This week on the podcast Christopher talks with Anza Electric Cooperative General Manager Kevin Short, and Network Administrator Shawn Trento.
Anza Electric stretches across 550 square miles in Southern California between San Diego and Palm Springs, sandwiched between the Salton Sea and the San Jacinto Mountains. About 6 years ago they initiated a vote to see whether membership was interested in leadership building fiber not just to electric substations and SCADA systems, but residences as well. When 93% voted in favor, they took it as a mandate. Today, Anza is about halfway done building to their 5,200 members, and getting a 60% take rate.
Though only 47 miles north of Springfield and 96 miles west of Boston, Leyden, Mass. (p.p 800) is one of only a handful of municipalities in the entire Commonwealth that does not have any state routes running through it, similar to the islands of Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard off the southeast coast of Massachusetts. And while Leyden is not a geographical island, it has been a digital outpost barren of broadband. That is until now - with the birth of Leyland Broadband as the town is nearly done with the construction of a 35-mile Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network.
DVFiber, a Communications Union District in southern Vermont representing 20 towns looking to build a Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network to more than 10,000 unserved and underserved households in the region, has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in search of private sector groups interested in a public-private partnership agreement.
The CUD envisions completing all connections by 2024 in two or three phases, with major progress made in the first year. The RFP provides detailed information on member towns for respondents, identifies possible funding identified by its Governing Board, and sets expectations for the resulting network. It sets a deadline for responses of March 26th, 2021.
Marketing plays a pivotal role in the success of community broadband at every stage of the game: from helping build political will during the initial stages of a project, to driving strong early take rates, to maintaining momentum down the road. Thoughtful and cohesive marketing, outreach, and community education efforts go hand in hand, and help broadband initiatives and networks weather the inevitable challenges that go with major infrastructure projects.
The rate of connectivity in Indian Country lags behind the rest of the country. As of December 2018, only 60% percent of Tribal lands in the lower 48 states had high-speed Internet access. A new case study report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance delves into the experiences of four Native Nations — the Coeur d’Alene, the Nez Perce, the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, and the St. Regis Mohawk — as they constructed their own Internet service providers.
It’s February, which means the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) is once again taking applications for the 2021 Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Awards. The deadline is February 12th.
From the announcement:
Named for Charles Benton, the founder of Benton Institute for Broadband & Society, NDIA created the awards to recognize leadership and dedication in advancing digital equity: from promoting the ideal of accessible and affordable communications technology for all Americans to crafting programs and policies that make it a reality.
Last summer, Clarksville, Arkansas (pop. 9,200) began the last step of a municipal Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) build-out with the project already nearing completion. It promises to bring not only faster speeds at lower prices for residents, but spur significant local economic development.
This week on the podcast we’re catching up with what’s been happening in Le Sueur County (pop. 28,000) in southern Minnesota, and path they’re on to turn the region from one of the least connected in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes to one on track to becoming among the most connected in the next couple of years. To do so, Christopher talks with Barbara Droher Kline, a county consultant who helped the county organize the recent broadband efforts.
For communities across the country considering whether to invest in building a municipal broadband network, a new study published last week on the economic value of the EPB fiber network in America’s first “gig city” is a must-read.
The independent study, conducted by Bento Lobo, Ph.D., head of the Department of Finance and Economics at the Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, found that the celebrated city-owned fiber network has delivered Chattanoogans a $2.69 billion return on investment in its first decade.
Local citizens and officials have been moving the needle on the Falmouth Community Network, completing a feasibility with the help of CCG Consulting in December and continuing to pursue public awareness and education efforts in the area. ILSR's Christopher Mitchell joined Cape, Coast, and Islands Radio on Tuesday to talk about the effort and the promises it holds for those who live in the area.
Other guests on the show include:
David Isenberg, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs, Senior Advisor to the FCC's National Broadband Plan, and Board Member of FalmouthNet.
Marilois Snowman, CEO of MediaStruction, a media and marketing firm in the Boston area, V.P. of FalmouthNet, Inc.
In a livestream just before Thanksgiving, Christopher was joined by Althea Networks CEO Deborah Simpier and NetEquity Networks Founder and CEO Isfandiyar Shaheen (Asfi) to discuss an innovative financing model for building Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) with the potential to bring quality broadband connections to the millions of homes around the country that are currently un- or underserved. Best described as a “fiber condominium” approach, it pairs collectively owned network infrastructure with the equity boost that comes with bringing symmetrical gigabit access to residential housing.
A new grant program funded by Truist Bank's philanthropic initiative and administered by the Internet Society will disburse $1 million in funds to seven community broadband projects over the next year and a half. The Expanding Potential in Communities (EPIC) Grant program is currently soliciting applications, with grants to be disbursed to eligible communities across the southeast United States, including Washington D.C. and Texas, ranging from $125,000-180,000. The program is aimed at kickstarting Covid 19 relief efforts but also providing essential, locally owned broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved communities.
From the grant program website:
It's only been 26 days since the dawn of 2021, and somehow it feels like I've aged a relative year in the last four weeks. We've got a lot of exciting projects going on here among the Community Broadband Networks team, but wanted to post a quick update about the Connect This! show. Watch below where Christopher and I talk about what to expect and when. In short, Connect This! will return be returning early in February, and Christopher and Travis will be bringing together a slate of exciting panelists to tackle all the topics we expect to play out in the coming year.
As always, reach out to us at email@example.com with your comments, questions, and ideas for the show.
Conway, Arkansas (pop. 66,000) is in the midst of upgrading its hybrid fiber-coax network, and enjoying phenomenal take rates and pursuing economic development with a strong eye to the future. It has seen a steady increase in usage during the pandemic, and is looking to leverage its infrastructure to fuel an innovation center and downtown data district, bringing jobs and better connectivity for the benefit of all.