Tag: "transcript"

Posted April 13, 2021 by Maren Machles

This is the transcript for Episode 454 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. On this episode, Christopher is joined by Travis Carter (CEO of USI Fiber), Angela Siefer (executive director of National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Olivia Wein (attorney with the National Consumer Law Center) to talk about how the Emergency Broadband Benefit will work and what their expectations are. They discuss who will be able to take advantage of the program and try to predict some of the challenges for the people who need it and the small ISPs that would like to participate. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below.

Travis Carter: In all the years I've been doing this, this is the very first that I've ever seen that I think really has a chance to make a difference. So whoever came up with this, kudos.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 454 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. One component of the recently passed consolidated appropriations act of 2021 was the Emergency Broadband Benefit; a $3.2 billion program designed to get families connected to available service that they otherwise might not be able to afford. The program provides a subsidy of up to $50 a month or 75 on tribal lands for broadband service, as well as up to $100 for a device with a household contribution for as long as the money lasts.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Christopher is joined by Travis Carter, USI fiber, Angela Siefer from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and Olivia Wein from the National Consumer Law Center to talk about how the Emergency Broadband Benefit will work and what their expectations are. They discuss who will be able to take advantage of the program and try to predict some of the challenges we might see both for the people who need it and the small ISPs that would like to participate. Finally, the group weighs in with how providers can forge partnerships with groups like PCs for People to get hardware into homes, the need for digital navigators to help community members navigate the process of getting and staying...

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Posted April 2, 2021 by Maren Machles

This is the transcript for Episode 451 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This week on the podcast, Christopher talks with Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet), Deb Socia (President/CEO, The Enterprise Center), and Brian Worthen (President, Visionary Communications and CEO, Mammoth Networks) to talk about overbuilding. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below.

Brian Worthen: When you say this shows about overbuilding and competition, overbuilding is actually discussing competition.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 451 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Travis Carter, the CEO of US Internet, Deb Socia, the President and CEO of The Enterprise Center, and Brian Worthen, the CEO of Mammoth Networks to talk about overbuilding. The group discusses the importance of reclaiming the term as what it really is: plain old competition. They discuss the economics of building competitive broadband infrastructure in rural and urban areas, pending Washington state legislation, which could unlock the power of the state's utility districts to deliver retail service, and why we don't see more small competitive fiber builders around the country. Now here's Christopher talking with Travis, Deb and Brian.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Today, we're going to be talking about overbuilding and competition, and we're going to be talking about that with Deb Socia, who's coming back for her second episode. Deb is the high president and CEO of the Enterprise Center in Chattanooga. Welcome back, Deb.

Deb Socia: Thanks, Chris.

Christopher Mitchell: We also have Brian Worthen, who's here for the first time, but he's been on the Community Broadband Bits Podcast before. Brian is the almighty CEO of Visionary Broadband. Welcome.

Brian Worthen: Thank you...

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Posted March 31, 2021 by Maren Machles

This is the transcript for Episode 452 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Julie Bushell, President of Paige Wireless and Co-chair of Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force. The two talk about the importance of connectivity when it comes to agriculture and how having a robust rural network can help American farmers thrive in today's industry. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below. 

Julie Bushell: Our goal is to deliver the connectivity to the sensor where it's needed, rather than just saying, "Hey, we've got a network here and if you can connect to it, great and if you can't, sorry."

Ry Marcatilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 452 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcatilio-McCracken here, at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Julie Bushell, president of Paige Wireless and co-chair of the Federal Communication Commission's Precision Ag Adoption and Jobs Working Group. Christopher and Julie talk about the importance of reliable, symmetrical wireless data connections so farmers can deploy devices on farms which communicate across long range wide area network protocols to bring soil probes, combines, grain bins, wastewater management sensors, and other devices online to report conditions back across far-flung fields. They discuss how a robust rural network can support GPS for planting, irrigation and harvest, as well as allow for data aggregation to increase efficiencies and allow mapping and maintenance via real-time drone operations. Finally, Christopher and Julie dig into how more robust connectivity will help make sure high quality jobs stay in the region, giving subsequent generations more incentive to stick around and help America's farms prosper. Now here's Christopher talking with Julie.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today, I'm speaking with Julie...

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Posted March 30, 2021 by Maren Machles

This is the transcript for Episode 453 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. We're joined by Belle Ryder, Orono, Maine Assistant Manager and President of the nonprofit OTO Fiber Coporation to talk about the long fight to bring better Internet access to Orono and nearby Old Town, and the ultimate success. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below.

Belle Ryder: Well, it's like birthing an elephant, painful, it takes a long time to first grow the elephant and then get it out there, but once you are through and on the other side, I think we'll really have something that makes the community stand out.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 453 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Belle Ryder, Orono, Maine Assistant Manager, and President of the nonprofit OTO Fiber Corporation. The towns of Orono and nearby Old Town began their search for better broadband more than 10 years ago, and have overcome an array of challenges in bringing a pilot project to justify future proof connectivity to the surrounding area.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Belle shares the origins of local efforts in the two communities plagued by finding themselves stuck just over the wrong side of just about every line. They were too small to entice private ISPs to commit to upgrading local infrastructure, or investing in new construction that would bring fast connectivity to the region, but too small to finance a city wide network themselves. In looking for funding help, they found that existing options were considered too fast to qualify them for many funding opportunities to improve the technology in the ground. But residents were acutely aware that their broadband options were too slow to do more than the bare minimum to get online.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Christopher and Belle go through the process of issuing multiple RFPs, working through a challenge by local cable providers, which saw one grant win taken away, and OTO Fibers eventual success in showing that not only did households and businesses want better service, but they were...

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Posted March 19, 2021 by

This is the transcript for Episode 448 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. We're joined by Jonathan Chambers, a partner at Conexon, to talk about the recently concluded FCC RDOF auction and the impacts it will have on policy and infrastructure in the near future. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below.

Jonathan Chambers: If we're going to invest the public's money in networks, these are networks that should last decades: thirty, forty, fifty years.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 448, of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This week on the podcast, Christopher talks with Jon Chambers, a partner at Conexon - a network solutions provider for electric cooperatives around the United States, who helped successfully organize a constortium of more than 100 cooperatives to successfuly bid for more than 1 billion dollars in funding from the recent Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction administered by the FCC. The conclusion of the RDOF auction was met with a good deal of drama and uncertainty, leaving many of us working after the fact to understand the policy and practical impacts of its outcomes. Christopher and Jonathan unpack the design and implementation of RDOF not only in the context of the current broadband landscape, but the history of FCC auctions and federal infrastructure subsidy policy. They discuss how the funding will support upcoming projects which will bring fiber networks — many of them owned and operated by electric cooperatives — to hundreds of thousands of Americans over the next decade. But they also talk about the multitude of winning bids that went for a worryingly low percentage of what it will actually cost to build those networks across the country. Jonathan and Christopher discuss why we saw that happen, but also what kind of guardrails we don’t but should have in place to make sure that public money for broadband infrastructure doesn’t go to waste and, equally importantly, so that households in those areas don’t go another decade without a quality Internet connection. Now here's Christopher talking with Jon.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell...

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Posted March 19, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

This is the transcript for Episode 447 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. We're joined by Anza Electric Cooperative General Manager Kevin Short, and Network Administrator Shawn Trento to talk about the cooperative listening to its members and beginning FTTH construction across its footprint. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below.

Kevin Short: When we took this to the membership for a vote six years ago and said, "We're looking at doing this, do you want us to do this?" And we received the biggest return in our history of votes with a 93% approval. We figured it was probably a mandate, and we decided that it was time to build fiber.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 447, of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Anza Electric Cooperative general manager, Kevin Short and network administrator, Shawn Trento. Anza Electric stretchers across 550 square miles in Southern California, between San Diego and Palm Springs. About six years ago, they initiated a vote to see whether membership was interested in leadership, building fiber, not just to electric substations and SCADA systems, but to residences as well. When 93% voted in favor, they took it as a mandate today. Today, Anza is about halfway done, building to their 5,200 members and getting a 60% take rate. Kevin and Shawn share how it came together, and the operational flexibility it provided the electric cooperative, including how it brings redundancy and resiliency to a region vulnerable to wildfires. Kevin and Shawn tell Chris what it's like hooking up households that have never had Internet access before. The reason bid for FCC Ardell funds and the cooperative's plans for the future. Now, here's Christopher talking with Kevin and Shawn.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today I'm talking to two guys that have much better tans than I do. We're going to speak with Kevin Short, who is the general manager at Anza Electric Cooperative. Welcome to the show.

Kevin Short: Thank you Christopher, pleasure to be here....

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Posted March 19, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

This is the transcript for Episode 446 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. We're joined by Barbara Droher Kline of Le Sueur County, Minnesota, to talk about efforts and partnerships to expand broadband there over the last several years. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below.

Barbara Droher Kline: Keep talking, asking elected officials and government people to step up and listen. And we had a hundred percent support on all of our broadband work from every commissioner, every city administrator, every township has voted unanimously to support this stuff.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 446, The Community Broadband Bits podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-reliance. We caught up with what's been happening in Le Sueur County, Minnesota, a few weeks back, and the path we're on to turn the county from being one of the least connected in the land of 10,000 lakes, to one on track to becoming among the most connected in the next couple of years. In this week's episode, Christopher talks with Barbara Droher Kline, the County consultant who helped organize the recent broadband efforts, partly as the result of her experience in moving to the County and being stuck on dial-up, fiber connectivity, right next door. She shares with Chris the history of their recent efforts at bringing area communities together in the rolling hills and river valley of southeastern Minnesota and the resulting partnerships with local Internet service providers to do both fiber and fixed wireless projects. Chris and Barbara end the conversation by briefly discussing the recent rural digital opportunity fund auction and the adverse consequences it's having in places like Le Sueur. Now here's Christopher talking with Barbara.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-reliance in St. Paul, Minnesota. And today I'm very excited to be speaking with another Minnesotan, working in a community that really has figured out a smart approach that we want to share with other people. We're going to speak with Barbara Droher Kline. Welcome to the show.

Barbara Droher Kline: Thank you. Good to be here.

Christopher Mitchell: And I realize as we were talking, I didn't ask you how I should identify...

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Posted February 19, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

This is the transcript for Episode 445 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. Two members from the UTOPIA fiber team join us to talk about network expansion in 2020, and update us on what's been happening. Listen to this episode here, or read the transcript below.

Kim McKinley: In all the years that we've been doing this project, we've been saying we believe this is essential. We believe that this is infrastructure, that we have a role in this and really seeing the conversations switch. You don't have to try to convince people that this is essential anymore.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 445 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This week on the podcast we connect again with UTIOPIA Network's CEO and executive director Roger Timmerman and deputy director and chief marketing officer Kim McKinley. 2020 was a year of explosive growth for what is now UTOPIA's 15-city footprint fueled by unprecedented demand. The network buried 1.7 million feet of conduit and 1.4 feet of fiber cabling driven by 10,000 new installations and over 500 new businesses. Chris, Roger, and Kim talk about the process of bringing new communities online across the state of Utah with member cities hitting revenue marks ahead of schedule and pushing smart city applications to measure and improve air quality, for wildfire detection, and a host of other innovative use cases. Roger and Kim, talk about what the UTOPIA approach means for communities and what they've got in stock for the future. Now here's Christopher talking with Roger and Kim.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Saint Paul, Minnesota. And I went ice skating today, and I love it. It is really great in the winter. People are wrong to [inaudible 00:01:40] reeling about winter in Minnesota. Part of the reason I'm just giddy and getting excited is I'm really excited to talk with our guests today, get the low-down on what's been happening in UTOPIA and Utah. So let me bring back to the show Roger Timmerman, the CEO and executive director for the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency,...

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Posted February 19, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

This is the transcript for episode 444 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher Mitchell speaks with Larry Thompson about broadband funding programs like the USF, and what it means for getting access out to rural areas. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript below.

Larry Thompson: Even AT&T and CenturyLink and people like that actually draw from these funds as well. It's not just the small rural telephone companies. It's actually all companies that provide service to these rural areas. The reality is end-user revenues are not enough to be able to pay for that loop that goes out to that customer's home.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 444 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Larry Thompson, CEO of Vantage Point Solutions, a South Dakota-based company which provides engineering, consulting, and regulatory services for ISPs of all sizes.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: The two talk about how the variety of subsidy and grant programs we've built to get broadband out into rural areas and make sure folks can afford Internet access came about, and the policy changes we're likely to see in the near future to make sure existing networks and new construction remains viable.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: In particular, Larry and Christopher spend time talking about the Universal Service Fund and the National Exchange Carrier Association, and how we come to terms with an increasing need for support in the face of a declining base from which to draw funds.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Christopher and Larry discuss the USF's sustainability as the contribution level nears 30%, alternatives to existing models, and what it will take to commit to fast, affordable broadband for all Americans in the decades to come. Now, here's Christopher talking with Larry.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is the first time I've said that in 2021. It feels good to be back. I'm back today with Larry Thompson, the CEO of Vantage Point. Welcome to Community Broadband Bits, Larry. Thank you for coming...

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Posted February 19, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-McCracken

This is the transcript for Episode 443 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with two representatives from Loveland, Colorado's municipal network to talk about how they've built a network valued by the community that also offers regional utility reliability. Listen to the episode here, or read the transcript below.

Brieana Reed-Harmel: ... If this is truly a community effort and we have the community behind us which I think helps extraordinarily.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 443 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Brieana Reed-Harmel, fiber manager for Loveland Pulse and Lindsey Johansen, marketing and communications manager. The network in the city of 79,000 is just finishing its first year of construction and they share with Chris the history behind the birth of the network back to 2014. They talk about what success would look like in five years, and what it has taken to become a valued local broadband utility for residents of the city. The group talks about what it takes to make the magic work and how they're connecting with Fort Collins and Estes Park to share costs and bring efficiencies to all the municipal networks in the region. Now, here's Christopher talking with Brieana and Lindsey.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Today, speaking with two folks who are probably also looking out their windows at some snow on the ground, I hope. We're going to speak with Brieana Reed-Harmel who is the fiber manager at Loveland Pulse in Colorado, on the Front Range. Welcome to the show.

Brieana Reed-Harmel: Thank you so much, glad to be here.

Christopher Mitchell: And we also have Lindsey Johansen who is the marketing and communications manager at Loveland Pulse. Welcome to the show.

Lindsey Johansen: Yeah, thanks for having us.

Christopher Mitchell: So, for folks who may not be familiar, we have covered Fort Collins which is North of you I think, and done...

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