This is the transcript for episode 382 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Mel Poole from Ocala, Florida, about the growth and evolution of the city's fiber network. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript below.
Mel Poole: I think for a city our size to be on the leading edge of technology, I think, is fantastic, and I want us to to be the leader in that innovation, if you will.
Lisa Gonzalez: Welcome to episode 382 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I'm Lisa Gonzalez. In October, Christopher attended the Broadband Communities economic development forum in the D.C. area where he had the opportunity to sit down and talk with today's podcast guest, Mel Poole from Ocala, Florida. Years ago, Ocala decided to eliminate leased T1 lines and replace them with city owned fiber. They found that the move has saved millions of dollars and opened doors. That was before Mel's time, but he knows the story and shares it with us, describing how Ocala went from municipal facilities to offering connectivity for county facilities and later to connecting schools, businesses, and residential subscribers. Mel also talks about some of the challenges they've faced, including how demographics affect demand, experimenting with deployment methods to find the best option, and how to make the best use of marketing. Christopher and Mel also talk about some of the economic development stories in Ocala and discuss Mel's vision for the community. Now, here's Christopher with Mel Poole from Ocala, Florida.
Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, live edition. This is Chris Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I'm in Alexandria, which I think is in Virginia — nobody flame me for that — at the Broadband Communities economic development event, and I'm talking with Mel Poole, the director of the Ocala fiber network.
Mel Poole: That is correct.
Christopher Mitchell: All right.
Mel Poole: Good morning. How are you?
Christopher Mitchell: The introduction was too long and I started to forget the title...Read more