Case Western Reserve University, one of the original partners in the OneCommunity Project, lit up a 1 Gbps network in a poorly served neighborhood near campus. This video explains some of the uses they have found thus far.
The Port Authority of Medina County, Ohio, has successfully bonded $14.4 million to take advantage of a broadband stimulus award to build a fiber-optic network connecting community anchor institutions and businesses with better broadband.
Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, said Dec. 17 that a bond consultant had just completed sale of the bonds at an average interest rate of 5.96 percent. Cash from the bond sale was expected to be in the hands of the Medina County Port Authority by the end of the year and a fiber lighting ceremony to kickoff the construction phase of the project is planned for March or April. Dentler said the port authority, which will own the network, plans to pay off the bonds over the next 20 years with fees charged to customers of the fiber network.
The nonprofit organization OneCommunity will build and presumably operate the network, which will be owned by the County. Being located in close enough proximity to work with OneCommunity appears to be a terrific advantage for communities who make investments in broadband infrastructure. The $1.4 million in stimulus funds aiding this project were a part of the larger award given to OneCommunity as part of their efforts to better wire 20 counties in Ohio.
The 2011 Smart21 ... highlights communities from 12 nations and includes 7 that appeared on last year’s list. Two communities, Issy-les-Moulineaux and Northeast Ohio, returned to the list after a 1-2 year absence. There were two Chinese, one Indian and one Australian communities on the list, as well as six from the USA, four from Canada and one each from the UK, France, Hungary and Brazil.
As usual, the list of US Communities that made the list is dominated by communities that have taken greater responsibility for their broadband infrastructure. Chattanooga was on the list (how could it not be?) with its 1Gbps community fiber network that we have covered.
Dakota County, Minnesota, is on the list and was a pioneer in county-owned fiber and conduit. For some reason, ICF is under the mistaken impression that the county has been well served by commercial providers… as my parents live in the County as well as a number of friends, I strongly disagree.
Danville, Virginia, has built an open access fiber network for local businesses and plans to expand it to residents (our Danville coverage).
[T]he city-owned electric utility launched the nDanville open-access fiber network to bring world-class connectivity to business and government. Danville (a 2010 Smart21) developed the fiber infrastructure – now 125 miles in length – while leaving it to private-sector providers to deliver services. With all government and school facilities plus 150 businesses on the network, it is now financially self-sustaining. The city partnered with county government to develop a business incubator and with Virginia Tech to build a new research institute.
Dublin, Ohio, has done quite a bit of public investment for their network infrastructure needs:
A strategic planning exercise led Dublin to install underground conduits to encourage fiber-optic deployment. This became DubLink, a public-private fiber network for business, government and schools, which spurred aggressive roll-out of e-...
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.
KMOX, a station from St. Louis, recently asked what Ohio's OneCommunity did correctly in building a regional broadband network. The article is interesting for some background on OneCommunity, but the discussion of what St. Louis attempted is somewhat lacking (and the reporters appear to have little expertise in broadband).
OneCommunity is a successful nonprofit approach to expanding broadband access by working with various entities - sharing the resources of public entities as well as private carriers to the benefit of everyone. However, its results are somewhat less predictable than the admittedly more top-down approach of a local government-run initiative that can ensure everyone in a community gets a certain kind of connection. On the other hand, OneCommunity is more insulated from the fluctuations of everyday politics that can hurt or slow projects operated by a local government, depending on the structure (remember, structure is defined by rules ... and rules matter).
My impression is also that OneCommunity has been tremendously successful in securing broadband for middle mile and large institutional needs, but its approach at solving the last-mile problem has been hit-or-miss depending on the community. By lowering the cost of backhaul, the private sector may be more interested in building those last-mile connections, but residents do not get the full benefits of service from a provider that puts community needs above profits.
OneCommunity started in Cleveland with the idea of collecting spare or unused broadband capacity (often using assets after the dotcom bust) and putting it to use.
Along with a variety of other key community anchors, the network connects some 65 hospitals in all.
"We're allowing point of care treatment through remote specialists that actually allow, not only a triage of patients in the emergency room, but actually direct treatment and diagnosis on site in real time from a third-party specialist located in another institution."
OneCommunity's network is sufficiently large that these hospitals can connect directly to each other rather than each connecting to the larger Internet to send information amongst themselves. Just as in Lafayette, where all in-network connections occur at 100Mbps, OneCommunity can offer...Read more
The Baller Herbst Law Group filed an extensive report with the FCC detailing important information about OneCommunity - a fascinating nonprofit organization connecting many communities with fiber and wireless connectivity in Ohio. OneCommunity works with a variety of public and private sector partners to expand access to last mile and middle mile connectivity. Because they fall within our broad definition of putting public needs first, I wanted to highlight this report.
OneCommunity’s roots go back to 2001. At the time, Case Western Reserve University (Case) had a robust fiber-optic communications system and considerable networking expertise, but the rest of Cleveland lacked advanced communications capability. Case’s president, Edward Hundert, and its chief information officer, Lev Gonick, believed that broadband connections to the Internet promised to be a major factor in the local economy’s long-term health; that broadband could transform Northern Ohio from a manufacturing-based to an information-based economy; and that Case could play a profoundly beneficial role in enhancing Cleveland’s broadband future. As a result, Hundert and Gonick reached out to several of Cleveland’s leading government, educational, cultural, philanthropic, and other non-profit organizations and persuaded them to join Case in founding a new entity called “OneCleveland” that would provide gigabit connectivity to participating organizations and pave the way for widespread and free wireless service.
OneCleveland expanded far outside the City and changed its name to OneCommunity. It has already tallied an impressive list of achievements:
In the Northern Ohio region, OneCommunity facilitated public and private arrangements for the deployment of a gigabit-capacity fiber-optic community network, soon spanning 22 counties and now serving over 200 subscriber entities and 1,500 schools, hospitals, clinics, government, and public safety locations. Over one million citizens are affected by the organizations that OneCommunity serves through the network.
The network is open and carrier neutral, but so much more. Read the paper -- and appendixes -- for more information. PS : I should note that I disagree with the conclusion:
OneCommunity is not attached to any particular ownership model for broadband infrastructure, believing...
Some shorter news items from this weeks' news:
Salisbury may be a great example of just how a community should build a network. They have opened many chains of communication with citizens to keep everyone involved in the process:
To get the message out about their fiber-to-the-home cable utility now under construction, Salisbury city officials already have conducted radio, newspaper and magazine interviews.
The city also hopes to provide daily "fiber" updates on its blog (www.salisburyftthblog.com) and have a continuing newspaper advertisement called "Straight Talk about Fiber" in the Post.
Any community considering the hard path of building one of these networks should take note of how Salisbury is ensuring citizens know what is happening and why this network is important to the city's future.
Clarksville Department of Electricity (CDE) Lightband creates local careers as they roll out the FTTH network that will deliver triple play services. They also have a spiffy video:
This video is no longer available
The success in and around Cleveland demonstrates not only the benefits of Smart Infrastructure, but also the reality that local communities are best equipped to implement today's fundamental need for infrastructure that empowers innovation.
He expands on those thoughts in a post on the Community Connections blog.