NATOA Announces 2023 Community Broadband & Digital Equity Award Winners

Community, Top Issues,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – August 24, 2023 – The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) today announced the recipients of NATOA’s 2023 Community Broadband and Digital Equity Awards, recognizing innovative programs in government, business and local communities nationwide. Recipients will receive their awards at NATOA’s Annual Conference, to be held in Long Beach, CA from October 2 – 5 at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach Hotel.


“When we think of digital equity, it’s all about making sure everybody has access to technology that enables people to equally participate in the 21st Century economy. This year’s award winners are great examples of innovation in community broadband and digital equity,” said NATOA president Michael Russo. “We salute them. These are extraordinary communities and organizations that show real leadership and commitment to improving broadband connectivity for everybody.” 


The 2023 Community Broadband Award recipients are:

Community Broadband Projects of the Year


The City of Fort Collins, CO Connexion Initiative, a municipal broadband utility created by and for the community to improve the life of all 80,000 residential and commercial properties of Fort Collins through better, more affordable internet. Connexion offers the fastest internet speeds available at affordable prices as well as competitive phone and TV services. Connexion has its own Digital Inclusion Program, which includes 1 GB symmetrical speeds for $20/month to income qualified residents. Fort Collins has established strong relationships with regional partners such as Larimer County and other Northern Colorado municipal ISPs.


The City of Pharr, TX Initiative, is a completely owned and operated municipal fiber network with over 700 miles of fiber, live in 2 of 3 geographical areas of the City. This network, once completed, will serve over 24,000 residential households and business accounts, not only small business but also produce and manufacturing companies due to our international bridge. Their recent partnership with their largest local school district in the region with a student population of approximately 30,000 students will fund 1 GB service to every student household in their district. 

Digital Equity Project of the Year

The City of Austin, TX Community Broadband, Technology & Digital Equity Initiative, aiming to close the digital divide in Austin through a commitment to digital inclusion and equity; managing the Digital Empowerment Community of Austin, a collective of community organizations and businesses; administering the $400,000 annual Grants for Technology Opportunity Program; managing the bilingual digital literacy and computer labs; refurbishing city of Austin retired devices and distributing them to residents via local nonprofit; and overseeing the management of three Austin Public Access TV Channels through a partnership with the Austin Film Society.


For more information on the awards or recipients, click here.