News from Communities - Seattle, Clarksville, Chattanooga, and Rutland

  • Communities around Rutland in Vermont are moving forward with a planned universal full fiber-to-the-home network. Interestingly, this network has been spear-headed by the Rutland Redevelopment Authority, not a local City Hall.

  • Back in Tennessee, the Clarksville Fiber Network is running ahead of schedule.

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    Having reached the 6,000-customer mark, CDE Lightband's broadband service is slightly ahead of schedule in adding new subscribers, an official of the Clarksville utility said Wednesday — good news for a telecommunications division, which is still in its infancy.

    Initial projections had the utility servicing around 8,000 broadband subscribers by next June.

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    New installations usually have about a six-week wait, primarily because of high demand, Batts said.

    Though demand is high, the goal of profitability is still a ways off — around 4,000 additional customers are needed to push the utility's telecommunications into the black, according to early department projections.

  • Seattle's new mayor campaigned on building a publicly owned, full fiber-to-the-home network. Reclaim the Media asks if Seattle will get its broadband 'public option.'

    As Reclaim the Media noted last summer, the main obstacles to moving forward with next-generation fiber to underserved areas in Seattle are (1) money and (2) political will. The city budget remains in slash-and-burn territory this year; next year's budget would be the earliest that the new Mayor would be able to effectively push a significant new priority. This winter, however, Schrier's office will be able to apply for federal broadband stimulus funds to build out the skeleton of a citywide fiber network (possibly in collaboration with Seattle City Light), and to provide actual door-to-door "fiber to the premises" (FTTP) service to underserved neighborhoods in the Central District and Beacon Hill. McGinn's leadership will be key in making this project happen.

    Following through on a public commitment to this vision will ultimately require more than the Mayor's sustained vision and federal funds (assuming those come through). It will require neighborhood activists, local businesses and community organizations to make sure the City Council understands the need for broadband investment.

  • And finally, Chattanooga has been awarded a $111 million grant for its smart grid network. We previously discussed the Chattanooga network that will be utilizing its fiber network for both smart grid and a telecommunications triple-play.

    Harold DePriest, EPB president, said, "With this grant, Chattanooga has the opportunity to become the electric system of the future."

    He said it had been planned to complete the Smart Grid over a 10-year period, but with the federal funds it can be done in three years.

    Mr. DePriest said EPB already has spent $143 on its Smart Grid and will spend a total of about $300 million.