Great Lakes Connect took place in Fairlawn, Ohio September 24-26, 2018. This was the inaugural Midwest event presented by the same people who bring you Mountain Connect. Below are the keynote addresses:

Ernie Staten, Deputy Director of Public Service for Fairlawn, Ohio will present the leadoff keynote entitled “Broadband as a Community Investment, not a Profit Center.” Instead of asking if the financial upside of a network build is feasible, the City instead asked – what are the ramifications to our economic future if we don’t build? Staten will review how Fairlawn approached broadband as essential infrastructure, forming a municipal broadband utility that offers fiber connectivity to the City’s residences and businesses and how it’s gone so far.

Gigi Sohn, one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable and democratic communications networks will present a keynote entitled “The FCC: Can’t Live With it, Don’t Want to Live Without It.” Gigi is never afraid to say what she thinks and is always entertaining – a welcome relief, particularly in issues that can otherwise be quite dry like nuances around spectrum or business data services.

Mignon Clyburn, former FCC Commissioner, will be featured in a lively discussion entitled “Making Digital Equity a Priority.”  As a former FCC Commissioner, Mignon Clyburn has both passed and fought against legislation we care about! Passionate about achieving digital equity, Clyburn will discuss the issues of the day and answer your questions in an interactive Q&A led by Next Century Cities’ Deb Socia. Clyburn will help you understand how we can support opportunity and resources for all, not just the “cherry picked” communities.

Jase Wilson, Neighborly’s Founder & CEO will present a keynote entitled ” Public Finance & the Power of Open Access Community Broadband Networks.” He’ll talk about how communities can and should own their own broadband networks by leveraging the hidden economic engine that for centuries has defined our nation as a rich tapestry of self-reliant places: the humble municipal bond.