Funding Broadband Expansion

Funding Broadband Expansion

February 3, 2022 | Online :: Central Time

President Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill has the capacity to close the digital divide in America. Depending on the outcome of the infrastructure and reconciliation bills, significant funds are expected to be disbursed to state authorities. It’s then up to state authorities and local governments to optimize the funding to make sure broadband infrastructure expansion provides sufficient connectivity in all our rural and urban communities.

Investing in broadband infrastructure is expensive and configuring business models that result in affordable services is complex. Attend EUCI’s online conference, Funding Broadband Expansion to tap into the latest funding programs & initiatives and hear best practices & lessons learned.

Learning Outcomes

This conference will provide attendees an opportunity to:

  • Receive an up-to-date status report on government programs & initiatives
  • Assess supplemental financial services and public-private partnerships for broadband capital projects
  • Identify broadband needs for sufficient connectivity in the digital age
  • Learn how to save on broadband infrastructure development
  • Gain a better understanding of digital inclusion
    • New this year, deep dive into the rural/rural and urban/urban digital divide


    Thursday, February 3, 2022 : Central Time

    8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
    Log In and Welcome

    11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
    Lunch Break

    9:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.
    Conference Timing


    9:00 – 9:45 a.m. :: Federal Perspective of the Broadband Landscape

    • Federal funding opportunities:
      • CARES Act
      • American Rescue Plan
      • Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework
      • Reconciliation Bill
    • Federal policy impacting IOUs
    • Partnering with ISPs to serve underserved communities
    • Overview of Dominion Energy broadband projects

    John Marshall, Federal Affairs Policy Advisor, Dominion Energy

    9:45 – 10:30 a.m. :: Advancing from Broadband Mapping to Internet Infrastructure Intelligence

    The die has largely been cast for federally funded broadband projects. Between the finalization of broadband-related ARPA rules and the inclusion of the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program (BEAD) in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, those who are looking to plan, design, build and operate broadband networks have a clear guide for how best to secure funds and get the work done.

    This session will show:

      • A new vision of mapping and technology needed to unlock the greatest value in terms of market targeting, analytics, and project analysis
      • How to meet the challenges we face as an industry, and drive us forward to plan, design, build, and operate our networks more effectively and efficiently

    Brian R. Mefford, VP, Broadband, Head of Public Sector Practice, VETRO Inc. 

    10:30 – 10:45 a.m. :: Morning Break

    10:45 – 11:30 a.m. :: Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) to Fund Broadband Development

    • Supplementing with private funds when public funding isn’t available
    • Open access infrastructure for businesses and residents
      • Leveraging commercial users as anchor tenants
      • Leveraging smart city revenue for broadband expansion
    • Smart City planning keys to success

    Erin Austin, Chief Operating Officer US, Smart City Infrastructure Fund (SCIF)

    11:30 am – 12:30 p.m. :: Lunch Break

    12:30 – 1:30 p.m. :: Optimizing Funding for Digital Inclusion

    • What is digital inclusion and why should I care?
    • Why listen to your potential customers?
    • Best practices for creating capital project plans for federal funding:
      • Deciphering priorities vs non-priorities
      • How to combine utility needs and community needs
      • Strategies for lowering capital build for customer affordability

    Heather Gate, Vice President of Digital Inclusion, Connected Nation

    Peggy Schaffer, Executive Director, ConnectME Authority

    1:30 – 2:15 p.m. :: Special Considerations for Funding Rural Broadband Expansion and the Rural/Rural Digital Divide

    This session will discuss specific contributors to the rural/rural digital divide and possible funding solutions for neglected communities.

    Teresa Ferguson, Senior Director, Broadband and Infrastructure Funding Practice, National Rural Telecoms Cooperatives (NRTC)

    Kenrick “Rick” Gordon, Director, Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband

    2:15 – 3:00 p.m. :: Special Considerations for Funding Urban Broadband Expansion and the Urban/Urban Digital Divide

    This session will discuss specific contributors to the urban/urban digital divide and possible funding solutions for relined communities in inner cities.

    Andrew Coy, Executive Director, Digital Harbor Foundation

    3:00 – 3:15 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

    3:15 – 4:00 p.m. :: Expanding High-Speed Options & Services for Your Community

    • Expanding options for affordability
    • Providing high-speed services for telehealth & virtual schooling
    • Innovative financing:
      • Acquiring USDA funds
      • Interagency funding partnerships

    Karla Myers-Beman, Interim Executive Director, Traverse City Light and Power

    4:00 – 4:45 p.m. :: How Broadband Funding Meshes with the Smart City Planning

    This session will highlight how state initiatives for broadband deployment and smart city planning can create economic development opportunities.

    Casey Lide, Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP


    Erin Austin, Chief Operating Officer US, Smart City Infrastructure Fund (SCIF)

    Erin Austin is the COO of the Smart City Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) US.  She has served in this role since February of 2020.  SCIF is a privately funded investment platform backed by a leading European pension fund to invest in the scale up of integrated Smart City Infrastructure projects.  Erin has nearly 25 years of experience in the telecom industry.  She began her career as an Outside Plant Engineer at NYNEX in Portland, Maine and was provided with opportunities to increase her responsibility in Engineering and Operations throughout numerous mergers and acquisitions (Bell Atlantic, Verizon, FairPoint).  She left the incumbents in 2015, when she was VP of Wholesale Operations to join the Google Fiber build out as the Network Deployment Operations Lead for the West, Midwest, and Southwest, leading engineering, construction, and operations for Google Fiber in these regions.  She also worked briefly at a start-up that was working to secure investment for digital infrastructure in underserved areas.  

    Andrew Coy, Executive Director, Digital Harbor Foundation

    Andrew Coy is a driven problem-solver with experience at the intersection of nonprofit, government, and technology. From 2015 to 2017 he served as a Senior Advisor on President Obama’s Tech and Innovation Team in the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this capacity, he led initiatives including National Week of Making, Nation of Makers, the Kid Science Advisors Campaign, and was on the organizing team for numerous other efforts including the WH Science Fair, WH Water Summit, WH Frontiers Conference, and South by South Lawn. Through his service, he has directly interacted and actively learned from the interests, ideas, commitments, and collaborations of thousands of different individuals and organizations. His work has led to a variety of collaborations, joint efforts, and collective actions by providing design thinking and strategic frameworks for new initiatives as he worked explicitly to advocate for the tech community to become more intentionally inclusive, deliberately diverse, and strategically situated to grow the number and depth of opportunities for all.

    Since leaving the White House, he has consulted on national projects including  the CSforALL, the Nation of Makers Conference (NOMCON), the 2018 National STEM Summit, was the lead author for the Computer Science Education and Professional Development Findings Report to Governor Larry Hogan and the lead author for the Invention Education Framework, and consultant to the STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Lemelson Foundation. In 2018, Andrew returned to his role as Executive Director of the Digital Harbor Foundation, where he leads the organization’s efforts to bridge the digital divide through impact opportunities locally and across the country.

    Teresa Ferguson, Senior Director, Broadband and Infrastructure Funding Practice, National Rural Telecoms Cooperatives (NRTC)

    Teresa Ferguson is the Sr Director, Broadband and Infrastructure Funding Practice. Prior to joining the NRTC, Teresa was the Director, Federal Broadband Engagement for the Colorado Broadband Office (CBO) where she supported stakeholders’ successful engagement in state and federal broadband funding programs, while actively participating in the NTIA’s State Broadband Leadership Network (SBLN) and working with Colorado’s Congressional Senators to advocate for, and secure federal broadband funding through block grants to the states. Prior to joining the CBO Teresa worked for the Public Utilities Commissions of Missouri, Washington and Colorado where she held national leadership positions, engaging with the FCC, USAC, USDA and NARUC, advocating on behalf of state telecom & broadband policy interests. Teresa spent 17 years in the private sector deploying broadband networks for schools, libraries and tribal nations funded through the federal E-Rate program.

    Heather Gate, Vice President of Digital Inclusion, Connected Nation

    As the Vice President of Digital Inclusion for Connected Nation (CN), Heather Gate is responsible for strategy development and implementation of programs that impact digital inclusion for all people in all places. Ms. Gate has more than 15 years’ experience working in digital inclusion with the mission of improving the lives of vulnerable populations across the country via technology access, adoption and use. She has extensive experience  engaging with minorities, rural communities, families, and others on the frontlines of the digital divide and working behind the scenes as an advocate and tactician with local, state, and federal leaders.

    Heather served on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE) as the Chair of the Digital Empowerment and Inclusion Working Group (2017-2019) and Vice Chair of the full ACDDE (2019-2021). She was recently appointed the Chair of the FCC’s Communications Equity and Diversity Council.

    Kenrick “Rick” Gordon, Director, Maryland Office of Statewide Broadband

    Kenrick (Rick) Gordon, P.E. has over 30 years in engineering design and construction administration experience. His career began as a civil engineer working with municipalities on public works projects. He then moved into commercial, industrial development, ultimately managing the engineering arm of a small development company. Rick served at the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a General Field Representative for the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Telecommunications Program. In this role, he assisted small, rural telephone companies and internet providers seeking federal funding for telecommunications improvements, including broadband expansion. Formerly, as the Director of the Governor’s Office of Rural Broadband and now as the Director of Maryland’s newly created Office of Statewide Broadband, Rick oversees digital inclusion efforts and the expansion of broadband capabilities statewide to ensure broadband access is available to all unserved households and businesses in Maryland. He works with agencies across county, state and the federal government and with independent provider stakeholders to establish and enact programs to provide statewide access to high-speed internet.

    John Marshall, Federal Affairs Policy Advisor, Dominion Energy

    John P. Marshall is the Federal Affairs Policy Advisor for Dominion Energy (DE) and his portfolio includes Rural Broadband, Nuclear, Grid Modernization, Cybersecurity, Military Installations, and FCC issues. Before joining DE in October 2019, John worked on Capitol Hill as the Senior Policy Advisor for Energy Subcommittee Chairman Bobby L. Rush (IL/1) and the Policy Consultant for the Energy and Commerce Committee under the leadership of Chairman Frank Pallone (NJ/6). John is originally from Trenton, New Jersey and he completed his undergraduate degree at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and completed his graduate degree at Howard University in Washington, DC.

    Brian R. Mefford, VP, Broadband, Head of Public Sector Practice, VETRO Inc. 

    Brian Mefford leads VETRO’s State & Local practice as VP, Broadband Strategy. He is a broadband leader and strategist with 20+ years of experience helping states, communities and ISPs build broadband networks. Formerly, he founded Connected Nation and served as CEO and chairman, during which time he led that firm’s work with many of the nation’s state broadband offices while consulting with the U.S. Congress, the NTIA and FCC on broadband program development and data mapping efforts.

    Additionally, Mefford led a national broadband capacity building effort on behalf of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has led broadband strategy efforts in 30+ states and hundreds of local communities across the United States and has been invited to consult internationally with numerous governments developing national broadband initiatives.

    Recently in the public sector, Mefford applied his leadership as a public servant, as the Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He stepped back into the broadband sector with an irresistible offer to lead VETRO’s efforts to extend the value of its flagship fiber management platform (FiberMap) into the public sector with the subsequent creation and national launch of VETRO’s Broadband Intelligence Platform.

    Karla Myers-Beman, Interim Executive Director, Traverse City Light and Power

    Karla has been with Traverse City Light and Power (“TCLP”) for 8 years and is currently filling in as Interim Executive Director.  She was instrumental in working and completing the application packet for the USDA Power Sustainable Rural Communities financing to allow the utility to expand their smart grid/lit fiber network to all ratepayers within the City proper.  If received, this financing will provide many utility benefits including more efficient transmission of electricity, quicker restoration, reduced peak demand, and better integration of renewable energy systems on the utility’s grid.  Concurrently, it will provide residential, commercial and industrial customers gigabit broadband internet access promoting economic development for the community.

    Casey Lide, Partner, Keller and Heckman LLP

    Casey Lide is a Partner at Keller and Heckman, LLP, where he represents clients on a broad range of communications matters involving telecommunications, cable television, broadband Internet access service, wireless communications, right-of-way management, pole and conduit attachments, regulatory compliance, and barriers to community broadband initiatives. 

    Peggy Schaffer, Executive Director, ConnectME Authority

    As executive director, Peggy Schaffer manages the Authority’s rulemaking efforts, investment decisions and policy recommendations. Peggy was the Small Business Advocate for the Secretary of State’s office, and served as the Co-chair of the Maine Broadband Coalition, a statewide group advocating for high speed broadband. Peggy served the Chief of Staff in the Senate Majority Office and the Senate President’s office. Peggy also worked as the lobbyist for the Department of Economic and Community Development  under the administration of Governors King and Baldacci. Peggy lives in Vassalboro, Maine.

    Online Delivery

    We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

    • IMPORTANT NOTE: After November 30 you will not be able to join a Teams meeting using Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
    • You will receive a meeting invitation will include a link to join the meeting.
    • Separate meeting invitations will be sent for the morning and afternoon sessions of the course.
      • You will need to join the appropriate meeting at the appropriate time.
    • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
    • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


    Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

    If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all registrants for three business days after the event


    Funding Broadband Expansion

    February 3, 2022 | Online
    Individual attendee(s) - $ 795.00 each

    Volume pricing also available

    Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

    Pack of 5 attendees - $ 3,180.00 (20% discount)
    Pack of 10 attendees - $ 5,565.00 (30% discount)
    Pack of 20 attendees - $ 9,540.00 (40% discount)

    Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before December 31, 2021 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800




    EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

    EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.6 CEUs for this event.

    Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

    Participants must sign in and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

    Instructional Methods

    PowerPoint presentations and panel discussions will be used in the program.

    Who Should Attend

    • Federal Agencies
    • State Agencies
    • Local Government
    • Tribal Government Representatives
    • Investor-Owned Utilities (IOU)
    • Public-Owned Utilities (POU)
    • Internet Service Providers (ISP)
    • Private Financial Service Providers, Capital Investors
    • Engineers, Procurement, Construction Firms (EPC)
    • Consultants

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