Happy Thanksgiving from the ConnectLA Team!
We wish all Louisianians a fun and relaxing holiday weekend. Please enjoy these recent pictures from the ConnectLA team with their friends and families, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Affordable Connectivity Program helps students stay connected
When it comes to high-speed, reliable internet in Louisiana, many families have access but struggle to afford it. For Whitley Parker, the Affordable Connectivity Program was the solution.
The ACP offers eligible households a $30 monthly discount on internet services; that increases to $75 for eligible households on tribal lands.
Louisiana receives internet honors
The American Press
Louisiana doesn't get No. 1 ratings often, but thanks to early and speedy efforts to get internet service to all of the state's citizens, it finally made it. The good news comes from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The Advocate reported that Louisiana leads the nation in the effort to connect every home to internet service fast enough to watch Netflix.
Here's how states are tackling the broadband workforce gap
Fiber deployments are ramping up, but there’s the matter of finding enough workers for the task. PwC’s Dan Hays told Fierce earlier this year the broadband labor shortage is going “to get worse before it gets better.”
ConnectLA Deputy Director Thomas Tyler said a community college in the northern part of Louisiana stood up a career development program for prisoners who were getting released.
Connect20 Summit: Partnerships are Key for Digital Equity Efforts
Partnerships between local organizations and state governments will be essential for successful digital adoption programs, experts said on Tuesday.
“We need the rock stars in our state or in our region to tell us what they’ve been working on and how they feel that they could participate if they were given a grant for something,” said ConnectLA Deputy Director Thomas Tyler.
Broadband Offices Tout State Initiative to Train Prisoners for Broadband Workforce
Panelists at the U.S. Broadband Summit Wednesday touted state programs that train prisoners to fill broadband worker shortages.
Broadband representatives from Louisiana and Oklahoma commended the actions their states have taken in working with state prisons to integrate incarcerated individuals.
Rural Louisianans have felt shut out without broadband. The state has a plan to change that
For the last two decades, Jane Lyles has been stuck in the digital divide.
While other parts of the country have access to high-speed broadband, her family couldn’t get cable at their home in rural Lafourche Parish, about 50 miles south of New Orleans. She’s among an estimated 475,000 households across Louisiana that have never had high-speed, affordable, reliable internet.
Louisiana Leads Other States in Rural Broadband Implementation
Governing: The Future of States and Localities
The state has completed all but one of eight bureaucratic requirements to award rural broadband construction contracts. Some experts expect nearly every household and business in the state to have an Internet connection by 2028.
Louisiana Leading in Progress to Provide Rural Internet
Federal officials say that Louisiana has completed seven of eight requirements — more than any other state — toward awarding construction contracts that will deliver high-speed Internet.
Louisiana leads other states in race to bring fast internet service to rural areas
By at least one measure, Louisiana leads the nation in the effort to connect every home to internet fast enough to watch Netflix.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration says Louisiana completed seven of eight requirements towards awarding construction contracts that will deliver high-speed internet to the remaining 200,000 locations that don’t have access to the service.
La. Hopes to Maintain BEAD Speed; Miss. PSC Election Rivals Seek Internet
Louisiana means to keep its lead among states in broadband, equity, access and deployment planning, even with a change in governors, said ConnectLa Executive Director Veneeth Iyengar in an interview. Ahead of more elections across the country Tuesday, Mississippi Public Service Commission candidates told us they want to ensure all their citizens have internet access.
Boost internet speeds with the Slow Internet Challenge in New Orleans
The City’s Office of Information Technology and Innovation partnered with ConnectLA to launch the Slow Internet Challenge to encourage residents to share data about their internet speeds to help gather crucial information that could lead to improved internet infrastructure.
Louisiana ranked first in BEAD implementation progress
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration published a dashboard which revealed that Louisiana is ahead of all other states when it comes to implementation of the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
October 2023 Newsletter
ConnectLA published four important documents, Louisiana's BEAD Initial Proposal Vol. 1 got approved, the statewide Broadband Challenge Process was launched and more. Read about all of ConnectLA's recent initiatives in this edition of our newsletter.
Louisiana leads nation in Affordable Connectivity Program adoption
More than 508,000 Louisianians are enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, which offers eligible households a $30 monthly discount on internet service. This is the highest adoption in the country per capita and has saved Louisianians over $185 million.
NTIA Digital Equity Director to speak at Louisiana Arts Summit
Digital equity isn't just an issue for the telecommunications industry. The Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge will host the Louisiana Arts Summit, where ConnectLA Deputy Director Thomas Tyler will introduce keynote speaker Angela Thi Bennett. Bennett is the Digital Equity Director for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration within the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Louisiana broadband challenge process registration is open
As a requirement of our recently approved BEAD Initial Proposal Vol. 1, ConnectLA is launching the Louisiana Statewide Broadband Challenge Process. This will determine locations that need broadband service through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Louisiana's BEAD Initial Proposal Vol. 1 first to receive approval
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration recently approved Louisiana's Initial Proposal Vol. 1 for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program.
ConnectLA published Vol. 1 for public comment in June 2023, and it was formally submitted to NTIA in July. The document details how Louisiana will refine its broadband availability map before deploying BEAD funds.
Department of Commerce Letter on Initial Proposal Vol. 1 Approval
U.S. Department of Commerce
ConnectLA received notice that Vol. 1 of Louisiana's Initial Proposal for the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program was approved by the Assistant Secretary for the National Telecommunications and Information Association.
Each state is required to submit two volumes of the Initial Proposal, and Louisiana's Vol. 1 was the first in the nation to be submitted and receive approval.
GUMBO grant helps unserved area get broadband for the first time
Some Louisiana communities have never had high-speed, affordable internet access, but thanks to REV Business and the GUMBO grant program, these areas are finally getting connected.
The Eroche family hasn't had access to internet or cable since building their Thibodaux home in 1996. Although internet was available about 1,000 feet north and a mile south, the family lived in an unserved gap.
ConnectLA publishes Vol. 2 of BEAD Initial Proposal
Louisiana recently received about $1.35 billion from the Broadband Equity, Access and Development program—the eighth-largest allocation in the nation and 10th-largest per capita. ConnectLA published the draft BEAD Initial Proposal, Vol. 2, the first exhaustive draft released in the country, which explains how the state plans to use use that funding to eliminate the digital divide.
Fiber Connect 2023
Thomas Tyler attended Fiber Broadband Association's Fiber Connect 2023 where he spoke on a panel titled The Five-Year Plan: A Conversation with State Broadband Officers on What Comes Next.
Aug. 22-23, 2023
2023 Broadband Montana Annual Meeting
Broadband Montana's annual meeting is a conference attended by more than 100 executives from Montana's telecom industry. Veneeth Iyengar was a keynote speaker to provide an update on Louisiana's broadband efforts.
Aug. 21-23, 2023
Tech Policy Institute's Aspen Forum
Government, industry, and academic leaders gather at the Aspen Forum every August to discuss plans for the coming year. Deputy Director, Thomas Tyler spoke on the future of broadband in Louisiana and BEAD allocation procedures.
Aug. 21-22, 2023
2023 Telecommunications Management Conference
Thomas Tyler spoke on a panel at the Telecommunications Management Conference, held by Moss Adams, where he discussed broadband grants alongside other national broadband leaders.
Aug. 21-23, 2023
Salt Lake City, Utah
2023 Pipeline Safety and LA Oil & Gas Regulatory Conference
The Louisiana Gas Association hosted the 2023 Pipeline Safety Conference to meet with industry officials about safety in the operation of oil and gas pipelines. Veneeth Iyengar updated state gas operators on how the state is addressing broadband construction concerns when it comes to safe building.
Aug. 15, 2023
New Orleans, La.
Minority universities receive funding to bring broadband to surrounding areas
On and off campus, university students need access to fast and reliable broadband.
The National Telecommunication and Information Administration awarded $175 million in grants to 93 minority serving institutions as part of its Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program in February. The program is part of NTIA's Internet For All campaign.
Fall Update Letter to State Legislature
In a letter to update state legislators on ConnectLA's progress, Executive Director Veneeth Iyengar speaks on key victories for Louisiana.
He highlights the $1.36 billion allocation from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the investment in 205 miles of middle-mile fiber infrastructure and new telehealth grants to libraries in 11 parishes.
Mountain Connect 2023
Mountain Connect Broadband Development Conference brings together telecommunications industrywide thought leaders, state and federal governmental entities and emerging technology companies. Deputy Director, Thomas Tyler, spoke on a panel of state broadband leads discussing BEAD allocations and proposals.
Aug. 7-9, 2023
ConnectLA encourages ACP reauthorization
ConnectLA wrote a sign-on letter encouraging Louisiana's federal delegation to vote to reauthorize the Federal Communication Commission's Affordable Connectivity Program before its funding expires in the summer of 2024. The letter received 47 signatures from organizations throughout the state.
Broadband Leaders Summit 2.0
BLS 2.0 is an invitation-only summit focused on how states will implement the BEAD program. Veneeth Iyengar was a panelist with four other state broadband directors to discuss Louisiana's leadership efforts with all things broadband.
July 31-Aug. 2, 2023
Lake Tahoe, Nev.
ACP Sign-on Letter to Louisiana's Federal Delegation
The FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program reduces the monthly internet costs for qualifying households. It is expected to run out of funding in the summer of 2024 unless it is reauthorized by Congress.
ConnectLA sent this letter to urge Louisiana's federal delegation to vote to reauthorize the ACP. The letter received 47 signatures of support from organizations throughout the state.
Digital literacy program enables Louisiana residents to use technology efficiently
In today’s digital age, the ability to navigate the world through technology is more important than ever. Northstar Digital Literacy is addressing the digital skills divide by helping adults learn how to communicate, find employment and stay informed about the world around them.
Summer 2023 Newsletter
The last two weeks have been massive for our office. Louisiana received more than $1.3 billion from the federal government for broadband, we published our Five-Year Action Plan and we broke ground on the largest GUMBO-funded project to date. Read about all of that and more in this summer's newsletter.
Power Cooperative Provides New Internet Opportunities for Members
In 2022, Jeff Churchwell made history. As the general manager of Winnsboro-based Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative, Churchwell led the initiative to become the first Louisiana electric cooperative to provide broadband for its members.
Department of Commerce Letter on BEAD Allocation
U.S. Department of Commerce
In a letter to ConnectLA, Alan Davidson, the assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, announced that Louisiana's allocation from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment program was more than $1.355 billion.
This allocation was the eighth-largest among all states and territories in the nation and 10th-largest per capita.
Rural Fire Department Demonstrates Importance of High-Speed Internet
For Brian Williams, the battle to gain broadband access for the volunteer fire department in Dixie Inn has been a difficult one.
Williams, the former fire chief of Fire District 7 in Dixie Inn and director of the Webster Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness, began working in fire service nearly 23 years ago.
Caddo vocational program offers inmates a second chance
Rick Bateman believes in second chances. The chancellor for Bossier Parish Community College holds a personal interest in expanding opportunities for incarcerated people through vocational programs at correctional facilities.
Recognizing the opportunity and need for a fiber optics workforce in Louisiana, Bateman proposed a new fiber optics vocational program for the Caddo Correctional Center...
2023 Wireless Infrastructure Association Connectivity Expo
The 2023 Connectivity Expo was focused on universal 5G coverage. Leaders from every industry sector were present to engage with the latest solutions and connect with new partners. Veneeth Iyengar was a plenary speaker to discuss the progress Louisiana has made in all things broadband and spoke about how the state plans to spend BEAD infrastructure dollars.
May 8-10, 2023
New Orleans, La.
2023 Broadband Leaders Workshop
The National Governor's Association hosted broadband leaders to speak about upcoming Initial Proposal required to receive funding from the BEAD Program, among other issues. Veneeth Iyengar spoke as a key panelist and held conversations on BEAD program and workforce efforts in Louisiana.
April 24-26, 2023
Las Vegas, Nev.
Net Inclusion 2023
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance hosts Net Inclusion yearly to convene policymakers, advocates, researches, evaluators and community partners to discuss the importance of digital equity in the modern world. Veneeth Iyengar was a plenary panelist and provided strategies and tactics on how Louisiana is addressing the digital divide challenges for residents.
March 1-2, 2023
San Antonio, Texas
Gov. Edwards urges federal government to fast track broadband funding review
In a letter to the federal government, Gov. Edwards urged agencies to accelerate their review of how best to administer remaining broadband funding. The letter to the FCC and NTIA asks these agencies not to delay current federal timelines for initiatives such as the FCC’s mapping challenge and also emphasized the urgency with which Louisianians need access to broadband.
Governor's Letter to FCC and NTIA
Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards
In a letter to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and NTIA Administrator Alan Davidson, Gov. John Bel Edwards asks the federal organizations not to extend the deadline for states to present their plans to address the digital divide. He argues that such a delay would penalize states that are acting quickly to put their plans into place.
Governor's Letter to Secretary Yellen on Uniform Guidance
Office of Gov. John Bel Edwards
As ConnectLA worked to use federal funding to increase broadband access throughout the state, some Uniform Guidance regulations set by the U.S. Department of Treasury could dissuade private companies from participating in state programs.
Gov. John Bel Edwards wrote to Secretary Janet Yellen to urge her to update the Uniform Guidance to maximize the efficiency of new broadband projects.
Springhill small business owner on broadband in rural Louisiana
Chillon Caraway wears many hats. She is the brand manager of the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, producer of The Gifted Life podcast, founder and CEO of CC Brand Studio and mother to two teenage boys.
ConnectLA's Sydney McGovern features small business owner and rural Louisianian, Chillon Caraway.
Shreveport technology department takes a unique approach to solving the urban digital divide
Think about the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The applications for this adage are limitless, and for Keith Hanson, Shreveport’s chief technology officer, his lemons were unreliable broadband usage maps. And his lemonade? Garbage trucks.
ConnectLA's Sydney McGovern highlights Shreveport's unique way of eliminating the digital divide.