FCC commissioner to attend broadband summit in Marietta

MARIETTA — The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission will attend the Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit and Town Hall broadband summit July 18 in Marietta.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will be in town as part of a nationwide “listening tour” about the lack of access to reliable Internet service in rural communities. The summit and town hall meeting is aimed at helping counties in Southeast Ohio and Northern West Virginia connect to broadband.

The Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit and Town Hall will feature a daylong workshop at Washington State Community College with national experts on community broadband issues.

The town hall will be held 6-8 p.m. in the auditorium at Marietta High School. Clyburn will hear from residents about problems they face with broadband in the region.

While registration is required to attend the summit, the town hall will be open to the public.

Other speakers and panelists at the summit are Christopher Mitchell, an international expert on community broadband networks whose research has been sought after by the White House; Kate Forscey, an Internet and technology policy expert with the organization Public Knowledge; and Marty Newell, head of the Center for Rural Strategies, a nonprofit that advocates for rural communities.

The Citizens Connectivity Committee, organizers of the event, has invited civic leaders in Appalachian Ohio and Northern West Virginia to attend. Registration and details are available at ruralassembly.org/broadband-marietta.

In rural communities nationwide, nearly one-fourth of the population — more than 14 million people — lacks access to high-speed Internet service, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Clyburn, in her four years with the federal agency, has championed policies to expand access to robust and affordable broadband Internet service.

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