Palmdale, California is considering a proposal from SiFi Networks to become a FiberCity. The project would see $600 million from the private infrastructure builder to construct 800 miles of fiber and lease it on an open access basis, as well as provide the infrastructure necessary for smart city applications and 5g.
Tag: "broadband communities magazine"
Another year of the Broadband Communities annual summit is behind us, and it’s worth revisiting the most salient moments from the panels that touched on the wealth and variety of issues related to community broadband regulation, financing, and expansion today and in the future. We weren’t able to make it to every panel, but read on for the highlights.
Last Mile Infrastructure and the Limits of CARES Funding
The first day of the program saw some heavyweight sessions from Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) on last mile digital infrastructure. For communities at all stages of broadband exploration and investment — whether exploring an initial feasibility study, putting together an RFP, or already planning for the future by laying conduit as part of other projects — partnerships dominated the discussion, with timing and debt also serving as common themes.
ILSR’s Christopher Mitchel helped kick off the conference by moderating the first panel in the Rural/Editor's Choice track, and was joined by Peggy Schaffer from Maine's Broadband Office (ConnectME), Monica Webb from Internet Service Provider (ISP) Ting, and Roger Timmerman, CEO of Utah middle-mile network UTOPIA Fiber.
The group discussed the open access models to start, and the benefits that could be realized from two- or three-layer systems. UTOPIA Fiber has seen some explosive growth and spearheaded significant innovation recently as it continues to provide wholesale service to ISPs that want to deliver retail service on the network. Ting, which recently signed on to be one of two providers on SiFi Network’s first FiberCity in Fullerton, California, also acts as an example of what can happen when we break away from thinking about infrastructure investment and Internet access as one-entity-doing-it-all.
The relative merits of wireless (both fixed and small cell) generated a lively discussion, with the panelists talking about advances to the...Read more
This year’s Broadband Community Summit has gone digital to adapt to the ongoing public health crisis, but will still offer a wealth of information on and seasoned experts speaking to all sorts of topics relevant to community broadband networks. It runs this week from Tuesday to Friday, and interested parties can register here.
Something for Everyone
Note that the Coalition for Local Internet Choice program has two panel sessions on partnerships of all colors and one on federal and state incentives on the first day of the summit. Other topics include:
- Public-Private and Public-Public Partnerships
- Funding Opportunities
- Broadband Mapping
The program also features a wide-ranging list of industry folks, equipment manufacturers, consultants and legal advisors, and others experts. See the full list here, but some notable names include:
- Deb Socia — President CEO, The Enterprise Center
- Roger Timmerman — CEO, UTOPIA Fiber
- Jim Baller — President, CLIC
- Dorothy Baunach — CEO, DigitalC, Cleveland, Ohio
- Matt Dunne — Founder and Executive Director, Center on Rural Innovation
- Ben Fineman — President & Co-Founder, Michigan Broadband Cooperative
- Nancy Werner — General Counsel, National Association of Telecommunications Officers Advisors
- Dr. Christopher Ali, PhD — Assistant Professor, Department of Media Studies, University of Virginia
What is Chris Up To?
Our own Christopher Mitchell will be moderating two sessions — one on last-mile infrastructure, and another on municipal broadband success stories. The first, on Tuesday from 11:20a-12:15p:
Last Mile Digital Infrastructure: Ownership models are evolving. Who will play the lead role in constructing? What entities, including cities, will own digital assets? Who will manage the networks?
Roger Timmerman — CEO, UTOPIA Fiber
Monica Webb — Director of Market Development and Government Affairs, Ting Internet...
In the city of Fullerton, California (pop. 140,000), privately owned infrastructure builder and operator SiFi Networks has turned on the first section of what will be a city-wide, open access Fiber-to-the-Home network. The project makes Fullerton SiFi’s first FiberCity — a privately built, financed, and operated open access network it plans to duplicate in more cities across the country in the future. When complete next fall, the Fullerton FiberCity network will pass every home and business in the city, with the company's subsidiary, SiFi Networks Operations, selling wholesaling capacity to as many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as want to enter the market.
A Different Approach
SiFi’s FiberCity model remains somewhat unique in the United States, and is much more common in Europe and Asia. CEO Ben Bawtree-Johnson attributes their success to cracking the economic code for private investment in open access information infrastructure, which has seen more attention in recent years as investors and fund managers have seen opportunities. “[O]ur vision really is to create as many last-mile fiber optic networks as we can across the USA in a long term sustainable fashion,” Bawtree-Jobson remarked on an episode of the podcast last fall. “[W]e're all about long term, dry, low yielding, risk mitigated investments, so everything we do is based around 30-year plus type investments.”
Fullerton, according to SiFi, was an ideal candidate for its first FiberCity because it applied to be one of the original candidates (though not chosen) for a Google’s fiber program, begun in 2010. The company sees it as sitting in the Goldilocks’ zone in terms of size and population. Construction started last November, and currently consists of around 600 miles of fiber all underground via microtrenching. Nokia serves as the main equipment partner on the project.
Turning on the Lights
The first residential customers...Read more
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s (ILSR’s) Community Broadband Networks initiative is honored to be recognized as one of the top 100 Fiber-the-the-Home (FTTH) leaders by Broadband Communities magazine.
Broadband Communities publishes its annual Top 100 FTTH list to acknowledge the contributions that these companies and organizations have made to the fiber optic industry. “‘Building a Fiber-Connected World’ is the tagline of Broadband Communities magazine, and each year the FTTH Top 100 list recognizes organizations that lead the way in this endeavor,” the publication explained. In addition to ILSR, awardees include fiber vendors, network operators, business consultants, and broadband engineers.
MuniNetworks and Community Networks Make the Mark
In the list entry for ILSR, Broadband Communities said:
ILSR’s publications, including its MuniNetworks.org blog, toolkit and weekly podcast that covers broadband and more . . . have shown communities that controlling their broadband destinies is feasible and has the potential to improve local economies and quality of life.
Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative, commented on the award:
We are honored to be once again named to Broadband Communities' Top 100 — the Broadband Communities publications and events have been essential in expanding community network approaches throughout North America. We could not have built our platform without their events and research over the many years we have worked together.
Broadband Communities recognized a select few community broadband networks in the FTTH Top 100, including UTOPIA Fiber, an open access fiber network serving more than a dozen Utah communities, and Co-Mo Connect, the broadband subsidiary of Missouri electric cooperative. The list also identifies a number of consultants that frequently work with municipalities and/or cooperatives, such as CCG Consulting, Conexon, and Finley Engineering.
View the full list. The current edition of the Broadband Communities magazine is...Read more
Broadband Communities Mag has celebrated the unsung heroes of community broadband by sharing their stories so others can learn from local challenges and victories. This autumn, travel to Washington, D.C., to get noisy about those places implementing better connectivity in their communities without fanfare. October 30 and 31, Broadband Communities will bring several to their conference in a panel hosted by Christopher. There’s still plenty of time to sign up for the conference, and put the conversation, “Quiet Success in Community Broadband,” on your schedule.
Register here for the conference. Public Officials and Community Representatives receive a discounted rate of $175.
In the Nation’s Capital
This year’s conference, titled “High-Speed Broadband: Driving America’s Growth,” will take place in Washington, D.C. Organizers decided to hold the event at The Westin Alexandria Old Town in the D.C. metro because, “We believe the federal government must play a pivotal role in bridging the digital divide. The involvement of Washington lawmakers and policy-setters is crucial to solving the problem.”
Folks arriving on October 29th can get acquainted at a welcome reception that evening; panel discussions begin the following morning. Christopher’s panel, scheduled for 9:40 a.m. on October 30th, brings together officials from four networks that aren’t usually on the front page:
- Jason Grey – Director of Utilities, City of Danville, Virgnia
- Robert Bridgham – Executive Director, Eastern Shore of Virginia Broadband Authority
- Richard J. Sherwin – CEO, Spot On Networks, LLC
- Mel Poole – Director, OCALA Fiber Network
The discussion will be an opportunity to learn about approaches that these quiet heroes are taking to improve connectivity in their communities.
View the other panels, presentation topics, and speakers on the conference agenda.
Are you still considering whether or not to attend this spring’s Broadband Communities 2019 Summit in Austin on April 8th, 9th, and 10th? We thought we’d share more information about Christopher’s panels so you can see what you will be missing if you decide to stay home.
Register online for the Summit.
Lessons Learned and Shared
Learning about what communities did that worked and what didn’t work is one of the most valuable aspects of the Summit. On April 10th, at 10 a.m., Christopher heads up a discussion with folks from four different communities across the U.S. to discuss what they learned in deploying their publicly owned fiber networks. Each of these communities faced adversity and found a way to change course to turn difficulty into positive outcome:
One of the challenges of evaluating capital-intensive local broadband projects is that they typically lose money in their early years. Come learn from four communities that have overcome significant challenges – and learned invaluable lessons along the way.
Participating on the panel will be:
- Dan Patten from MINET
- David Post from Salisbury, NC
- Roger Timmerman from UTOPIA Fiber
- Angela Imming from Highland, IL
More From Christopher
Don’t forget about the special program offered the afternoon of the first day of the conference by the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC). There will be several conversations that focus on local authority. Christopher will participate on a panel hosted by Joanne Hovis from CTC Technology and Energy and CEO of CLIC. The topic, “The States and BDAC: What it Means for Local Internet Choice,” will address the tension between state and local authority, including recent advancements for local communities. They’ll also discuss the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) and...Read more
April will be here before you know it, and with the spring comes the 2019 Broadband Communities Summit. This year’s event will be held in Austin, Texas, April 8th - 11th at the Renaissance Hotel. The theme is “Fiber: Putting Your Gigs To Work.”
Special CLIC Program
As in prior years, the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) will host a special program during the afternoon of the first day of the summit. “An Action Plan for Local Internet Choice in 2019 and Beyond” will focus on the policies, the politics, and the people that can lead to better connectivity for local communities.
CLIC will host three panel discussions that address federal developments, the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC), and nonpartisan approaches to managing the politics of local broadband initiatives. Christopher will speak on this last panel that aims to address lessons learned and recommend strategies that have worked to bring better connectivity to local communities.
Christopher will also appear on panels addressing economic development, including “Broadband at the Crossroads: Our Experts Weigh In.” He’ll also moderate “Lessons Learned From Turn-Around Communities,” a panel that will host Dan Patten from MINET and David Post from Salisbury, North Carolina.
Susan Crawford Keynote
If you haven’t yet read Susan’s latest book, you still have plenty of time before April’s summit. On April 11th, she will deliver the Keynote Address to discuss her findings as she researched for Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution — And Why America Might Miss It:
That’s the title of fiber broadband champion and Harvard Law School professor Susan...
In September, we told you about the upcoming 2018 Broadband Communities Economic Development Conference set for October 23rd - 25th in Ontario, California. “Fiber For The New Economy” will bring a long list of creative, intelligent, and driven thought leaders together to discuss the infrastructure we all need. Those of us from the Community Broadband Networks Initiative also know of one attending speaker who describes himself as “giddy” — Christopher.
“James Fallows is a great thinker on infrastructure. I’m giddy to hear him speak. People should definitely come,” said Christopher during one of his many visits into the Community Broadband Networks Research Team office, “Giddy!”
James Fallows, a National Correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly, has reported from all over the world. He’s written 12 books, including his latest that he wrote with his wife Deborah, titled, Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. He’s won several awards for his writing, including the National Book Award, National Magazine Award, and a documentary Emmy. He’s provided commentary pieces for NPR and spent time as a chief speech writer for President Jimmy Carter.
Deborah Fallows has also written for the Atlantic. Her CV includes National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, and the Washington Mostly and three books. Deborah is a linguist as well as a writer, reflected in her works.
The Fallows are only two of a distinct line-up of experts, policy leaders, and creative leaders. Several of the speakers and panelists have been guests on the Community Broadband Bits podcast. Some of the others who will present and participate include:
- Jonathan Chambers from Conexon
- Michael Curri of Strategic Networks Group
- Joann Hovis from CTC Energy and Technology
- Diane Kruse of NEO Connect
- Jase Wilson from Neighborly
- Catharine Rice from CLIC
Check out the full list of speakers and panelists here.
See A Giddy Christopher
Look for Christopher, who will be participating in the Blue Ribbon Panel Session along with Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee from the Brookings Institution and Will Rhinehart from the American Action Forum. Lev...Read more
The next event attracting broadband, tech, and policy experts is coming up in October in Ontario, California. The 2018 Broadband Communities Economic Development Conference, titled “Fiber For The New Economy,” is set for October 23rd - 25th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Ontario Airport.
Register now and, if you qualify, receive a special Government Rate for your hotel. A special block of rooms are reserved for conference attendees until October 1st.
View the agenda to see all the details about the program.
Keeping Up With Ontario and More
Speakers and panel participants will examine what’s happening in urban and rural areas, including municipal projects, work by cooperatives, and partnerships. Scott Ochoa, Ontario’s City Manager, will deliver the Welcome Keynote address to be followed by a panel discussion about the city’s fiber network and how community leaders are using it to advance economic development. BBC Mag’s Masha Zager will lead the panel.
Authors James and Deborah Fallows will provide a Keynote address and Christopher will participate in the Blue Ribbon Session along with Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee from the Brookings Institution and Will Rhinehart from the American Action Forum. Along with panel leader Lev Gonick, CIO from Arizona State University, they’ll discuss some of the top issues that link high-quality connectivity to economic development, jobs, and digital inclusion. We expect to see a lively debate at this panel discussion.
Later in the conference, Christopher will also be participating in other conversations, including heading up a panel on the increasing activity of cooperatives and how they're bringing broadband to rural areas.
So Much, So Many Smart People
For the next three days, attendees will be able to select from a range of discussions and presentations, such as:
- Funding sources
- Healthcare and broadband
- Encouraging entrepreneurs
- Cooperatives and deployment
- Real estate and fiber optic networks
- Business models
Check out the rest of the...Read more