ICYMI: FloridaCommerce Hosted Broadband Summit to Highlight Broadband Internet Expansion

Sep 29, 2023

ICYMI: FloridaCommerce Hosted Broadband Summit to Highlight Broadband Internet Expansion
Orlando, Fla. – FloridaCommerce, in partnership with CareerSource Florida, hosted the Florida Broadband Summit from September 21-22, at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. A culmination of two years of collaboration, the inaugural Florida Broadband Summit brought together industry leaders, local government officials, workforce and economic development professionals, and community advocates to discuss the expansion of broadband Internet and its impact on infrastructure, business and job growth in Florida.

“FloridaCommerce is proud to have hosted Florida’s inaugural Broadband Summit, where public and private sector leaders came together to discuss expanding broadband in Florida to create workforce opportunities and drive local economies,” said J. Alex Kelly, Florida Secretary of Commerce. “Since the Office of Broadband was created in 2020, more than $474 million in broadband grants have been awarded across the state. With more funding on the horizon, these investments will dramatically change the footprints of our communities and the families that live within them for generations to come.”

“CareerSource Florida was honored to partner with FloridaCommerce to host the inaugural Florida Broadband Summit at a pivotal time as we seek to expand high-speed internet access across our state,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Adrienne Johnston . “We were energized to hear from Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez and leaders in industry, local government, workforce and economic development, and community advocacy about the incredible opportunities that Florida's investment in broadband will open up for our workforce. The CareerSource Florida network is now focused on helping businesses develop their talent pipeline for infrastructure deployment, and ensuring all Floridians have the digital literacy skills needed to harness the power of broadband.” 

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez gives keynote address, sharing insights on the role of broadband and reliable connectivity in bridging the gap in underserved communities – and it’s potential to transform our future.

Florida Secretary of Commerce J. Alex Kelly speaks at the executive reception, discussing the expansion and adoption of broadband across Florida and how these services impact job creators and job seekers.


Led by Katie Smith Director of the Office of Broadband, this panel discussed BEAD community engagement efforts, the 5-year action plan and initial proposals. 

FloridaCommerce Deputy Secretary Meredith Ivey led an in-depth discussion on mapping broadband expansion in the state of Florida. 

Hundreds attend the inaugural Florida Broadband Summit to join the discussion of expanding connectivity to every corner of Florida.

Led by Sean Lewis from the Office of Broadband, this panel discussed digital adaption, use and connectivity.

What They Are Saying About the Florida Broadband Summit:

"The Broadband Workforce panel highlighted the vital role of CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs in Florida's broadband expansion efforts,” said Chancellor Kevin O’Farrell. Together, we emphasize the importance of fostering talent that aligns with the ever-evolving needs of the broadband industry. Our collective efforts ensure a pipeline of skilled professionals who can effectively contribute to the development and maintenance of robust digital infrastructure across the state."

“Cybersecurity may not be the first thing people think of when we are discussing broadband Internet connectivity, but it is certainly one of the most important,” said DMS Secretary Pedro Allende. “I thank FloridaCommerce for prioritizing cybersecurity at the annual Broadband Summit as we work to protect Internet users, businesses, and communities so they can thrive as we work toward 100% connectivity.”

“The Florida Broadband summit was a great success, bringing industry, commissioners from across the state, state associations, government partners, and agency leaders to share what we did not know and what we need to know to promote broadband back in our communities, great job Department of Commerce I look forward to the next summit," said Larry Harvey, Putnam County Board of County Commissioners, District 4.

“Florida’s local workforce development boards are partnering with FloridaCommerce and our local communities to improve broadband connectivity, promote digital equity and ensure our workforce is trained for occupations that require digital literacy and help expand high-speed internet,” said CareerSource South Florida Executive Director Rick Beasley. “We were grateful to participate in this vital conversation and bring forward examples of the importance of strong partnerships to help all Floridians learn, work and thrive in a connected world.”

"The Florida Chamber Foundation is dedicated to ensuring economic opportunity for every Floridian, irrespective of their geographic location. We are delighted to collaborate closely with FloridaCommerce as the state makes transformative investments in broadband infrastructure and access. These efforts aim to connect all communities to high-speed internet services, opening doors to essential educational resources, employment opportunities, and community information. Broadband connectivity has the potential to be a catalyst for economic prosperity, and the Florida Chamber Foundation is committed to ensuring every Floridian has access to this transformative tool," said Kyle Baltuch, Senior Vice President, Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
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