Tim Pozar talks with Leo Laporte and Tom Merritt about community broadband, particularly in San Francisco where Tim lives.
A program from the New America Foundation discussing community wireless (including international perspectives) and the digital divide.
Regarding H129: testimony from communities, as well as Time Warner Cable, and groups like "Americans for Prosperity" who believe if private companies don't want to offer you access to the Internet, you shouldn't have access to the Internet.
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Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler counties have joined with fiber-optic cable manufacturer Corning to announce a middle-mile network connecting community anchor institutions, wireless towers, etc. Corning picked up the lion's share of the network, $10 million of the $12.2 million price tag.
Local governments, educational institutions, health care organizations and other commercial/industrial businesses also stand to benefit greatly, said Marcia Weber, Southern Tier Central executive director.
Possible applications include “distance learning” between college campus branches and “telemedicine” between rural clinics and major hospitals, Weber said.
The project has been a top priority for Southern Tier Central in recent years. Weber, who called it “her passion,” was very disappointed when a major federal stimulus grant was narrowly missed last year.
The counties’ share (Steuben, $1.23 million; Chemung, $790,000; Schuyler, $188,000) will fund a non-profit, to be called Southern Tier Network, that has been created to oversee and maintain the network.
The project starts this year and expects to be finished by 2013. In 2014, the project is expected to become self-sustainable -- being funded by the fees it charges for access to the infrastructure.
A fact sheet on the project [pdf] explains the governing structure:
Southern Tier Network is a new not-for-profit, local development corporation (LDC) established to own, build and manage a $12.2 million regional fiber optic backbone that will enable access to the highest speed broadband connectivity available in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben Counties. Articles of Incorporation for Southern Tier Network have been filed with New York State, and a board of directors is in place, comprised of representatives from the three counties and other community stakeholders.
The fact sheet also explains the idea of Middle Mile and Open Access (referencing Axcess Ontario, a similar project funded by Ontario County):
Southern Tier Network will...
Cedar Falls Utilities, an incredibly successful publicly owned cable network in Iowa, is upgrading to FTTH. In these videos, they explain some basics of their system. The final video interviews some subscribers.
Their web site has more information, including a fact sheet and price sheet - they have decided to continue offering asymmetrical connections, unlike most of the modern community fiber networks.
Something for other communities to learn from!
In a bimonthly local show, Burlington City Councilmember Karen Paul discusses City issues. In the recent show, she discussed Burlington Telecom with Gary Evans, the head of Hiawatha Broadband Communications (HBC). Evans has been helping BT get back on its feet after struggling for years. HBC is a private company most notable for strong success in overbuilding cable companies in SE Minnesota as well as running the Monticello FiberNet for the City.
For those who need an update on what is happening to BT since its problems were widely publicized, this is a great place to start.
After a few days of false hope, the Time Warner Cable Monopoly Protection Act, H129, passed the House Finance Committee after being stripped of the amendments that would have allowed communities without access to real broadband to build their own networks.
Faison’s amendment was designed to open the door to someone — anyone – to bring broadband into rural areas of the state. While Time Warner Cable, AT&T, and CenturyLink dawdle, large numbers of rural residents simply go without any broadband service. Faison’s amendment was simple and reasonable — if at least half of an area is not served with 4/1Mbps service, provisions should be made to allow local communities, if they wish, to establish service themselves to get the job done.
Last week, when Faison’s amendment appeared to be headed for incorporation into the bill, industry lobbyists blanched and fled the room, raising vocal objections and demanding a week timeout before a vote was taken. After winning their reprieve, they managed to get the Republican majority in line to throw rural North Carolina under the bus, uniformly opposing Faison’s amendment. Two Democrats, one representing the city where Time Warner Cable’s regional division is headquartered, joined them.
In its place, they substituted a new amendment which defined broadband in the state of North Carolina as any service occasionally capable of achieving 768kbps downstream and 200kbps upstream. That represents “well-served” among these industry-friendly legislators.
This came after an excellent exposé showing Representatives annoyed to be asked why they are pushing Time Warner Cable's bill (to the detriment of every other business and citizen of North Carolina) after taking large contributions from telecommunications companies.
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Others have taken notice as well - see this political cartoon...Read more
Public Knowledge produced and released this video revealing the increasing divide between reality and what opponents of network neutrality claim.