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ATTENTION: There is heavy static in show's first 3-4 minutes, but it clears up after that.
The pride of the pack when it comes to community broadband business models is the open-access model in which the local government or public utility owns the physical network and private-sector ISPs deliver services to subscribers. It looks like a relatively easy model to pursue, and dozens of communities say this is their preferred option. In reality, making open access work is a monster challenge requiring intense, constant effort.
Mt. Vernon, WA has built a small cadre of ISPs for its open-access fiber network. Information Services Director Kim Kleppe details how they overcame obstacles and seized opportunities to build a successful network that is financially sustainable. Listeners will learn:
why getting the second ISP is the hardest job in the world;
how to set pricing structure
tips for creating win-win situations
marketing tactics that attract ISPs and subscribers
how to keep everyone on the same page
Kleppe and his colleagues have 12 years experience building and refining their open access model. Communities just getting their networks off the ground can really benefit from the lessons of those who've been in the trenches a while.
Many communities must understand that, without a well-crafted and executed creative marketing strategy, their broadband networks will have limited success. This is particularly true in states such as North Carolina that have a hostile political climate for public networks. Salisbury, NC has held their own for four years, but plans to turn on the marketing afterburners to accelerate their growth and impact on the community.
Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson and Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell present constituents and listeners with details on some of their marketing ideas. The city launched its Fibrant fiber network in 2010 and has steadily increased its subscriber base in the face of stiff incumbent opposition. They recently upgraded Fibrant to 1 gigabit per second service, which they expect will improve economic development, healthcare service delivery, education and government services.
City leaders see their marketing efforts moving forward on two fronts: 1) increasing marketing messages that educate various constituencies about the benefits of gigabit services, and 2) raising Salisbury's national profile as a forward-looking gig city that is a center of innovation. The Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem describe several of Fibrant's past marketing successes, and provide other community broadband teams with advice on how to market effectively against well-financed adversaries.
A large majority of municipal and public utility broadband networks are successes. Next Century Cities lays out several paths to help your community to reach this winner's circle.
NCC Executive Director Deb Socia describes for listeners a range of business and funding models for community broadband that are creating success stories around the country. Communities such as Santa Monica, CA and Mount Vernon, WA built success by using their networks for replace T1 lines and other old communications infrastructure. Others such as Monticello, MN formed public private partnerships. Jackson, TN and Cedar Falls, IA sell services direct to subscribers.
Socia's organization has assembled quite the brain trust of communities and she is happy to share some of that knowledge. Listeners will get insights into:
preventing critics from defining your success;
defining parameters and goals for success based on constituents' broadband needs;
helping non-technical people understand and become excited about how the network will impact them; and
promoting your successes.
Next Century Cities is a membership organization providing knowledge and peer- support for communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet.
Community highspeed Internet networks really started to become prominent in the media during 2011 - 2012, but broadband has been playing key roles in some communities for a decade or more. It is good to occasionally stop and take stock of what this technology is accomplishing.
Norm Jacknis, Senior Fellow at the think tank Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF), studies the economic and social development of 21st Century communities. He offers detailed analysis on what uses of broadband networks are proving successful and which tactics require re-tooling. We discuss:
what determines success, particularly in rural communities;
examples of communities impacting education and economic development;
what types of jobs created by broadband are best for long-term community growth; and
where are communities finding money to move broadband projects forward.
Jacknis provides some background on ICF’s Top 7 Intelligent Communities of the Year. These are chosen from hundreds of communities worldwide, and broadband plays a prominent role in their selection. Starting June 3 they will meet in New York City for the final selection of the Intelligent Community of the Year.
As the endless stream of RFPs for community broadband feasibility studies widens, are these communities considering the intersect between broadband and cloud computing? It's important to have quality infrastructure that reaches all constituents, but it's equally important to build an infrastructure that supports applications that make the network financially sustainable. Learn how to create a role for cloud computing in your broadband planning.
Bernie Arnason, publisher and editor of Telecompetitor, keeps his finger on the pulse as he covers developments important to the broadband ecosystem through his analysis and commentary. Arnason is particularly focused on how network operators, including community broadband project teams, monetize the infrastructure while serving communities' needs.
Listeners get a solid grounding in how targeting local enterprises and small businesses with cloud computing services has a payback both in generating high-end, big dollar subscribers with low churn rates, and increasing the economic strength of community businesses. Arnason describes how to design the network buildout and subsequent marketing of cloud and other services to capture this low-hanging fruit. He also discusses the "Internet if things," which is an important element of cloud computing strategy.
Feetz don't fail me now! Chattanooga this week unveiled several awe-inspiring 3D applications that development teams created this summer on the city's gig network. As broadband champions get their brains wrapped around 3D printing and the technology's potential benefits, it's immediately clear why your broadband plan should include 3D printing apps. Two companies from Demo Day give you an eye-opening peek at the future.
This is is a 3D printing manufacturer and retailer that creates custom-fit footwear for consumers of all shoe sizes. Using patented algorithms and snapshots from the customer’s phone, Feetz integrates custom sizing measurements with individual design preferences to bring comfort, fit and style into each pair of hyper-customized shoes.
These folks have created a 3D printing manufacturer that provides contract medical devices for pre-surgical planning. Using patient-specific data, the company creates anatomical 3D models that enable surgeons to plan procedures before operating on patients.
Though occasionally the butt of political humor, Toronto is no joke when it comes of using technology to improve Canada's largest city's economic future, Toronto began serious efforts to capitalize on Internet networks when Muni WiFi was all the rage in 2005, and WiFi emerged again in 2013 as a key technology for the city as they tackle digital inclusion issues. However, its plans to use a gigabit network as part of an aggressive economic development project on the waterfront helped catapult the city to the coveted title of Intelligent Community of the Year.
After an exhaustive survey of over 400 communities worldwide, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) staff determined Toronto to be the leader of the pack. Waterfront Toronto President and CEO John Campbell discusses the role of broadband in its $35 billion revitalization project. An estimated 12,000 new residents are targeted to receive a 100 Mpbs service, while local businesses should see 10 gigabit services.
ICF is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. It's Intelligent Community awards salute the accomplishments of communities in developing inclusive prosperity on a foundation of information and communications technology,
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?
This interview was re-scheduled to November 20 due to a technical glitch. You can listen to the re-scheduled broadcast here - http://tinyurl.com/mlo33hx
Imagine there was no Google Fiber in Kansas City! The Kansas state legislature is poised to not only prohibit municipalities from owning broadband networks, it will prevent even private companies and nonprofits from delivering faster, better Internet access (sign this petition to kill the bill). This bill effectively can block Google or any other competitor to existing incumbents from serving most of the state.
Chanute, KS City Finance Director Rebecca Wood joins us to describe a development that threatens other states as well. AT&T and Cable ONE wouldn't deliver the broadband Chanute needed, so the city built its own. But an ALEC-inspired draconian bill introduced this week threatens to destroy communities' home rule, and the ability to invest in their own citizens.
Wood discusses how this bill will kill Kansas towns' hopes to replicate Chanute's successes in economic development, advanced healthcare, education and government service delivery. Given how ALEC operates, it is likely that this bill's passing would lead to similar legislation in other states. Listeners get valuable advice on how they can join with Chanute and various organizations in the state to kill Bill 304.
How about Community Gardens. What are people doing and how can your town do that also. Join me for a list of Community Gardens in my book "Communitiy Garden Revolution" and hear what they are doing that makes them of Excellence.
Proven Winners has some new Colors out for 2015. Go to their website and order your upcoming Catalog. There are some Flowers that can be planted that attract Bees for you to do a Bee Hive or keep your Community Garden pollunated.
And, go to the website of Nate's all American ONLINE Store. At checkout for Garden Equipment and Tools you can get 10% OFF at Checkout with the code "comgar14".
Have a Great Community Garden Day!
Mary K. Hukill, Author and Radio Show Host
Books and AudioBooks: Community Garden Revolution
Community Garden Revolution Notes!
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