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While people in the broadband industry and journalists may salivate at the mention of a gigabit, the average person on the street probably gets that "deer in the headlights" look on their face when they hear the word. But these are the people in homes, businesses, school districts, doctors' office and elsewhere who you need to buy services on the network. How do the 300 + cities such as Chattanooga, Longmont, CO, and Danville, VA make broadband an exciting project for their constituents?
Robert Henry, CIO for the City of Davenport, IA, is leading an RFP (Request for Proposal) effort to find someone to lead a needs assessment effort. He speaks from the heart about the challenges of getting constituents and stakeholders to understand the basics of broadband, and then become active supporters of the project. The media attention gets people interested, but the network's price tag can throw cold water on that interest.
Henry discusses various tactics communities can use to educate constituents. It's not just what you say, it's how you say it. Listeners get valuable tips on making broadband relevant, promoting change without triggering some people's fear of change, effectively using analogies and engaging stories, and promoting technology without "selling" technology. Henry also explores the role of the stakeholders in driving up the excitement level within the community. Building the level of excitement about broadband we see in some communities is an ongoing process, and one that requires continuous attention.
This discussion comes a week before a Webinar series conducted by Gigabit Nation host Craig Settles launches to give broadband project teams in Iowa training for managing related community broadband issues.
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It's good to talk.