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Almost $45 million from the broadband stimulus is heading to OneCommunity, a nonprofit organization in Northeast Ohio (originally named OneCleveland), in order to expand their network across 27 counties.
OneCommunity expects 800 new subscribers -- colleges, hospitals, universities and governmental entities -- to tie into the network.
OneCommunity generally works by expanding middle mile networks through partnerships with other nonprofits as well as the private sector. Learn more about the plans and background of OneCommunity from its press release or their web site.
The nation's newest community fiber network (FTTH) is launching in Salisbury, North Carolina, in the next month. Fibrant, a $29 million project financing by general obligation bonds, is slightly behind schedule but way ahead of the cable and DSL competition.
The City Council has approved the network's pricing in anticipation of hooking up customers in October. Some 70 people have been testing the network, but it will soon be available to everyone in the community. The basic tier of broadband speeds is 15Mbps and they have a second tier at 25 Mbps. The network is capable of much faster speeds but these are the tiers they will start with, making them the fastest basic tier available in North Carolina.
A few weeks ago, the Herald Tribune ran a number of articles about broadband by Michael Pollick and Doug Sword that discussed some community fiber networks and efforts by Counties in Florida to build their own fiber-optic networks.
The first, "Martin County opting to put lines place," covers the familiar story of a local government that decides to stop getting fleeced by an incumbent (in this case, Comcast) and instead build their own network to ensure higher capacity at lower prices and often much greater reliability.
If Seattle moves forward on the Community Fiber Network it has been considering, it will be the largest such network in the nation. However, as we recently noted, progress has been slow. Reclaim the Media recently noted progress toward publicly owned fiber in Edmonds and asked why Seattle is stuck in the mud on the issue.
The City's "Seattle Jobs Plan" devotes a significant mention of a publicly owned fiber network as a smart investment:
Folks around the world, including New York City, are celebrating the open Internet.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment from the broadband stimulus program was its focus on middle mile investments in a bid to avoid overly upsetting powerful incumbent providers who do not look kindly upon competition (something we discussed here). Some claimed that by increasing middle mile options, the private sector will have greater incentive to invest in the next-generation broadband networks communities desperately need. While this is undoubtedly true, it ignores the biggest hurdle facing network deployers: the high cost of building the network. Reducing the operating expenses of a new network by dropping backhaul prices does very little to allow a deployer (private, public, etc) to better afford the high capital cost of building the network. To illustrate, I could greatly improve my vertical but I still would not play in the NBA (apparently, that requires talent also).
The county brought the broadband cooperative in to lease out unused fiber on the county’s 110-mile network, which it built over the past two years. The cooperative will connect business customers with its own members, which include various sizes of Internet service providers that can link the businesses to the network. Prices will vary depending on the service provider and location of the business.
Southwest Review News covered discussions to build a publicly owned fiber I-Net in West St. Paul (a city located, oddly enough, due south of Saint Paul, MN). The estimated cost is $143,000 and will be undertaken in partnership with Dakota County.
Current I-Net services come from Comcast, which recently tried to grossly overcharge Palo Alto for such services.
They are contemplating offering connections to the private sector as well as public institutions:
The infrastructure would put the city in the position of providing connectivity as it would any other utility. Businesses could pay to install connecting lines on their property to the city's fiber, similiar to how sewer and water systems operate.
As I was catching up on some of the good broadband stimulus awards, I came across this Sun Patriot newspaper article about Carver County's award. Carver County, perhaps having learned from its neighbor Scott County (which built a great FTTH network quite economically), will soon operate a broadband network far superior to the expensive leased T1 lines it currently uses. Carver County will receive almost $6 million from the award,
Jackson Energy Authority in Tennessee, long the largest community fiber network in the US, is investing in greater smart-grid capabilities. If you aren't already familiar with this network, an article in Electric Light & Power offers some history:
After receiving local government support and revenue bond issue funding, JEA went ahead with the $54 million project. Now its FTTP network boasts 16,500 cable, 10,843 Internet and 7,000 telephone subscribers. JEA is preparing for the next phase of its FTTP deployment with a smart grid initiative expected to begin in 2010.
The article also makes an important point that many find confusing in understanding the economics of these community fiber networks:
Western Massachusetts' Wired West is an exciting approach to bringing next-generation broadband networks to rural areas. Thanks to Design Nine's news blog for alerting me to this decision.
This is a follow-up to my coverage of Chattanooga's 1Gbps announcement and press around it.
Firstly, I have to admit I was simultaneously frustrated and amused by reactions to the $350/month price tag for the 1Gbps service, like Russell Nicols' "Chattanooga, Tenn,. Gets Pricey 1 Gbps Broadband."
I encourage everyone to call their ISP to ask what 1Gbps would cost. If you get a sales person who knows what 1Gbps is, you will probably get a hearty laugh. These services are rarely available in our communities… and when they are, the cost is measured by thousands to tens of thousands. Chattanooga's offering, though clearly out of the league most of us are willing to pay for residential connections, is quite a deal.
I just spoke with Danna MacKenzie of Cook County and Gary Fields of National Public Broadband (working with Lake County) to find out just how excited they are about yesterday's announcement of broadband stimulus awards. Both Lake and County (separate projects) have been funded to build fiber-to-the-home networks to everyone on the power grid in the region.
They are pretty excited.
In a few years, these North Shore Communities will likely have better broadband options than the metro region of Minneapolis and Saint Paul -- a far cry from the beginning of this year when a single fiber cut stranded the whole north shore.
Chattanooga has announced a new level of service, offering 1Gbps to all subscribers in a unique citywide offering. Chattanooga previously led the nation with a 150Mbps tier. Today has been crazy, and lots is being written about this announcement, so I'll highlight stories and saving adding something interesting until later.
A quick reminder, we recently wrote about their insistence on taking fiber to everyone, rural and urban.
The New York Times started the Choo Choo coverage this morning: