NATOA Announces 2024 Community Broadband and Digital Equity Award Winners

Community, Top Issues,

For immediate release

Contact: Tonya Rideout (703) 519-8035


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 10, 2024 – The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) today announced the recipients of NATOA’s 2024 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 Charleston, SC, August 25 – 28th at the Charleston Marriott.


“As a national organization, NATOA works to meet communities' unique and diverse needs to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high-speed and reliable broadband. This year's winners are leading examples of innovation in community broadband, digital equity and innovative partnerships,” said NATOA President Rick Assmus. “On behalf of all NATOA members, we congratulate them on their leadership and commitment to improving broadband connectivity for everyone in their communities.”


The 2024 Community Broadband Award recipients are:


Community Broadband Project of the Year

The City and County of San Francisco’s Fiber-to-Housing (FTH) Program, seeking to deliver free, high-speed broadband to all residents of affordable and public housing in San Francisco and connecting San Francisco’s most vulnerable residents to educational, cultural, employment and health care resources available over the internet. The FTH program utilizes San Francisco’s extensive fiber optic network to reach residents in all neighborhoods of the City. By connecting affordable housing, the FTH program addresses the City’s most pressing digital equity needs. The FTH program aims to bring gigabit speed broadband internet to each unit of affordable housing that it serves. Wherever possible, FTH provides a wired connection to the unit to ensure high quality broadband. FTH also performed a pilot program serving privately owned single room occupancy (SRO) hotels in Chinatown.


Digital Equity Project of the Year

Silicon Harlem’s Project RISE and BetterB, making technology accessible and resilient. In partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Silicon Harlem launched RISE, a business recovery and resiliency program working to help New York City’s small businesses adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change through the use of innovative technologies. Silicon Harlem led this initiative in East Harlem through the deployment of a connected mesh network providing disaster-resistant wireless technology and emergency communications at no costs to local businesses. Silicon Harlem also offers a low-cost broadband option called BetterB "Better Broadband" with symmetrical 100Mbps speeds at $30 per month. In partnership with C-Better Foundation, Silicon Harlem provides workforce development, network technician curriculums, and access to devices that ensure everyone can stay connected with a focus on public housing residents, senior citizens, and those in shelters. Silicon Harlem's mission encompasses advancing digital equity through cutting-edge research, technology education, community engagement, and innovative broadband solutions. In addition, Silicon Harlem provides an Annual Hackathon, Co-Working for start-ups, providing future technologies for schools, Universities, non-profits, public housing, and people at-large.


Public-Private Partnership (P3) of the Year (New for 2024)

SA Digital Connects, a San Antonio and Bexar County Private-Public-Community Collaboration that generates economic opportunity in San Antonio/Bexar County by ensuring every household has access to the internet and are safe, secure and confident online, regardless of zip code. SA Digital Connects has built and shepherded deep collaboration across key government, public and private partners in San Antonio and Greater Bexar County to create the Digital Investment Plan, and has secured funding for access, infrastructure, affordability, adoption, digital skills and devices – relevant to the user’s needs.


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