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Connected Nation

Author: Jessica Denson

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This is Connected Nation – an award-winning podcast focused on all things broadband. From closing the Digital Divide to simply improving your internet speeds, we talk technology topics that impact all of us, our families, and our communities.

The Connected Nation podcast is going on the road.  We'll be at the inaugural US Broadband Summit Nov. 15-17 in Washington, DC.  Join us and share your broadband stories.
Learn more about the national nonprofit behind this podcast at 

108 Episodes
On this episode of Connected Nation,  we talk with the CEO of Fiber Fast Homes – a company that works directly with real estate developers and builders to connect homes and rental buildings to lightning-fast internet.Learn how the company approaches working with builders,  what’s next when it comes to connectivity to the home, and why some say having internet access at home is more important than having water piped to the home. Related links:Fiber Fast Homes’ website - Listen to the Airebeam podcast featuring CEO Ben Elkins    
On this episode of Connectede Nation, we are joined by Ben Elkins, CEO of AireBeam Internet.  He shares his mission to bring fiber to the rural communities of Arizona with the capabilities of a massive ISP and the personality of a small-town organization.Ben speaks with our host, Jessica Denson, about the wide range of groups AireBeam serves, the unique challenges of focusing on rural communities, and the importance of serving the modular home market (RV parks).Recommended Links:Website - (X) - -'s LinkedIn -
On this episode of Connected Nation, we complete our coverage of the US Broadband Summit taking place in Washington, DC.Among our guests: Quinn Jordan, who founded the Mississippi Broadband Association; Donald Long Knife who built broadband access from the ground up for his tribe in Montana; and Gigi Sohn, who has a long history of public service, including with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),  co-founding Public Knowledge, and  now leading the American Association for Public Broadband as its Executive Director.  Related links:U.S. Broadband Summit website -
On this episode of Connected Nation, we talk with broadband leaders across the country including the founder of SHLB and those leading Puerto Rico’s Broadband Program.  Topics ranged from solving the ‘people problem’ the broadband industry is having right now to changing how federal officials approach awarding billions of dollars in funding. And it all happened at a little event dubbed “Broadband and Brews.”Related links:U.S. Broadband Summit website -
From industry insiders to government officials, many leaders in the broadband space believe we now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to close the Digital Divide in America.  That’s because there is finally a perfect storm – of sorts – with funding and understanding of why access and affordability to high-speed internet are critical.On this episode of Connected Nation, we take you inside the Inaugural U.S. Broadband Summit where internet service providers, nonprofits, customers, legislative leaders, and many others have come together to discuss how to finally make closing digital inequities across the US a reality. Related links:U.S. Broadband Summit website -
On this episode of Connected Nation, we focus our attention on Teens Teach Tech - a program that's bridging generations by using the skills of teenagers to help adults take part in an increasingly digital world.  Learn how one pastor, who is also in the Gospel Hall of Fame, leveraged the program to help thousands of adults and teens.  Related link:Teens Teach Tech -
You’ve heard of smart tvs, smart phones, and smart homes – and even smart cities in urban areas.  On this episode of Connected Nation, we explore similar ideas for rural America and it includes Smart Towns, Smart Education, and Smart Business. We talked with those leading these programs during the ConneXions 2023 Conference hosted by Calix and found out what exactly those offerings can do. Related Links:Calix website - -
The broadband space has traditionally been a male-dominated industry – but that’s changing and more and more women are filling positions in the industry at all levels from the C-Suite to entry.On this episode of Connected Nation, we go inside the 2023 Calix Connections conference to talk with some of those women about why they’re drawn to the broadband industry – and what they want us all to know.  
This marks Connected Nation's 100th episode.  On this episode, we focus on the critical need to approach closing the Digital Divide on Native American lands with respect, humility, and long-term commitment. We'll discuss the issue Calix's  senior engagement manager for tribal and indigenous communities and with a representative from the first tribally-owned telecommunications company in the U-S, which was founded more than 65 years ago. Related links:CRST Telephone Authority - Broadband Bootcamps -
On this episode of Connected Nation, we discuss what resources families can access to combat the harmful effects of social media on the mental health of America’s youth. It’s a problem that’s grown so large and so serious that the US Surgeon General recently issued a call for urgent action to policymakers, technology companies, researchers, families, and others to protect teenagers and children online. We’ll talk to two companies that are answering that call AND learn how they're working together to deliver access to critical technology in small towns.Related links:Surgeon General advisory on social mediaAbout Calix - Tombigbee Fiber - release - release - 
Today, we speak with Tillman Infrastructure, a rapidly growing, carrier-trusted tower company that develops, owns, and operates assets providing connectivity infrastructure to communities across the United States.We discuss the challenges for expanding that critical infrastructure – find out what it really takes to connect small towns and farmlands.External Links: Website:  
On this episode of Connected Nation, we discuss new research that focuses on who is directly impacted by the Digital Divide and WHY they are still not getting online – even if offered financial assistance.  Learn what the new data shows about the challenges, opportunities, and attitudes for closing the digital equity gap. Plus, we’ll discuss what those findings mean for shifting how organizations and government agencies approach the problem moving forward. Related links: Mind the Gap: Closing the Digital Divide through affordability, access, and adoption AT&T Connected Learning  AT&T ScreenReadyNational PTA: Ready, Tech, Go!
On this episode of Connected Nation, we ask “what if we could bridge the Digital Divide around the world by 2030?”  That means connecting more than three billion people who do not have internet access. The CEO and Founder of World Mobile says it’s doable but only if we make networks that are “by the people, for the people.”  He explains what needs to be done, how it will work, and what this means for the future of broadband connectivity. Related links: |International website - website - Mobile’s blog World Mobile secures license spectrum in the US - “Mr. Telecom” Watkins’ LinkedIn profile - Twitter:World Mobile - Watkins - Facebook: 
On this episode of Connected Nation, we talk with leadership from Amdocs about new research that shows a new kind of Digital Divide is surfacing in the U.S.  Plus, we explore the future of connectivity including how to more easily manage all those high-tech, wifi-enabled devices we're adding to our offices, businesses, and homes. Related links:  Amdocs website - Divide Research - 
On this episode of Connected Nation, we focus on the nation’s largest and most remote state – Alaska.  Hear from leadership at MTA Solutions about the challenges of working across a massive frontier and learn about the historic terrestrial fiber connection to the "lower 48" that the company just completed.   Related links:MTA Solutions website - release: MTA Solutions creates historic terrestrial fiber connection from Alaska to Canada and Chicago
On this episode of Connected Nation, we take you deep into the heart of Texas as the state’s Broadband Development Office hosts a series of public meetings in both large and small communities.   Their goal is to collect input from local residents, business owners, community organizations, Internet Service Providers, and others to create a plan that will help expand and improve high-speed internet access across the state.   Hear from apublic official, a retired couple, and a small provider who all attended a public meeting in Burnet about what it will take to better connect all Texans.Related Links: Broadband Development Office - Why it’s important for Texan residents, business owners, and others to attend a BDO public meetingVIDEO: Why Texas was allocated more federal broadband money than any other state
On this episode of Connected Nation, we talk one-on-one with the Chairman & CEO of the DE-CIX group - the world’s leading operator of Internet Exchanges. Learn how DE-CIX navigates operations across multiple continents, find out what “interconnection ecosystems” are and why they’re important, and explore the new partnership that’s focused on connecting rural communities across the US.  Related links:DE-CIX - Ventures - Connected Nations IXPs - Interconnection Academy - find details here 
On this episode of Connected Nation, we head into America’s Heartland once more as the “Let’s Get Digital: Oklahoma Broadband Tour” makes its final stops.  This time we sit down with a resident of Okmulgee, Oklahoma AND the local provider he came to see. Hear from both sides— the customer and the co-op— about what small towns really need when it comes to broadband access and how rural America can finally get better internet  service.  Related link:Oklahoma Broadband Office website -
On this episode of Connected Nation, we talk with two ISPs that provide broadband to a myriad of western states AND with a nonprofit looking for partners to help “accelerate” how quickly people without high-speed internet get it. Learn why these three organizations – two of them competitors – came together in Tulsa for an Internet for All event hosted by the Oklahoma Broadband Office. Related Links: Oklahoma Broadband Office website - “Let’s Get Digital: Oklahoma Broadband Tour” -
On this episode of Connected Nation, we focus on a critical need within the  workforce – having more trained workers who can help expand and maintain America’s broadband infrastructure.   Learn why those who are laser focused on this issue are concerned that the federal rules around grant monies are not keeping up with the need and how they’d like ISPs and workforce development groups to step in and help. 
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