Connect The Future Florida to Honor Former House Speaker Chris Sprowls, Rep. Josie Tomkow with Broadband Champion Award

Connect The Future (CTF) Florida will recognize former Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) and Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Polk City) with CTF’s “Broadband Champion Award,” acknowledging their pivotal work in creating Florida’s new $400-million Broadband Opportunity Program.

The ceremony at Fort Meade Middle Senior High School (FMMSHS) in Southwest Polk County will follow a brief panel discussion featuring Sprowls and Tomkow, Polk County Public Schools Superintendent Frederick Heid, a FMMSHS teacher, and a FMMSHS student leader. Held before a live audience of students and area stakeholders, it will focus on the impact of connectivity on educational opportunities in rural Florida, the persistent barriers to deploying broadband infrastructure, and the benefits rural Floridians stand to enjoy from the Broadband Opportunity Program. Marva Johnson, Group Vice President for State Government Affairs for Charter Communications, will moderate the panel.

“CTF is honored to host this important discussion with our newest Broadband Champions, former Speaker Chris Sprowls and Representative Josie Tomkow,” said CTF Executive Director Zachary Cikanek. “Working together with elected officials and private sector partners, we will maximize the impact of Florida’s newly created Broadband Opportunity Program and break down the remaining barriers to closing Florida’s digital divide once and for all.”

RSVP here to pre-register.

NOTE: This event was originally scheduled for November 10, 2022, but was postponed due to inclement weather. It has been rescheduled for January 30, 2023, at 12:00pm EST.


CTF Florida believes using public policy to accelerate broadband deployment and encourage private sector investment is critical. Even with more than 220 internet providers offering broadband service in the state, Florida’s digital divide is real, and its socio-economic consequences for the 20 percent of Florida’s rural population without broadband access is significant. CTF Florida is comprised of the following supporters: Airspan, Charter Communications, Computer Mentors, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, Enterprising Latinas, Lakeland Economic Development Council, Manatee Education Foundation, Palm Coast-Flagler Regional Chamber of Commerce and Pinellas County Urban League.