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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.
The Obama Administration was deadly serious in September when they called for all Federal hands on deck to meet the challenges of deploying broadband everywhere. The EPA – yes, that EPA – along with the USDA’s Rural Utilities Services is rolling out a pilot program to offer communities broadband strategy planning assistance.
Ed Fendley lays out plans for Cool & Connected, the service he heads for the EPA. The program targets communities interested in using broadband to help revitalize small-town promote economic development. Cool & Connected is recruiting experts to assist communities with network buildouts and tactics that enable networks to deliver their promised benefits.
In today’s interview, Fendley provides details on eligibility requirements, rules and due dates. Participants also are encouraged to bring partnership to the table.
With the heavy focus on helping communities afford the cost of building broadband networks, we sometimes forget about the cost of planning for networks, particularly in small and midsize towns. The EPA believes its resources can be best brought to bear by pursuing this planning role.
National Community Development Services (NCDS) leads multimillion-dollar economic development fundraising drives, and the firm is partnering with Craig Settles to bring NCDS’ success to broadband. Both believe that there are more people and organizations than communities realize that are able and willing to financially support broadband deployments to their communities.
NCDS President Tom DiFiore presents highlights of the firm’s methodology that has raised over $1.6 billons for 500 communities in 46 states. Mr. Settles consulting expertise, philosophy and thought leadership in broadband strategy dovetails with NDCS in a four-step service that opens broadband funding opportunities as well as helps networks’ long-term financial successes.
Many communities let the “lack” of money stymie their broadband dreams. Mr. Settles’ and NCDS’ lead communities through a creation orientation to produce an asset that boosts the economy, increases local government efficiency, improves healthcare delivery and transforms education. In addition, NCDS leaves a system in place to facilitate other community economic development fundraising projects.
These combined services draw their origins from “Show Me the (Hidden) Money for Community Broadband,” Mr. Settles’ recent Community Broadband Snapshot Report.
In the 1860s, the progressive thinkers of the time felt that giving newly freed people their own land and leading edge technology – in this case, a mule – would jump start the poor on a journey to a better life. 150 years later, we are dealing with similar issues as we try to bridge the economic gap with the leading edge technology of our time – broadband. Will we find our way this time?
Colin Rhinesmith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at University of Oklahoma, and Brian Whitacre, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics at Oklahoma State University conducted excessive research on how to get better broadband adoption rates within low-income, seniors and youth populations. They join us to discuss their findings and explore options for getting these populations on board with broadband.
Rhinesmith and Whitacre describe one category of people who don’t use broadband as the Un-Adopters, and present why policymakers and federal agencies that fund broadband must develop strategies for addressing Un-Adopters. They address this category in the context of non-adopters, and the country overall.
We also will explore the downside of leaving Un-Adopters un-served. Could the cost of getting these constituents on board with broadband be better spent in other ways given how small the segments is? Given the effort of getting un-adopters and non- doctors to use broadband, what are some of the downsides and upsides if we are successful? Our guests present compelling reasons why policymakers must not leave these constituents out in the cold.
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.