized retainer to wear at night) and an array of sleep apnea surgeries.

Advanced ENT’s sinus radiology workhorse – the IAC-accredited Cone Beam CT scanner – is lead by Dr. Rogers as the Medical and Technical Director. Dr. Rogers is active in the medical device innovation community both locally in Atlanta and in Silicon Valley, consulting with a number of device companies. Meaningful and innovative technology we hope will ultimately improve the quality of specialist healthcare and reduce costs for all.

Dr. Rogers has written several scientific publications, editor of a nationally-distributed pocket guide for ENT trainees, and authored a chapter in the textbook Skull Base Surgery Techniques and Concepts. Additionally he has presented medical research at many recent leading national scientific conferences.

Dr. Rogers has availability for Private and Concierge Care off-site as well. Dr. Rogers’ personal interests include outdoor activities and spending time with his family. When not at work he can usually be found running, hiking, or fly fishing.

Local hospital affiliations include Northside Hospital, Atlanta Outpatient Surgery Center, St. Joseph’s Health Center, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite and Meridian Mark Surgery Center. Dr. Rogers is a member of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, American College of Surgeons, the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy, and the Georgia Society of Otolaryngology.

Session 3: June 9nd, 2pm EDT


Life post COVID-19: A new normal?

The worldwide pandemic has led to economic disruption, unprecedented government action, business model shifts, and adjustments in the way we live, work, and play. Will our responses lead to a new normal? Join us in the conversation focused on some of the key changes that we embraced and thoughts on the longer lasting impacts.

Our Guests:

Marc D. Guerra

From the beginning of his career Marc D. Guerra has exhibited a strong entrepreneurial proclivity. In 1973, Marc started his first business, a general contracting company specializing in commercial buildings and custom homes. During the next ten years, Marc started two companies; one that built pools and spas and the other that focused on real estate development.

Due to the increasing need to manage the finances of his building and Development Company, Marc became interested in financial services. In 1982, Marc started a financial services marketing company whose purpose was to bring financial planning to middle income families. As his company grew, Marc expanded into five Midwestern states with upward of 250 representatives.

Building on his successes, Marc and a handful of trusted associates began to look for new horizons for their financial services company. From this search, Marc founded Estate Plan Services. This company’s mission was to educate the American public about the importance of tax planning, estate planning and How Money Works; this important field stresses the time-honored principles of tax minimization and asset preservation, strategies that previously have been a privilege for only the very rich.

Marc’s expertise makes him a highly sought after trainer in the field of estate planning. From 1991 to 2010, Marc has trained over 10,000 financial services professionals on the finer points of estate planning and asset conservation.

In 1993, Marc was appointed as director of estate planning for an international financial services company that has representatives worldwide. Marc has been married to his wife Carol for forty-four years; they have four adult children and seven grandchildren. They currently reside in West Chicago, Illinois. Carol, a devoted wife and mother, home schooled their children and is the major source of inspiration for both husband and children alike. Marc believes that his most important responsibility is to be an example to his children; and that there is no higher calling than to be a great father and husband.

Julie White

Julie White is the Executive Administrator for the Department of Medicine at the University of Chicago. She oversees all of the financial and administrative operations in Medicine in support of research, patient care and teaching. Julie obtained her Master of Public Health Degree from the University of Washington and holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to her role at the University of Chicago, she served in a variety of administrative leadership roles in the Departments of Medicine and Surgery at Stanford University between 2006 and 2017

Chandra N. Sekharan

After completing his PhD at Clemson University and earning an MS from the Indian Institute of Science, Dr. Sekharan served as an Assistant Professor at the Center for Parallel Computation, Department of Computer Science, University of Central Florida. He joined Loyola's faculty in the summer of 1993. He got promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 1995 and to the rank of Professor in 2002. He also consults frequently for local industry, and government. He is currently consulting for the US Army via Battelle in Multi-Agent Architecture for the Future Force and Data Mining.

Dr. Sekharan's main research interests include performance engineering and benchmarking in parallel and distributed computing environments, network optimization, relational databases, and WWW. He has published over 50 papers in the above areas. His current research is being supported by two NSF grants "Community Information Technology Entrepreneurial Project" and "End-to-End Performance Measurement in High-Performance Networks".

Session 4: June 16th, 1pm EDT


Funding New Networks in the Era of Social Distancing

So, a little panic has set in, how can we even afford at a time like this to build a broadband network that will enable access to the critical applications our communities need? State and federal funding opportunities are still available as are more creative public/private partnerships.  In this session, professionals who understand the myriad of funding opportunities will discuss options that will fit any community.

Our Guests:

Carol Mattey

Carol Mattey is the Principal of Mattey Consulting LLC, based in the Washington, DC metro area. Mattey Consulting provides regulatory, strategic and public policy advisory services to broadband providers, governmental entities, non-profit organizations, and others active in the telecommunications industry.

Ms. Mattey has more than 30 years of experience formulating, enforcing and advising on federal communications regulation. Prior to launching her own firm, Ms. Mattey was Deputy Chief of the Wireline Competition Bureau at the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) from March 2010 to February 2017, focusing on modernizing the FCC’s universal service programs, including the creation and implementation of the Connect America Fund. Before that, she served as Senior Attorney Advisor on the FCC’s National Broadband Plan from September 2009 to March 2010. From 2005 to 2009, she was a director in Deloitte’s Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice advising private sector clients on business strategy and regulatory compliance matters.

Between 1994 and 2004, she held several management positions at the FCC, including Deputy Bureau Chief, focusing on wireline policy issues including local competition, merger condition enforcement, privacy, and universal service. Previously, she worked on telecommunications, media and spectrum issues at the National Telecommunications & Information Administration. She started her professional career as an attorney at Wilmer Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale) in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Mattey received a J.D. cum laude and M.A. in Public Policy Analysis from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Joanne S. Hovis

Joanne Hovis is a nationally recognized authority on broadband markets and on the evolving role of public–private partnerships in the provision of communications services to the public. For more than 20 years, she has overseen directed CTC’s consulting services related to strategic planning, market analysis, business modeling, and financial analysis for localities, states, and tribal governments throughout the country.

Joanne leads the CTC teams that advise the states of Alabama, Connecticut, Nebraska, New Mexico, and New York; the cities of Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.; and the statewide broadband networks in Colorado, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. She also leads CTC’s advisory work regarding federal broadband funding programs such as E-Rate, ReConnect, the Connect America Fund, the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, and the Healthcare Connect Fund.

Joanne has testified on multiple occasions before Congress on rural broadband, broadband public-private partnerships, and the digital divide, and has provided expert presentations to the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, and other national organizations.

Joanne has testified on multiple occasions before Congress on rural broadband, broadband public-private partnerships, and the digital divide, and has provided expert presentations to the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, and other national organizations.

Session 5: July 7th, 2pm EDT


Yes, Fiber Networks are Still Being Built!

The good news is that social distancing is not stopping the flow of fiber to communities. It is an investment in infrastructure that, because it is almost all out of doors and does not require close contact with others, can and is continuing in strength. Hear from these companies involved in bringing fiber to you and your customers as they explain the new ground rules for maintaining the flow of essential high-speed broadband.

Our Guests:

Carl Meyerhoefer

Carl Meyerhoefer works for Calix and has global responsibility for the marketing and positioning of Calix solutions into the Fiber Innovators segment. This segment includes Municipalities, Electric Cooperatives and Fiber Overbuilders.

Carl has been working in the telecommunications industry for over 25 years with a focus on developing emerging/growth markets. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University and has extensive experience marketing Fiber-to-the- Home solutions to Service Providers.

Jeff Reiman

Jeff Reiman ● Vice President, The Broadband Group

1. Focused understanding of telecom specific public positioning, capital market structure, and advanced network deployment strategies.
2. Supports development and implementation of Technology Master Plans™️ for TBG’s utility, municipal, and development clients nationwide.
3. Graduate of Harvard University with a degree in Government, and currently services as President of the Harvard Club of Nevada.

Jason Pond

Jason Pond is the co-founder and CEO of Grizzly Broadband - a telecommunications provider located in the Missoula and Bitterroot Valleys in Western Montana.

Jason is a true innovator in the internet business and has over two decades of entrepreneurial experience in the telecommunications and wireless broadband industry. He ran Grizzly internet, a wireless internet and fiber optic service provider for over 10 years before selling it in 2015. After that, he dabbled as a fiber network specialist designing, engineering and constructing fiber optic networks for a bit before returning to his passion of being an ISP and co-founded Grizzly Broadband.

Beyond work, Jason has been a volunteer firefighter, search and rescue coordinator and considers himself a shooting enthusiast.

Chris Beisner

Chris Beisner, Vice President, Product Management at ETI Software Solutions has nearly 25 years of experience with billing and OSS applications in the cable, telco, and municipal utility markets, specializing in service activation interfaces. Since joining ETI in 2004, Beisner hasbeen very involved with all aspects of ETI’s Fiber-to-the-Home (‘FTTH’) and DSL interface products serving in several capacities including product manager, project manager and director of ETI’s technical services division. These different roles allowed Beisner to develop keen insights into the challenges associated with deploying an FTTH network, the know-how to transition from a manual-based provisioning approach to an automated one, and how to get the most out of an access vendor’s provisioning interface. Today, Chris is responsible for driving new and existing product development.

From 1994 to 2004, Beisner was employed by CSG Systems, where he held a variety of positions including product manager, program manager, and senior project manager. While at CSG, he became a well-known subject matter expert on nearly all of CSG’s addressable interfaces. In 1997 Beisner earned the CSG Award for Excellence and received a full scholarship by the company to pursue his masters degree. Beisner holds a double undergraduate degree in speech communications and history from Iowa State University and a master’s degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Session 6: August 11th, 1pm EDT


Getting the Broadband That Your Community Wants: Factors in Deciding to Build it Yourselves

Often wanting better broadband for your community, broadband on par with that offered to urban/suburban areas, is not enough. Your current incumbents may determine, based on their return parameters, that your community should does not justify the investment that it will take to deliver that level of service. What to do? Wait, hope? No, put together an action plan for determining your own broadband future including finding partners and consultants who can help build this model. This session will feature those experts discussing what it takes and how to achieve success.

Our Guests:

Will Aycock

Will Aycock is currently the General Manager for Greenlight Community Broadband in Wilson, NC. Mr. Aycock has served in this position for 3 years.

Prior to taking this position, Mr. Aycock has served as an Assistant Director of ITS, GIS manager and GIS consultant.

Mr. Aycock is a graduate of both Appalachian State and East Carolina Universities and holds a Government Chief Information Officer Certification from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Benjamin J. Fineman

Ben is an advanced networking professional and digital inclusion advocate. Some years ago, Ben realized that many people in the U.S. do not have access to internet connections that allow them to participate in the most basic of online activities, let alone emerging technologies. This led Ben to co-found the Michigan Broadband Cooperative, where he volunteers as President and leads the organization toward the mission of achieving ubiquitous broadband in Michigan. Ben was also a key member of the team that led Lyndon Township through a ballot initiative that took this rural township from the limited choices of spotty DSL, cellular, and satellite services to a township-wide municipal fiber network offering symmetric gigabit service.

Since then Ben has also served on county and state broadband task forces, and today consults with Merit Network on their Michigan Moonshot initiative to expand community networks in rural Michigan. Ben also leads the industry engagement program for the non-profit university consortium Internet2, where he works to enable connections between industry and academia that advance research and education using networking technologies.

Steve Lange

Steve Lange is the Information Technology Manager at the City of Wadsworth (Ohio). He graduated from the University of Akron with B.S. degrees in Management Information Systems and also Electronic Business Technologies. He has been working professionally with computer systems since 1997. Over the years, he has worked with various software servers running both on Windows and Linux operating systems, iSCSI SAN storage devices, virtualization with both VMware and Hyper-V Hypervisors, various database platforms and networking with routers and switches.

Prior to taking this position, Mr. Aycock has served as an Assistant Director of ITS, GIS manager and GIS consultant.

The City of Wadsworth operates a City-owned Internet Service Provider called CityLink. CityLink started in 1997 as an analog cable TV service and expanded to offer a cable modem Internet service in 2001. The TV service was upgraded to digital/HD in 2007. CityLink expanded again in 2012 when it launched its VoIP phone service.

Chris Mitchel

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative.

Christopher’s work focuses on telecommunications — helping communities ensure the networks upon which they depend are accountable to the community. He is a leading national expert on community broadband networks and speaks at conferences across the United States on the subject, occasionally to directly debate opponents of public ownership. He was honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology by Government Technology, which honors the top “Doers, Drivers, and Dreamers” in the nation each year. That same year, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors named ILSR the Broadband Organization of the Year. In 2011, that organization also honored Mitchell for his policy work.

On a day-to-day basis, Mitchell runs, the comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about community broadband. In April, 2012, he published three in-depth case studies of citywide publicly owned gigabit networks, called “Broadband at the Speed of Light.” In April 2011, Mitchell released the Community Broadband Map, a comprehensive map of community owned networks.

He earned a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Hubert Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Macalester College.

Session 7: September 15th, 2pm EDT


Open Access Networks: Are Americans Ready to Jump In?

In this all Q&A panel discussion, participants will hear from operators and vendors who are providing open access networks – networks that generally offer a separation between the physical layer (transmission) provided by one operator and the services layer (products) allowing multiple operators. This system has been in place in the US for years in the middle mile market but is just being tested in the last mile market. While it is gaining strength in European counties, is the US ready to jump-in as a way to offer network infrastructure in areas that might not normally justify the investment?

Networks currently operating this model include Utopia in Utah, Grant PUD in Washington, Medina County, Ohio and more. Join us as we discuss what needs to be enabled for success.

Our Guests:

Kim McKinley

Kim McKinley, UTOPIA Fiber’s Chief Marketing Officer joined the company in 2010. In her role as the CMO, she oversees the Marketing, Sales, Order fulfillment and the Customer Service departments. Before coming to UTOPIA Fiber, she worked in the Hospitality marketing industry on the east coast. Kim has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.

Russ Brethower

Russ has over 30 years of experience working for publicly owned electric utilities. He is currently the Senior Manager for Wholesale Fiber at Grant County Public Utility District in Ephrata, Washington. Grant PUD began building symmetrical gigabit fiber to the premises in 2000 and operates a truly “open access” network with more than a dozen retail providers competing for each customer.

Russ has been with Grant PUD since 2003 and has extensive experience dealing with the growing pains – from technological to political to business – of this unique type of network. Prior to Grant County PUD, Russ was involved in the start-up of Click Network, Tacoma Power’s publicly owned and operated cable network. Russ started his career in public power at White River Valley Electric Cooperative in Branson, MO where he was a part of their Member Services Department and developed a great appreciation for all facets of a public utility and the critical services provided.

Brian Snider

Brian is the Chief Executive Officer for Lit and has previously worked as Director of Fiber Delivery at Byers Engineering in addition to creating the Network Design Practice Area at Foresite Group. Brian started out working in drafting and design at the Dothan Technology Center and interned at an architecture firm in Dothan, AL while pursuing an early golf career.

Brian shifted to the telecommunications industry in 2003 working as a drafter and quickly grew to managing all aspects of the project as a contractor for AT&T in Birmingham, AL. Brian has over 15 years of experience in wide area network deployments, having led the build-outs of the entire Southeast US for AT&T’s Uverse release, Google Fiber’s builds in Austin, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Huntsville, Verizon’s network densification in Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, Nashville, and Knoxville, in addition to numerous municipal projects throughout the country.

Brian has worked with a core team to create the process that brings community broadband into the 21st century. Brian started on a mission 4 years ago to focus solely on municipal and community networks to connect people to information, to ideas, and to each other, and Lit continues to carry that torch.

Kyle Glaeser

Kyle Glaeser, Director of Emerging Networks at Underline

Kyle started his career as a network design engineer working on projects for Google Fiber, AT&T, Verizon, and FTTH builds around the world. Using his background in GIS, Kyle created scripts and models to drive efficiencies into network designs, shaving millions of dollars off large builds. He began implementing GIS based innovations into the design, construction, and financing of large FTTH builds. After seeing a number of projects explode past their projected budgets, he created a program to use LiDAR collection data and autodesign tools to accurately analyze a market cost before construction. Through this work, Kyle took an interest in information infrastructure as the basis of smart city technologies, developing network architectures that are custom tailored to communities infrastructure needs. Upon learning about the emerging open access market and software defined networking, he became passionate about developing specific network use cases and architectures that would propel the open access.

Hosted By:

Heather Burnett Gold is the CEO of HBG Strategies, a consultancy engaged in broadband education targeted at enabling fiber deployment among underserved communities.

A thirty-year plus industry veteran, Gold most recently served as the President/CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. Prior to that, she was the SVP of External Affairs and Access Management for XO Communications.

Gold holds a BA (magna cum laude) and MA degrees in Economics from Tufts University and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Washington University in St. Louis. Gold also completed the General Management Program of the Harvard Business School.  She was honored by the Washington Business Journal as one of its 2010 Women Who Mean Business and was recognized by Fierce Telecom as one of its Women in Wireline for 2013. in Wireline for 2013.


Guy Bevente is the founder of BevTek – a consulting company focused on advising software and services companies with a focus on digital transformation. Guy is also a Telecom veteran who led various IT transformative efforts during his 21 years at AT&T. Guy’s responsibilities at AT&T included major systems integration and modernization efforts across both the BSS and OSS space. More recently, he led architecture and delivery teams in the digital domain space for both the B2C and B2B channels. He also has a great deal of experience in M&A, Organization Development, and Driving Change.



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