2020 Nebraska Rural Digital Divide Roundtable

On Friday and Saturday, March 20 and 21, 2020, the University of Nebraska College of Law planned to host its third annual roundtable on closing the rural digital divide.  5 to 8 projects were selected to be discussed at this research roundtable. While the event was unable to happen due to the global pandemic, these projects continued and will be recorded. These recordings will be available in fall 2020. 

We thank those who have worked with us to make this initiative a success over the past three years –including Comcast, the International Center for Law and Economics, Microsoft, New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, the Nebraska Telecommunications Association, and the University of Nebraska’s Rural Futures Institute – and look forward to continuing to partner with these and others in the community to continue supporting efforts to close the rural digital divide.

Please contact Elsbeth Magilton (elsbeth@unl.edu) with any questions.

The 2019 Telecom and Digital Divide Events were held April 18th (public) and April 19th (closed session)

The rural digital divide is one of the most pressing, and difficult to solve, public policy issues in America today. This conference brought together experts from around the country that have been involved in digital divide policy, to discuss the challenges and potential solutions to this problem. Particular attention was given to the role of wireless technologies in rural America and federal programs funding.

This program was free and open to the public.
This program was approved for 6.5 hours Nebraska CLE.

2018 Telecom Roundtable: “The Role of States in Closing the Digital Divide.”

In 2018, the first time ever, the program hosted a local, regional, and national stakeholder round table for the telecommunications industry led by Professor Gus Hurwitz. The goal was to foster organic, candid discussion between stakeholders who may not often have the opportunity to interact. The discussion was moderated to keep it from moving too far afield or getting too deep into the weeds, but there were no panels or formal presentations. Participants included representation from Google, Comcast, the Nebraska Telecommunications Association, Microsoft, the FCC, Iowa Communications Alliance, Great Plains Telecommunications, Century Link, the State Independent Telephone Association of Kansas, the Nebraska Public Service Commission, and more.

The roundtable started with a brief discussion of recent and ongoing legislative and regulatory activity at the state and federal level relating to the digital divide, including recent FCC rules and orders, state legislation, recent federal omnibus legislation, and an overview of the FCC BDAC’s work. The group discussed what capabilities a network needs to provide in order to say that a community is served, levels of services, obstacles, and experiences. The roundtable concluded with a discussion of how to fund infrastructure projects as required in the telecom industry.