Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)
101

Impact Investments to Expand Equitable Access to Broadband

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This session explores the potential for impact investing to accelerate universal, affordable, and dependable broadband access. While inequitable access to internet has long been a challenge for many communities, and particularly communities of color, indigenous, and low-income communities, the COVID-19 crisis has exacerbated and laid bare these gross inequities. As the COVID-19 crisis forces more individuals to work, learn, and connect to health care or other services virtually, the need for reliable broadband is greater than ever.  Impact investing, in strategic combination with powerful advocacy, has the potential to accelerate the pace of progress toward an affordable broadband access for all.

 

Access to affordable internet is, in many ways, a market problem where for-profit providers lack the market incentives or business case to provide services to low-income communities in urban and rural areas. With flexible financing options, like low-interest loans to finance broadband expansion or seed alternative providers, funders have an opportunity to correct that problem. There is tremendous potential for impact investing to build on the work of philanthropy and advocacy, and this session will take a look at the broadband access landscape, potential impact of increased and equitable access, and case studies from funders and investors working in the field. 

Confirmed Panelists

Shelley Whelpton, Senior Managing Director, Arabella Advisors

Unconfirmed Panelists

  • Foundation working at intersection of policy and impact investing
  • Broadband advocacy group
  • Early-stage broadband enterprise

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