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FUSE Executive Fellow - LA Broadband Access

Fuse Corps

Fuse Corps

Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, December 23, 2023

The Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting is advancing digital inclusion by using its infrastructure, including more than 200,000 street light poles throughout the City, to expand broadband connectivity to historically underserved and under-connected neighborhoods. The FUSE Executive Fellow will develop a strategic plan for the creation of a network management team that will oversee the operations of a rapidly expanding communications network that is publicly owned, open access, and community serving.

Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 400 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.

PROJECT CONTEXT

Since its founding almost a century ago, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting (BSL) has been at the forefront of innovation, technology, and design. The Bureau continuously strives to find new ways to use its assets and authorities to deliver holistic community benefits, now including resources such as electric vehicle charging stations and smart city devices. Over a decade ago, telecommunications service providers began co-locating their network equipment on BSL street light poles to make use of their advantageous locations and established power sources. With over 3,000 small cells on BSL poles, Los Angeles was one of the first 5G cities in America.

As digital communication and bandwidth needs have grown, however, many communities in Los Angeles have been left behind. In response, BSL has begun to make investments in public, open-access connectivity, especially in under-connected communities where new infrastructure will be necessary to correct years of disinvestment. One of the Bureau’s early areas of focus is Crenshaw Boulevard, where 36% of area households lack fixed broadband access. This historic Black community is home to the forthcoming Destination Crenshaw initiative, which will require expanded connectivity to develop new public spaces, advance inclusive community development, and elevate Black art and culture.

With funding from the American Rescue Plan, the Bureau initiated formal digital inclusion efforts in 2021 to address enduring disparities in internet access and affordability. Many households depend on mobile phones to connect to the internet, which is not suitable for telehealth, remote work, virtual learning, and many other opportunities. Additionally, the need for increased bandwidth is expected to grow exponentially as new technologies are integrated into transportation, public safety, and other services.

Over the past two years, the Bureau has determined that the most efficient and effective way to support digital inclusion is through the installation and maintenance of shared-access, fiber-optic-capable infrastructure across a network of up to 200,000 street light poles. The Bureau will also soon begin installing wireless networking equipment and building a dedicated data center at BSL headquarters. Using this equipment, the Bureau will test the delivery of free public Wi-Fi, enhanced smart city services, and many other possible applications.

In support of these efforts, the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting is partnering with FUSE to expand its in-house capacity in the areas of network management and operations. As BSL continues to oversee an increasingly large and complex broadband infrastructure, these capabilities will be essential to ensure increased connectivity access and affordability throughout the City.

PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES

The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.

Beginning in April 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will assist the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Lighting (BSL) in expanding broadband connectivity to historically underserved and under-connected neighborhoods. This work will focus on moving from the construction of infrastructure to piloting operations and management of new networks for the benefit of the communities.

The FUSE Executive Fellow will conduct research to identify best practices in network management and determine how they can be applied to BSL projects already underway along Crenshaw Boulevard and Canoga Park. This will include a listening tour where the Fellow will hear from stakeholders, collaborators, and community members in the pilot areas.

The Fellow will produce detailed recommendations and a strategic plan, including budgets and staffing strategies, that will enable BSL to recruit and build a permanent network management team. This plan will include a detailed organizational chart, team requirements, strategies for meeting staffing needs within the City’s civil service structure, and potential opportunities for revenue generation and cost-sharing with partners. Reflecting BSL’s commitment to equity, this plan will be rooted in principles of social justice and community engagement.

By April 2025, the FUSE Fellow will have done the following:

  • Conducted a pilot phase- this essential stage of project implementation will include meetings with local stakeholders, reviews of best practices in other cities that have had success in managing public communications networks for community benefit, and outreach to potential partners toward the goal of determining what software, hardware, and human capital are needed to expand such services citywide.
  • Created a budget - this phase of research will focus on revenue opportunities, places where costs can be shared, creative staffing opportunities, and other best practices applied by cities around the globe to operate community-serving broadband networks for public, private, non-profit, and individual use.
  • Presented a strategic plan- based on both the applied and research findings, the FUSE Fellow will present a strategic plan that clearly articulates staffing and budgetary requirements needed to scale communications network management and operations beyond the pilot phase.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Miguel Sangalang, Executive Director; Bureau of Street Lighting
  • Project Supervisor – Dan Caroselli, Digital Inclusion and Performance Management Lead; Bureau of Street Lighting

QUALIFICATIONS

In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in broadband and wireless technology, network operations, and project management is strongly preferred for this project.

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to complex challenges.
  • Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies to support more effective decision-making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with diversity, equity, and inclusion core values. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.