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There’s a lot going on in broadband in Oregon. Communities such as Sandy are upgrading their infrastructure significantly, or planning their initial networks. Co-op are energized and several of them are planning to launch broadband initiatives. The rural telephone companies are providing creative solutions that are getting communities connected.
Joseph Franell, General Manager and CEO of Eastern Oregon Telecom, discusses some of the opportunities and the challenges that communities face here in the state. Gigabit Nation is broadcasting live from the Oregon Connections Telecommunications Conference, which draws statewide attendees to share ideas, experiences and knowledge about telecommunications.
Franell and Gigabit Nation host Craig Settles highlight:
some of the challenges with bridging the broadband divide in education;
addressing the urban/rural divide;
what is the "right" model to deploy gigabit networks in rural markets;
how has the USF/ICC reform impacted rural carriers and how are they moving forward;
what are the pluses and minuses of the Google Fiber model.
Sandy, OR’s move to gigabit broadband is one of the many case stories in Settles’ new book, Building the Gigabit City, Vol. 2.
If there ever was a sign that the floodgates on community broadband have fully opened, it's this Election Day as 46 Colorado communities vote on taking back their right to build public networks. Get election results here on Gigabit Nation's special in 90-minute broadcast. Is this going to be a clean sweep?
Ken Fellman, general counsel with the Colorado Communications and Utility Alliance, joins us with summary analysis of how the communities voted and what do these results mean for broadband in the state. Fellman and host Craig Settles also will call on some of the towns and counties to get first-hand observations, and thoughts on how the communities will proceed.
Another topic of discussion is the impact that the election results will have on the competitive landscape of the state. The day after last year's election, Comcast announced a statewide increase of their broadband speed. What might incumbents do this year in the face of what is expected to be an unanimous consensus for public broadband by the electorate? Will the winds of change blow over into other states with restrictions on municipal broadband?
My latest book on broadband strategy goes into depth about how to deal with states that have restrictions on public broadband.
Some creative thinking saved the broadband dreams of 10 cities in two Minnesota counties. Could cooperatives (co-ops) provide the magic bullet for municipalities encumbered with funding and political hurdles?
Communities in Renville and Sibley Counties created the RS Fiber Cooperative to address rural communication needs. Recently the communities decided to lend the co-op funds they need to build a fiber and wireless infrastructure to cover the towns and farmlands in the co-op's service area. The arrangement resolves several challenges that a number of communities face:
it was easier for cities to pass a bond to pay the co-op to build the network rather then have the cities build it;
co-ops’ existing community relationships translate into faster network take rates;
Minnesota is one of the 21 states with a law restricting public broadband.
Mark Erickson, Winthrop, MN EDA Director and a key contributor to the project joins us to talk us through the complexities of the financial arrangement and the benefits of having the co-op take the lead on the network buildout. He also discusses the role of co-ops in the bigger broadband picture as they take aggressive action in deploying networks.
My new book, Building the Gigabit City, Vol 2, devotes significant coverage to co-ops and their increasing impact on broadband.
From a regulatory perspective, the FCC is the lead agency shaping this Administration’s broadband legacy, both for its aggressive policymaking and its program funding. This interview looks at how far the FCC has come, and how much further some feel the agency should go to facilitate broadband advancement in the U.S.
Gigi Sohn, Counselor to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, gives listeners insights to the agency’s efforts to promote fast, fair and open broadband networks. She’ll discuss issues such as community broadband, Lifeline and E-Rate modernization, net neutrality and the FCC’s role as a consumer protection agency. As broadband networks become ever more essential to full participation in our society and our economy, the FCC's role will become even more critical.
Among Sohn’s roles at the FCC is ensuring that the public has an opportunity to participate in FCC’s proceedings that will determine the future of broadband networks. Sohn discusses how consumers and small businesses can make their voice heard at the Commission. As former CEO of the public advocacy group Public Knowledge, Sohn is well-positioned to give listeners a perspective on what it is like to go from outside advocate to inside bureaucrat.
It’s good to take a step back, gauge the ways broadband has advanced as a community asset, and get a sense how these networks are moving cities forward. As Gigabit Nation celebrates its 4th anniversary, this is a good opportunity to hear from some people working in the trenches and take stock of where we are headed.
A panel of doers from across they nation, including the mayor of Chattanooga, weigh in on several important issues. Broadband is improving and enhancing local governments of all sizes. Communities have discovered the art of marketing as broadband defines 21th century cities. Medical and healthcare delivery it is becoming the “sleeper” killer app. A different type of planning needs to take over as communities grapple with broadband adoption challenges.
Our guests today are:
Andy Berke – Mayor, Chattanooga, TN
Aaron Deacon – Managing Director, KC Digital Drive
Mark Erickson – City Winthrop, MN EDA Director
Anne Schwieger – City planner and member City of Cambridge (MA) Broadband Task Force
It's full steam ahead as dozens of Colorado communities prepare to pass referenda to take back their rights to build public broadband networks. Top of the planning list is determining how to finance these infrastructure projects.
Virgil Turner, Director of Innovation and Citizen Engagement for the City of Montrose, joins us to discuss "Show Me the (Hidden) Money for Community Broadband." This new report from host Craig Settles instructs communities how to use different and effective ways to raise money that are triggered by the needs assessment process, a process that every community should be doing.
Listeners will get great advice about:
sound financial planning
developing partnerships with state agencies
the role of local businesses in broadband fundraising efforts
enlisting co-ops to enable region wide broadband funding
local bipartisanship's impact on raising funds
While it is great to have a single source of funding, communities need financing options because broadband projects are complex and can be expensive. Now is the time for creative communities that believe in thinking outside of the box.
This newest Community Broadban Snapshot Report is sponsored by Corning and SiFi Network. Some of the tips and advice presented in this broadcast are you just in more detail in Settles' new book, Building the Gigabit City, Vol 2.
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Sometimes the obvious solution to a broadband challenge is right there in front of a community. Like money. Waverly, IA realized that not just one but THREE local banks held the key to the city's fundraising success. While some communities are stressing out over funding sources, financial institutions could be the linchpin that get many public networks off the ground.
Who better than local banks and credit unions are served by the economic impact of broadband? New employers moving in, existing companies hiring, increasing property values, people staying in town - when economies thrive, banks prosper. Darrel Wenzel, General Manager of Waverly Utilities, explains how their financial institutions came to be partners in the city's broadband development. He also gives tips to communities that see this strategy potentially playing out well for their constituents.
Iowa is a hub of excitement these days, with Waverly being the third gigabit city in the state to move forward. The city is hot on the trail of high-speed Internet, cable and phone services for both residents and businesses. Waverly Utilities and city officials are pleased that general taxpayers and ratepayers are not at risk as revenue bonds have been secured and will be paid back by broadband subscribers.
A big majority of the hundreds of citywide and partial-reach broadband networks are celebrated successes by their stakeholders, businesses and residential subscribers, disproving critics who wrongly claim all public-owned networks are failures. Interviews live from the Kansas City Gigabit Summit reveal what it means to have a winning community broadband network.
Delegates from eight of the communities sharing their success stories with Summit attendees join us to give listeners insights to setting and meeting broadband goals. It is important to understand that, unlike private service providers, "return on investment" (ROI) is very different for communities focused on using broadband to improve economic development, transform healthcare delivery and otherwise serve the public good.
Guests, including those representing Winthrop, MN, Chattanooga and Jackson, TN, Monmouth, OR and Salisbury, NC, also discuss how they funded their networks, and offer advice for meeting the money challenge as opportunities and financing options evolve. One of the several strengths public entities have over private companies is the ability to repay debt over 20 or 25 years rather than being driven to meet stockholder needs for quick returns.
The Gigabit Summit is a national gathering of cities with broadband networks that are educating, helping and encouraging cities just beginning their broadband journeys. Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri are the proud hosts and gigabit showcase cities kicking off 2015 with the first big broadband educational conference of the year.
Cedar Falls, IA became Ground Zero for launching a Presidential drive for gigabit community-owned broadband throughout the U.S. Learn how this 20-year old network took center stage last week as the latest beacon leading cities nationwide on the path to faster, better public-owned broadband.
Broadband is driving Cedar Fall's economic activities. Listeners get a detailed breakdown of the city's progress since upgrading to a gigabit network a year ago from Bob Seymour, Planner III/Economic Development. Curtis Dean, Broadband Services Coordinator for the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities provides insights to expected developments in the state's broadband future.
President Obama held up Cedar Falls as a great example of the value of public braodband networks in helping to meet America's highspeed Internet needs, and why we need giant service providers to stop blocking communities' ability to become the next gigabit success story. Our guests offer listeners advice on how their communities can overcome the challenges of these statutes.
State laws mandating these public-owned broadband networks get voter approval through referendum campaigns used to mean near-certain death for any project. Kiss those days goodbye! Meet the winners who have turned the tide.
November 4, EIGHT towns and counties all passed ballot initiatives to return the authority to pursue broadband to their constituents. With 70% or more of the vote. Predominately Democrat or Republican didn’t matter. How did they do that!? Representatives of Boulder, Rio Blanco, San Miguel, Yuma County and other communities give us the scoop on how they pulled off these big wins.
We’re going to find out:
Are the political winds blowing heavily community broadband’s way?
At the local level, is broadband now a bipartisan issue?
What tactics were effective getting these referenda passed?
What happened to the giant telcos and cable companies?
What comes next for these communities?
Will there be a flood of communities rolling out their own ballot initiatives?
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