Broadband Funding is on the Way. Is Your State Prepared?

Broadband Funding is on the Way. Is Your State Prepared?

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Thursday, Jul. 13 10:30 AM (Central)

Ends: Thursday, Jul. 13 11:30 AM (Central)

Room: Salon A-3

Did you know that in order for your state to receive funding to ensure every household has access to broadband, they have to include community groups when creating the plan to do so? The Biden Administration has guaranteed that stakeholders around equity for all have a seat at the table. During this panel, we will explore what states should be doing to guarantee good, sustainable jobs for their residents, as well as talking through some real opportunities for community groups to receive funding, and why it is so important for all of us to be involved. We all want to see broadband built better and CWA is working with state broadband offices to be sure it happens. You should too.

This session is sponsored by the Communication Workers of America.


Misty Robertson

Misty Robertson

I’ve worked for in the telecom & broadband industry for 30 years as an electronic technician and support specialist. I have been a union member of Communications Workers of America during my employment and now work as the CWA National Broadband Lead for a group called the Broadband Brigade. We work with federal, state and local governments to help them understand the need for reliable, affordable, high-speed internet with equity in mind. I am also the Immediate Past President of the Tennessee AT&T Pioneers and of the GFWC Clarksville Women’s Club of Tennessee, both of which focus on lifting communities through employee engagement and basic skills training.


Jeremiah Clever

I am the President of CWA 7603, I have 24yrs working as a cable maintenance tech for the telephone company, and am also a fiber optic instructor at Lewis and Clark State College.

Jill Gottfred-Sohoni

Starting as a public school teacher in Brooklyn, Jill Gottfred Sohoni has been working in the social impact space in Illinois and New York City for the past 17 years. After a decade of working in education policy, advocacy, and community organizing, she founded Circle Root Collaborative on the belief that people directly impacted by inequities, alongside values-driven non-profit and government leaders, are best equipped to develop solutions to our most pressing social injustices.

Circle Root Collaborative supports people, organizations, and government to co-create solutions that address a community’s most pressing challenges. We believe solving community challenges starts with designing and facilitating an inclusive process that centers people most impacted, and builds trusting relationships across the system. We provide a collaborative approach where the solution-building process is just as important as the outcome.

Jill lives with her partner, Aneesh, in Oak Park, IL and is a proud mom of Naya (7) and Naveen (4).

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Chip Spann


Chip Spann joined the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in August 2022 as the federal program officer (FPO) for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the state of West Virginia. In this role, Chip coordinates partnerships and outreach with the state and local governments, community groups, and other entities with a vested interest on NTIA’s high-speed internet grant programs and policy issues.

Prior to joining NTIA, Chip served as the Vice President of Engineering and Technical Services for Connected Nation where he directed outside plant audits of broadband networks in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas (and other states).

In the past 40 years, Chip has worked in the cable television, cellular telephone, fixed and mobile wireless, non-profit, and rural electric cooperative sectors. He has worked directly with broadband providers in 19 states and Puerto Rico as part of broadband mapping projects, provided broadband grant review assistance to the states of Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, and Tennessee (and other states), and facilitated Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant programs with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). Chip also managed mobile drive testing projects from Alaska to the Northern Mariana Islands for the Mobility Fund Phase I and Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I under the guidance of the Universal Service Administrative Company.