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Content tagged with "lexington ky"
Audio Available: Financing Fiber for the New Economy Conference in Lexington
At a September conference in Lexington, Kentucky, Next Century Cities (NCC) hosted an influential and diverse group of leaders from the municipal broadband arena to share their experiences as leaders in community broadband. Four audio recordings, which you can find on NCC’s website, include panel discussions on a variety of issues surrounding the topic of financing for next generation broadband.
Recording #1: “Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and the Kentucky Wired Story” and Panel Discussion “Federal Support for Broadband Projects”
The first recording begins with Lexington Mayor Gray and the city’s Chief Information Officer as they discuss their ongoing efforts to make Lexington a gigabit city. These efforts are part of a broader initiative also discussed on building a statewide 3,000 mile fiber optic ring. Several Kentucky government leaders make remarks about the project, called Kentucky Wired, including their thoughts about the public-private partnership model that is helping make the project possible.
In the second part of the recording, former Rural Utilities Service Administrator and current Vice Chair of Broadband Communities Hilda Legg, leads a panel of several experts examining funding supports and offering recommendations and next steps for communities.
Recording #2: “Achieving the Last Mile”
Our own Christopher Mitchell, the Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at ILSR and the Policy Director for Next Century Cities, moderates this panel that includes officials who have led municipal broadband initiatives in their communities. These officials share some of the challenges they have faced and solutions they discovered in their efforts to finance last mile infrastructure.
Recording #3: “Exploring Options and Approaches for Broadband Financing”
CLIC to Host Partnership Event at Broadband Communities' September Conference
Is your community considering a public private partnership to improve connectivity for businesses and residents? Will you be attending the Broadband Communities Economic Development Conference in Lexington this September? If you answered 'yes' to those two questions, you should attend CLIC's half-day event on Friday, September 18th.
Spend the morning breakfasting with telecommunication attorney Jim Baller and Joanne Hovis from CLIC along with Maura Corbett, CEO of Glen Echo Group and Heather Gold, CEO of FTTH Council Americas.
The rest of the agenda from a CLIC email invitation:
An Extensive CLIC Paper on the Key Business and Legal Issues in Public-Private Partnerships :
Moderator: Jim Baller - President, CLIC
The Private Sector’s Perspective :
- Elliot Noss - CEO, Ting Fiber Internet
- Bob Nichols - President, Declaration Networks Group
- Levi Dinkla – Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, iTV-3
- Steve Biggerstaff – Founding President, Director & Advisor, Metronet
- Nicholas Hann – Senior Managing Director, Macquarie Capital/Macquarie Group Ltd.
The Public Sector’s Perspective :
Moderator: Catharine Rice - Project Director, CLIC
- Robert Wack - President, City Council, Westminster, MD
- Scott Shapiro - Senior Advisor, The Mayor’s Office, City of Lexington, Kentucky
- Jon Gant – Director, UC2B
Cities in Kentucky and Massachusetts Want a Say In Comcast/Time Warner Cable Merger
As the feds continue to evaluate the wisdom of the Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger, local communities in several states are attempting to throw a wrench in the federal approval machine.
In Worcester, Massachusetts, the City Council recently refused to approve the transfer of the city's cable television license to Comcast. In order to sweet-talk the federal agencies concerned the merger may create too much market concentration, Comcast has worked out a deal with Charter Communications to transfer customers in certain geographic areas. Charter is the current incumbent in Worcester.
According to a Telegam & Gazette article, the City Council does not need to approve the transfer for it to take affect. Nevertheless, the City Council voted 8-3 on October 14 to urge City Manager, Edward M. Augustus Jr., not to approve the transfer of the license. If Augustus makes no determination, the transfer will automatically be approved.
The city can only examine the transfer based on four criteria including company management, technical experience, legal experience, and financial capabilities. Management and poor customer service are the sticking points for Worcester:
District 5 Councilor Gary Rosen said the City Council should not welcome Comcast to Worcester because of its "deplorable and substandard" customer service across the country.
"It's a terrible company," he said. "In my opinion, they should not be welcome in this city. Comcast is a wolf in wolf's clothing; it's that bad. They are awful, no doubt about it. Maybe we can't stop it, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't speak out."
A similar scenario is playing out in Lexington, Kentucky. The community is the second largest city served by Time Warner Cable in the state. They are concerned existing customer service problems will worsen if Comcast becomes their provider.
The Urban City Council drafted two resolutions denying the transfer. The resolutions had first reading on October 9. Customer service is, again, a point of contention.
Lexington Plans RFI for Gigabit Network in Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky, the second biggest city in the state with the second slowest broadband speeds in the nation, has announced plans to issue a request for information for a gigabit network within the next six months. The idea is to gauge interest from private providers in forming a public private partnership and get at least a rough estimate of the costs and benefits of a city-wide fiber optic network.
The Lexington area currently has average download speeds of 16.2 Mbps, which puts it 38th among cities in Kentucky alone. While many in Lexington have been unhappy with slow speeds, poor reliability, and high prices provided by the incumbent Time Warner for years, the local government appeared divided last spring over the potential Comcast-Time Warner merger. Some felt, inexplicably, that service would improve after the second most hated company in America was acquired by the most hated. But others realized the need for competition, and during the course of renegotiating Time Warner’s expiring cable franchise over the last year, city staff have been meeting with private providers to determine how to improve access.
Mayor Jim Gray said he would like Lexington to become a gigabit city, though he stopped short of endorsing a fully public network along the lines of EPB in Chattanooga:
"We're going to be looking for partners who can create competition and who are willing to serve neighborhoods throughout Lexington," Gray said. "Increasing our Internet speed is crucial, but so is tackling the digital divide."
Lexingtonians Consider Municipal Network Options in Kentucky
Community leaders in Lexington are the latest to stand at a fork in the broadband road. In September, the franchise agreement between the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) and Time Warner Cable expired, resulting in a month-to-month agreement continuation. As they negotiate a new contract, local citizens have called for consideration of a municipal network.
When the contract was originally negotiated in the 1990s, the community was primarily interested in cable TV servce. As broadband has become critical infrastructure for residents, businesses, and government, the community's focus shifted. Lexington customers have complained repeatedly about Internet and cable TV service from Time Warner Cable. A February Kentucky.com article noted that local consumers complained over 300 times to Lexington's Urban County Government, the entity responsible for contract negotiations. According to the article:
The biggest single category of complaints was about price and the volatility of monthly rates. Other complaints were that the cable TV service "repeatedly fails, resets or freezes"; that there was an extended wait time and/or "unhelpful responses" in customer service; and that email and Internet "had declined in service" and showed "significantly slower service."
The City Council considered the situation bad enough to debate whether or not to appoint an ombudsman to advocate for Lexington consumers.
The community wonders how the proposed merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast will impact their current service. While the Vice Mayor seems to think it is an "almost golden opportunity" to deal with a different provider, local citizen Roy M. Cornett has a different perspective. He wrote for Business Lexington.com: