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Many discussions about improving broadband access fail urban America and low-income communities because policymakers assume the primary need is for marketing campaigns to convince individuals to get online. The real demons are poor network infrastructure, low speeds and affordability.
Silicon Harlem hopes to upend some of these barriers to digital inclusion through its mission to drive technology adoption, entrepreneurship, arts and culture, and social innovation. Executive Producer Bruce Lincoln (email@example.com), the first Ford Fellow in Educational Technology, describes the organization's blueprint for success and how communities can replicate its progress.
Mr. Lincoln has spent many years as a design scientist and highspeed network developer. He calls on his experience and offers some advice for overcoming challenges such as:
disparities in eRate funding for urban schools; inadequate infrastructure in inner city communities; economic shortcomings; and digital illiteracy.
The New York State Broadband Program Office is on a mission to see that all citizens and businesses in the state receive universal broadband access. At the first New York broadband summit, Program Director David Salway presents the 2012-2013 annual report on progress toward this goal.
Salway gives listeners several high points of the report and describes how other states might replicate some of these successes. He explains the role the ARRA stimulus played in New York's campaign for better broadband, and what the state plans to do to keep their efforts moving forward as the grant money runs out.
This interview also addresses how the state overcame some of the challenges it faced, particularly in the areas of broadband planning and financing highspeed networks. Salway offers practical advice for others who are responsible for building infrastructure to serve diverse constituencies.
Across the U.S. an increasing number of public-owned electric and other utilities are building or planning to build highspeed Internet access networks. In many ways these entities are well suited for the task. Is yours?
Curtis Dean, Broadband Services Coordinator for the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities joins us to discuss why public utilities are making a difference in the drive for faster, better networks. Dean, who was part of a team that built a successful public utility network in 2001, offers listeners a lot of valuable advice.
We explore critical issues that help ensure a public utility leads an effective broadband initiative, including:
* determining what your public utility must do to effectively launch a broadband network; * addressing challenges and tapping the benefits utilities can deliver with broadband services; * managing time and monetary costs of operating a network infrastructure; and * effectively marketing the services after launching a network.
Don't miss Craig Settles' workshop in Ottumwa, IA that will tackle these and other issues.
One antidote to corporate network TV news and brain-numbing programming may be community-owned TV that is driven by gigabit networks. Explore how the power of new video production tools, social networks and superfast Internet access can create better TV that delivers significant community benefits.
Bruce Montgomery, CEO and Founder of Technology Access Television, explains for listeners the imperative and the potential benefits of taking back what used to be the "public" airwaves. Since 1999, his digital media production organization has covered tech solutions in education, business, government, community development and non-profit organizations.
Montgomery presents an outline for using gigabit connectively and digital media to change how constituents do business, increase digital literacy, improve their health, pursue justice and contribute to an overall better quality of life. He includes some perspectives on urban broadband adoption that mainstream media sometimes overlooks.
As the pace of network buildouts increases, communities sooner or later must face the reality that these networks succeed or fail largely on the strength of broadband adoption, a.k.a. marketing and sales. Either you have enough subscribers (paying or otherwise) for the network, or the network is not financially sustainable.
NTIA Program Director for Public Computing and Broadband Adoption Laura Breeden informs listeners about a new, detailed guide book the agency developed to help you create and implement successful adoption programs. She also presents practical tips for producing making broadband relevant for hard-to-reach constituents.
Ms. Breeden addresses:
* developing the right elements of an adoption program; * effective awareness and outreach activities; * getting affordable computers and Internet access to constituents; and * designing digital literacy training that works.
Communities may be leaving an awful lot of money on the table for funding broadband because they're not going to the most logical money source on the planet - the bank. Stearns Brothers & Co Senior VP Aaron Gadouas explains that approaching banks and other tradition financial institutions is a viable option that more communities should explore.
Critiquing the nine business models presented in Craig Settles' Building the Gigabit City (Chapter 5), Gadouas lays out tactics for preparing your community to take it to the bank and get financing:
* securing credible memoranda of understanding
* pre-selling network service subscriptions
* leveraging support from local banks and credit unions
* avoiding obvious and not so obvious pitfalls
Mr. Gadouas, with 15 years experience in corporate finance and new product development, is widely recognized for his track record of innovation that includes creating a public-private financing program for healthcare organizations. At a recent Kansas City conference, he presented government and private sector organizations with a game plan for financing broadband infrastructure.
Could Silicon Valley be replaced as center of the tech universe by the only gigabit city in northern California and its surrounding communities? Lit San Leandro is a gig network launched by a local successful software entrepreneur who could not get the broadband speeds he needed, even in the Valley. The City is now energized to aggressively expand the network to usher in a new era of innovation in the region.
San Leandro Chief Innovation Officer Deb Acosta shares some of the City's vision as it prepares to host a regional workshop to give communities' stakeholders hands-on training in bringing highspeed broadband to constituents. The communities on the east side of the San Francisco Bay see the Lit San Leandro initiative :
cultivating a new generation of technology and bio tech entrepreneurs to take root; uniting East Bay state, local and community colleges into a major center of academic research; creating a nucleus of medical research and telemedicine advancement; and upgrading the overall quality of life of residential and business constituents.
63% of participants in a national survey have seen communities use broadband to harness home-based businesses into a economic engine, or believe strongly that communities can do this. Gigabit Nation goes to Kansas City to spotlight this dynamic at work.
Kansas City Startup Village (KCSV) participants give listeners first-hand details on how a booming entrepreneurial movement has taken root and is expanding thanks to Google Fiber. They offer valuable lessons to other communities that want to do likewise. Today's guests are:
* Adam Arredondo and Matthew Marcus, co-founders of Local Ruckus and KCSV Co-Leaders;
* Mike Demarais, Co-Founder, Handprint
* Ben Barreth, founder of the Homes for Hackers program
* Brittain Kovac, staff member of startup Leap2 and Event Manager for KCSV; and
* Jonny Kot, community leader and founder of Tech-Pointer.
Our guests have complementary and contrasting viewpoints on:
* the role of Google Fiber in driving entrepreneurship in Kansas City
* how communities can encourage and support startups
* sustaining and expanding entrepreneur support programs.
Listeners can download a copy of the survey analysis report that addresses the increase of home-based businesses and other economic outcomes broadband influences.
A 4,000-mile broadband network represents a huge capital investment for an electric co-op - or any community organization for that matter. When done right, a comprehensive pilot project can save you a ton of money and a lot of time.
Learn how Co-Mo Cooperative in central Missouri ran a year-long pilot that removed a great deal of uncertainty, and paved the way to a very confident launch of a 4-year buildout. Co-Mo determined that buildout costs could be notably less that projected, and they achieved a take rate of about 46 percent, which is considerably more than expected.
General Manager Randy Klindt offers listeners details on how to plan, establish measurement criteria for and execute pilots. He also provides community stakeholders with useful advice on how to maximize the strengths of electric co-ops as part of an effective broadband strategy.
Blacksburg, VA raised $91,000 to build a 1 gig network downtown using crowdfunding (bit.ly/ZVsVIz). A Kansas City neighborhood crowdfunded a wireless network buildout. Have we found the key to unlocking a big increase in broadband networks?
As interest in this tactic builds, two community broadband veterans are rolling out a Web tool to crowdfund, aggregate demand and coordinate stakeholders. The design of this service reflects a belief that funding is just one of the challenges communities must address.
Crowdfiber co-founders Greg Richardson and Bailey White advocate an integrated approach to broadband deployment that builds a pre-launch subscriber base while simultaneously raising money to fund the network. In addition, communities must be adept at organizing and project management.
Listeners come away from this interview with a better understanding of:
* crowdfunding best practices; * using the Google “fiberhoods” tactic to map demand; and * organizing stakeholders (a.k.a. herding cats).
"It is important for cities to realize that this [broadband] is the way forward and, if used correctly, it can have a lasting impact on their economic, environmental and special development," says Julia Pulidindi, National League of Cities Senior Associate in their City Solutions and Applied Research Department.
Pulidindi joins Gigabit Nation to present steps that communities should take to get constituents on the same page and moving forward to getting better broadband. She highlights creative ideas that have enabled communities to build highspeed Internet infrastructure, and drive various constituents to use the networks.
Pulidindi gives listeners insights to the type of national broadband policy issues that the NLC is advocating for in D.C., and invites comments from the audience on these issues. NLC also has state affiliates, we explore how these provide cities and towns with valuable access to information and communication channels that can help local broadband efforts.