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Next Century Cities - Community Broadband Bits Podcast Episode 121
Wheeler Praises Lafayette's Network Deployment at NATOA Conference
At the 2014 Annual Conference of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler praised Lafayette, Louisiana, home of muni LUS Fiber, during his keynote address.
Wheeler addressed a variety of issues, including wireless broadband, the drive to increase competition, and a thoughtful transition to IP based 911 service.
While he did not address the pending petitions from Wilson, North Carolina and Chattanooga, Wheeler did express his admiration for LUS Fiber and the tough persistence of the local community:
However, I do encourage you to consider how local choice and competition can increase the broadband opportunities for your citizens. I love the story of Lafayette, Louisiana where the local incumbent fought the city’s fiber network tooth and nail, bringing multiple court challenges and triggering a local referendum on the project. Thankfully, none of the challenges managed to prevent deployment – sixty two percent of voters approved of the network in the referendum, and the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously sided with the city – but they did delay deployment almost three years. When the network was finally built, the community experienced the benefits of competition, as the local cable operator decided to upgrade its network. Local choice and competition are about as American as you can get.
We were pleased to hear the Chairman acknowledge the spirit of the community and how their efforts have paid off. Just this year, the community and its network attracted three new companies and approximately 1,300 new permanent and seasonal jobs. Lafayette has focused on improving its tech workforce in order to complement its next generation network - two critical ingredients to creating the Silicon Bayou.
October Events in Washington State All About Community Broadband
Two events in October will bring Chris and other telecommunications policy leaders to the State of Washington.
On October 8th, the Seattle Citizens' Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board is hosting Lunch & Learn: Chris Mitchell on community-owned networks and municipal broadband in Seattle. The free event will be held in Seattle City Hall at noon; you can register online at the website.
There will also be an evening forum, also located in City Hall, that runs from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. You can still register online for the free evening session, titled Exploring Municipal Broadband in Seattle with Chris Mitchell.
As our readers know, Seattle has pursued better connectivity for some time and the idea of publicly owned infrastructure is not a new idea in the Emerald City. Chris will be presenting his thoughts on the possibility of a municipal network.
The next day, Chris visits Mount Vernon for the Connect with the World event. The October 9th conference focuses on creating a tech friendly environment for economic development, better educational opportunities, and improved healthcare. The full agenda [PDF] is available online and registration is still open. The program runs from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Skagit Valley College.
Mount Vernon's open access network provides an infrastructure for several ISPs. The network slashes the community's telecommunications costs and attracts employers in fields such as healthcare, aerospace, and engineering. The network also serves the communities of Burlington and the Port of Skagit.
SHLB Coalition Offering October Symposium on Anchor Institution Broadband Deployment
On October 2nd in Washington, D.C., the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) will be hosting a symposium on "School-Library Partnerships and Other Anchor Institution Broadband Strategies." Speakers will include FCC representatives, Obama Administration officials, and service providers such as One Community, among others.
The SHLB Coalition is a group of public, nonprofit, and commercial institutions that "promotes government policies and programs to enable schools, libraries, health care providers, other anchor institutions and their communities to obtain open, affordable, high-speed, broadband connections to the Internet."
For more details and registration information, see the attached flyer.
Broadband Communities Economic Development Conference September 16 - 18
Join Chris in Springfield, Massachusetts for the Community Fiber Networks conference in September. The meet-up is part of Broadband Communities Magazine's Economic Development series; Chris will present at the event. The conference will run September 16 - 18 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel.
Jim Baller, Conference Chairman and Principal at the Baller Herbst Law Group notes:
During the last fifteen years, thousands of communities across the United States have sought to attract or develop advanced communications networks, recognizing that such networks can provide them and the nation multiple strategic advantages in the increasingly competitive global economy. In virtually every case, fostering robust economic development has ranked at or near the top of the list of considerations motivating these communities.
Broadband Communities chose Springfield because there are multiple projects in the region, including MassBroadband123, Leverettnet, and Holyoke.
You can register online for the event and check out the agenda to plan your weekend.
U.S. Conference of Mayors Passes Resolution to End State Barriers
On June 22, Mayors from around the country gathered at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 82nd Annual Meeting. Members of the Standing Committee on Transportation and Communications voted to combine Resolution #115 "Net Neutrality" and #114 "Preserving a Free and Open Internet."
Resolution #115 was of particular interest to community broadband advocates because it called on the FCC to preempt state laws erecting barriers to local authority.
The final product, officially approved by the USCM, retained the language supporting Chairman Wheeler's intention to help smooth the road for publicly owned networks:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the US Conference of Mayors recommends that the FCC preempt state barriers to municipal broadband service as a significant limitation to competition in the provision of Internet access.
Local Leaders to Vote on State Preemption Resolution at U.S. Conference of Mayors
The 82nd Annual Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) will be voting on resolutions this weekend in Dallas. It's time for you to call your Mayor and tell him or her to support Resolution #115 on Network Neutrality and restoring local authority on Internet infrastructure.
The Resolution (page 293 of the Resolutions list) recommends that the FCC pre-empt state laws that preempt local authority over local investments and partnerships to expand Internet access. The net effect is to restore local authority. The Resolution also recommends the agency reclassify broadband Internet service as Telecommunications Service under Title II.
This is a perfect opportunity for local community leaders to express their constituents' demand for authority to control their broadband destiny.
The Mayor of Madison, Paul Soglin, introduced Resolution #115. Is your Mayor attending the conference?
Act now - the conference ends June 23!
"Connect With the World" in Mount Vernon on October 9
Plan on spending Thursday, October 9 in Mount Vernon, Washington. Chris will speak with three other experts on creating a local environment attractive to the tech industry.
The "Connect With The World" event will occur at Skagit Valley College's MacIntyre Hall from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. PDT. Other speakers will be:
Mark Anderson: One of FORTUNE's “100 Smartest People We Know,” Mark is a frequently sought after speaker around the world. His long- running weekly newsletter, Strategic News Service (SNS), counts a stellar readership, including the likes of Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Susannah Malarkey: Executive Director of the Technology Alliance, a statewide organization of leaders from technology businesses and research institutions dedicated to Washington’s long-term economic success.
Craig Settles: Municipal broadband expert for journalists at CNN, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time Magazine and a host of business, technology and local media outlets.
Mount Vernon's municipal open access fiber network serves public entities and businesses within the City, in nearby Burlington, and in the Port Skagit area. The community began the project in 1995 and developed the network incrementally. We spoke with Kim Kleppe, Information Systems Director, and Jana Hansen, Community & Economic Development Director, in episode 38 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.
For more on the event, contact Jana at (360)336-6214 or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Localism Over Consolidation: An Exploration of Public Broadband Options" May 28th at New America Foundation in DC
New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute will host "Localism Over Consolidation: An Exploration of Public Broadband Options" from 9:30 - 11 a.m. on May 28th. Chris will be participating in the discussion; if you can't make it to DC, the event will be live streamed.
Conversation will focus on different approaches to improve connectivity and community strategies to make those approaches successful.
From the event page:
Today, more and more communities are thinking of broadband as a local issue. Even large cities like Baltimore, Seattle and Los Angeles have recently begun public discussions about ways to improve broadband services and what role the local government could play in that improvement. Current technology policy debates about net neutrality and the potential Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger mean it is more important than ever that local governments play a more active role in ensuring their communities do not get left behind in the digital age.
- Joanne Hovis,President, CTC Technology & Energy, @joannehovis
- Will Aycock, General Manager, Greenlight, Wilson, NC, @greenlightnc
- Catharine Rice, President, SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SEATOA), @seatoa
Sarah Morris, Senior Policy Counsel at the New America Open Technology Institute will moderate. You can sign up for the event and livestream on the 28th at the event page.
2014 Mountain Connect Rural Broadband Conference: Visit Colorado June 8 - 10
If you can make it to Vail in early June, you can enjoy more than the summer mountains. The Mountain Connect Rural Broadband Conference is scheduled for June 8, 9, and 10 at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa.
From the conference website:
This year our conference theme is “Progress through Education” and it’s our hope that, through our conference topics and speakers, we explore lessons learned and alternative ideas to successfully implement rural broadband initiatives. For the first time in our MountainConnect history, we are soliciting voices from around the U.S. to broaden our knowledge base and, in some ways, take us down a path we have yet to travel.
Topics include economic development, fiber and wireless communities, telehealth, education, digital media consumption trends, and legislation.
Speakers include a long list of familiar names from private industry, education, and public policy.
Chris will be moderating a panel on community networks on June 9th at 4 p.m. You can check out the full agenda online to plan your visit.