Tag: "sandy or"
In a September 9th speech to the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), Gigi Sohn, Counselor to the Chairman at the FCC, encouraged government officials to build their own networks. She told attendees at the annual conference in San Diego:
Without question, the landscape is changing for local governments, but in a good way. Most significantly, the future is not in cable, but in broadband. Even the cable operators acknowledge this.
Rather than wait for incumbent ISPs to build the network your cities want and need, you can take control of your own broadband futures. Rather than thinking of yourselves as taxers and regulators, which has been the traditional role, you can think of yourselves as facilitators of the kind of services you’ve been begging the incumbents to provide for years.
This is incredibly exciting, and I’m sure somewhat frightening. But the new model for local governments looks to benefit their citizens through externalities, not direct revenues.
Sohn referred to networks in Sandy, Oregon, where gigabit connectivity is available for approximately $60 per month. She also mentioned the increasing role of partnerships like the one between Westminster, Maryland and Ting. Sohn commented on the changing approach at the FCC:
We are making changes of our own at the FCC to reflect the shifting broadband landscape and make sure that we seize the new opportunities and mitigate the challenges. For example, we pre-empted restrictions on community broadband in response to petitions from community broadband providers in Tennessee and North Carolina.
Read more of Sohn's speech online at the FCC website.
Two of the stars from our video on SandyNet in Oregon, join us this week for Community Broadband Bits episode 167. Sandy City Council President Jeremy Pietzold and IT Director Joe Knapp (also SandyNet General Manager) tell us more about the network and recent developments as they finish connecting the majority of the City to gigabit fiber.
We talk about the challenges and lessons learned along the way as they transitioned from running a Wi-Fi network in some areas of town to all areas of town to overbuilding the wireless with fiber optics.
Jeremy also discusses more of a story we recently reported on SandyNet's business services, which are the lowest cost, highest capacity deals we have seen.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show - please e-mail us or leave a comment below.
Thanks to bkfm-b-side for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is "Raise Your Hands."
As Westminster begins serving customers with its new FTTH network and partner Ting, we were curious how many communities are there where a residential subscriber can obtain affordable gigabit access? We estimate the number of networks, large or small, where a majority of residents in a community can obtain gigabit service for $100 or less to be 12. Westminster will be there in a few years.
Update: Russellville, Kentucky; Salisbury, North Carolina; and Wilson, North Carolina, also offer a gigabit, bringing the total number of citywide gigabit networks to 16. On September 1, we added another network that we previously overlooked - CSpire in Quitman and Flora, Mississippi (and soon others).
Municipal citywide, sub $100 gigabit providers:
- Leverett, Massachusetts
- North Kansas City, Missouri
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
- Tullahoma, Tennessee
- Sandy, Oregon
- UTOPIA Cities, Utah
- Russellville, Kentucky
- Salisbury, North Carolina (Fibrant)
- Wilson, North Carolina (Greenlight)
- Paul Bunyan Communications, Minnesota
- Farmer's Telecom, Alabama
- Co-Mo Connect, Missouri
- Google - Kansas City, Provo
- CSpire - Quitman and Flora, Mississippi
- MetroNet - Crawfordsville, Indiana (formerly a muni)
- Burlington, Vermont - (currently privately owned, formerly a muni with future in limbo)
We included municipal networks, cooperatives, and privately owned companies. When considering networks that cover multiple jurisdictions in a single area, we counted it as one (thus Google counts as 1 in KC, Chattanooga is 1 in TN). And we were looking for gigabit networks - not just gigabit download. While we prefer to see symmetrical connections, we accepted 500 Mbps up for our threshold.
We could not identify any cities served by AT&T, CenturyLink, Verizon, Comcast, Cox, or any other similar company where the majority of the community has access to a gig. Those providers tend to cherry pick and even then, their prices are over $100 typically. For example, CenturyLink advertises a gig at $80 but then requires other services and hidden fees that make the monthly bill closer to $150.
SandyNet has introduced some incredible fiber connectivity deals for local businesses. Like residents, businesses can now get gigabit service for $60 per month and 100 Mbps for $40 per month. The utility also continues to offer enterprise connections, with rates established on a case-by-case basis.
Speeds are symmetrical which can be a critical factor for businesses that often must upload large amounts of data to work with clients.
Until SandyNet began to deploy the FTTH network, business customers that needed more bandwidth relied on the town's dedicated Wi-Fi service which offered advertised speeds of up to 30 Mbps download, however, that cost $175 per month.
Smaller businesses could sign up for traditional Wi-Fi - the system residents also used - but speeds maxed out at only 5 Mbps or 10 Mbps download. Prices were $25 per month and $35 per month respectively.
Wi-Fi business customers can now make the switch to fiber for no extra fee. Those that are new customers to SandyNet will need to pay a one-time $350 connection fee.
Hungry for more on the SandyNet story? For more on how they did it, check out our video Gig City Sandy: Home of the $60 Gig. You can also listen our interview with Joe Knapp in Episode #17 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.
For some five years now, many have been talking about gigabit Internet access speeds. After arguing for years that no one needed higher capacity connections, Comcast has finally unveiled its new fiber optic option. And as Tech Dirt notes, it is marketed as being twice as fast but costs 4x as much (even more in the first year!).
We decided to compare the Comcast offering to muni fiber gigabit options.
For more information on the great offer from Sandy, see the video we just released about their approach.
Located at the foot of Mount Hood in Oregon, Sandy's municipally-owned full fiber network offers gigabit Internet service for under $60 to every resident in the city. Sandy is one of the few municipal FTTH networks that has been built without having a municipal electric department.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance released this short video this week about the city’s approach—it should be a model for others who want faster Internet, but remain paralyzed by the big telecom monopoly stranglehold.
City managers, frustrated that they couldn't even get a DSL line in to City Hall started off by building their own wireless and DSL network, beginning in 2001. Today, 60% of the community has already subscribed to the Fiber-to-the-Home network, or is on a waiting list. View the video below, or on YouTube here.
Be sure to check out our report on Sandy, SandyNet Goes Gig: A Model for Anytown, USA.
Back in September, SandyNet announced that its FTTH gigabit network was officially up and running. The utility will continue to expand and eventually bring the network to all 4,000 households. Light Reading recently spoke with Joe Knapp, Sandy's IT Director and general manager of the broadband utility about the new offering. With a population of 10,000, Sandy is in Oregon between Portland and Mount Hood.
The network is completely underground. Sandy is one of many communities that have developed smart conduit policies, reducing the cost and preparing the environment for deployment over a period of years.
You can listen to our discussion with Knapp on Sandy's conduit policy in Episode 17 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. We also spoke with City Manager Scott Lazenby about Sandy's conduit policies during Episode 48.
Like many other communities we study, Sandy invested in connectivity out of necessity. Knapp told Light Reading:
"We started out because we couldn't get a DSL line at city hall," says Joe Knapp, IT director for the City of Sandy and general manager of SandyNet. The utility first built a 900MHz wireless network, then WiFi, then a wireless mesh network to connect residents to broadband, he says. "That became so popular that we took about 40% of the market with wireless, but that was a hard thing to sustain."
The journey to FTTH was not an easy one:
"We started to realize that a lot of communities are doing this," Knapp says. "It took three years of beating my head against the wall to finally get it to happen."
Gigabit speeds are something to boast about, but Knapp says SandyNet will not go to extremes to push them:
"As a muni network, we view this as trying to benefit the community. I tell them to try the 100-Meg service first -- we're actually not pushing the gig that hard."
Pricing for gigabit service is $59.95 per month; 100 Mbps service is...Read more
More communities now embrace "dig once" policies to facilitate installation of future and current networks. The idea is to be mindful of trenching for transportation and utility projects and encourage collaboration between agencies. However, this is implemented in a variety of ways, some more effectively than others. By establishing requirements for conduit installation in development codes, communities can save big dollars if they build or expand a network in the future.
Communities such as Sandy, Oregon, and Mount Vernon, Washington, have instituted such policies. Both communities require private developers to install conduit when disturbing existing roads or building roads for new subdivision construction. Conduit itself is inexpensive and the digging is already done, so the added burden is light.
Both of these communities have plans, including maps, that allow them to be strategic in where they require conduit to be placed. They are not simply adding conduit blindly, though that policy may be better than doing nothing at all (experts are divided on the matter).
In Sandy, the code change (see Sec. 17.84.60) was a simple expansion of existing policy. The city added "broadband (fiber)" to the list of public facilities, such as public water, sanitary sewer, and storm drainage. Underground communication lines join a list of other required improvements that are to be installed in new developments at no expense to the city. Other items on that list include drainage facilities, mailbox delivery units, street lights and a underground power lines. (see Sec. 17.100.310).
Anticipated connectivity raises the value of new homes and makes them more attractive to today's buyers. Scott Lazenby, City Manager in Sandy, spoke to us for a recent podcast and told us how a developer in the area is excited about the potential. SandyNet plans to offer 100 Mbps Gbps residential service via the new conduit at an incredibly low $40 per month; the developer...Read more
At any conference dealing with building broadband networks, one hears talk of open trench policies or "dig once" approaches. For today's episode of Community Broadband Bits, City Manager Scott Lazenby of Sandy, Oregon, joins us to talk about how Sandy has proactively placed conduit underground for fiber use.
We discuss the instances where it is practical and where it is not to place conduit when other utility work has open streets. Sandy has an ordinance requiring new developments to have conduit placed with other utilities at no cost to the city.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show - please e-mail us or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to suggest other guests, topics, or questions you want us to address.
Thanks to Eat at Joe's for the music, licensed using Creative Commons.