Tag: "transcript"

Posted November 18, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

 

This is the transcript for Episode 436 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher talks with Maureen Neighbors, Energy Division Chief of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, about the state's one-of-a-kind hundred million dollar voucher program, designed and deployed for the current school year to help get and keep economically vulnerable students connected. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Maureen Neighbors: Some of the feedback we get is, "We know we're supposed to use this for school, but this has been great for our household, for other reasons." So there are just so many benefits to providing broadband access, to as many people as possible.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 436 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. This week, Christopher talks with Maureen Neighbors, Energy Division Chief of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs about the state's one-of-a-kind hundred million dollar voucher program, designed and deployed for the current school year to help get and keep economically vulnerable students connected. She tells Christopher how with the help of CTC Energy & Technology, they brought together more than three dozen Internet service providers, connected with school districts around the state, designed an online portal and mailed out tens of thousands of brochures to households with students on the free or reduced lunch program to help those families to start new service or pay their existing broadband bill. Maureen shares the challenges they met and the satisfaction in helping more than 120,000 students stay connected to school during the ongoing pandemic. Now here's Christopher talking with Maureen.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today. I'm excited to talk to someone who's running a one of a kind program. It's a very exciting effort to improve Internet access across the entire state of Alabama. Maureen Neighbors is the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Energy Division chief, and is in...

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Posted November 13, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This is the transcript for Episode 435 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher talks with Catherine Nicolaou, External Affairs and Marketing Manager for Sacred Wind Communications, about the history of the company and how it has used the full array of broadband technologies to bring affordable, reliable Internet access to the Navajo Nation. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Catherine Nicolaou: In our opinion, our Navajo customers have been some of the most pandemic-ready in the country.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 435 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 Catherine Nicolaou, External Affairs and Marketing Manager for Sacred Wind, a rural, local exchange carrier in Northwest New Mexico that has been focused on serving the Navajo Nation communities there. She shares the history of Sacred Wind from buying copper infrastructure from CenturyLink 13 years ago in a region where just 26% of the households had Internet access, to its 400 miles of Fiber infrastructure today, allowing it to bring broadband to more than 92% of those living there.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Catherine tells Christopher how the company has had to rely on the full array of technologies to bring broadband access to families in a large area with particular geographic and topographic challenges from Citizens Broadband Radio Service to TV White Space, to infrared, to fixed wireless and of course, Fiber to the home. They talk about what it means to Sacred Wind subscribers that the provider has never raised prices and the work that's been doing during the pandemic to make sure everyone gets and stays connected. Now, here's Christopher talking with Catherine.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcasts. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today I'm speaking to someone who is quite a bit warmer than me, Catherine Nicolaou, who is the External Affairs and Marketing Manager at Sacred Wind, an ISP in New Mexico. Welcome to the show.

Catherine Nicolaou:...

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Posted November 10, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

 

This is the transcript for Episode 434 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher talks with two members of the city of Sandwich, New Hampshire's Broadband Advisory Committee, Chair Julie Dolan, and member Richard Knox. Julie and Richard share how a grassroots campaign pushed the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative to vote to add broadband to its governing documents, committing to connectivity for its members moving forward. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Richard Knox: Well, that's the thing about a co-op, they are structurally able to be responsive, and sometimes they actually are.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 434 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-reliance. A quick note before we begin, please check out our new show, Connect This!, where Chris hosts broadband veterans and industry experts live on YouTube to talk about recent events and dig into the policy news of the day. Check out our website at muninetworks.org with more details about the show, including an audio-only version of each episode.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: This week on the podcast Christopher talks with two members of the city of Sandwich, New Hampshire's Broadband Advisory Committee, Chair Julie Dolan, and member Richard Knox. They join us to discuss the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative's recent vote to add broadband to its charter. Sandwich is a particularly poorly served town in New Hampshire and they've been seeking solutions for a long time. In organizing around the Electric Cooperative in less than a year, local stakeholders forced a vote and barely lost.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: In doing so, they convinced enough people of the importance of quality Internet access that a second vote at the beginning of October, pushed the co-op into the business. Julie and Richard share with Chris, how it all unfolded and what it means moving forward. Now, here's Christopher talking with Julie and Richard.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-reliance and I'm up in St. Paul, Minnesota....

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Posted November 10, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This is the transcript for Episode 433 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Stacy Cantrell, Vice President of Engineering at Huntsville Utilities in Alabama. They discuss the network's partnership with Google and how it leverages fiber for other utility service to save resources and residents money. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Stacy Cantrell: We're going to continue to see more and more benefit from this now that the build is substantially complete, we're really starting to be able to use it. So we're just now really seeing the benefits from it.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 433 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here, at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Stacy Cantrell, Vice President of Engineering at Huntsville Utilities in Alabama. Huntsville is a large metro area, and Huntsville Utilities serves well beyond the city boundaries. Their municipal electric department built a major network that gets close to every house within the city limits. Providers, of which Google will be the first, can lease that network and attach homes to it. But Huntsville Utilities also uses that network for internal services, bringing value to those living in the city. Stacy shares with Christopher that they just finished the project and would do it again given the benefits they're seeing. Now here's Christopher talking to Stacy.

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. Speaking today with Stacy Cantrell, the Vice President of Engineering at Huntsville Utilities. Welcome back to the show, Stacy.

Stacy Cantrell: Thanks Chris. Glad to be back.

Christopher Mitchell: I think we talked to you many years ago, I'm sure it seems like a lifetime ago, when you were starting this project. And now I'm very excited to get a sense. In the email, I joked that I know it's not over, these things always have something that wraps on. But if you don't mind, tell us a little bit about Huntsville to start and what you're doing down there.

...

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Posted November 10, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This is the transcript for Episode 432 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Ben Fineman, president of the Michigan Broadband Initiative, as well as Jo Anne Munce and Gary Munce, both of whom were essential in the ballot campaign for Lyndon Township's municipal network and who volunteer with the Broadband Initiative. They discuss how the network came into being, its operational partnership with a nearby electric cooperative, and its efforts to continue providing fast, affordable, reliable Internet access. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Ben Fineman: Is it worth it? If I were to go back and had it to do over again, would I have undertaken it, knowing what I know now? I've asked myself that question before. The answer is absolutely because despite everything that goes along with it in all the stress and anxiety and uncertainty, the result is so critical.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 432 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Ben Fineman, president of the Michigan Broadband Initiative, as well as Jo Anne Munce and Gary Munce, both of whom were essential in the ballot campaign for Lyndon Township's municipal network and who volunteer with the Broadband Initiative.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Christopher catches up with what's been going on since the measure passed a little over three years ago. The township owns the network with area electric cooperative, Midwest Energy and Communications, operating it on a day-to-day basis. The group talks about the network's phenomenal 75% take rate, the current state of its debt and how it just increased speeds on two of the service tiers with no additional fees. Lyndon Township serves as a great example of a community that decided to tax itself for a fiber network and are reaping the rewards. Now, here's Christopher talking with Ben, Jo Anne and Gary.

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

Christopher Mitchell with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and I'm in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today I'm speaking with a fine man...

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Posted November 10, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This is the transcript for Episode 430 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Will Aycock, General Manager of Wilson, North Carolina's municipal network, Greenlight, and Rebecca Agner, Communications and Marketing Director for the city of Wilson. They discuss how the network works to connect economically vulnerable households and continues to bring value to the community. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Rebecca Agner: That foundational time was spent, making sure that we had the best network that we could have. That exceptional customer service that they had a chance to make all of that part of the culture of Greenlight. And that really shines through with everything that's being done.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 430 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today on the podcast Christopher welcomes back Will Aycock, General Manager of Wilson, North Carolina's municipal network, Greenlight and Rebecca Agner, Communications and Marketing Director for the city of Wilson. It's been more than two and a half years since we spoken with them and both the city and the network have been busy. Continuing to provide fast, affordable internet to residents while also undertaking a host of projects to strengthen the community and bridge the digital divide. Christopher talks with the duo about what it took for the city to be named one of the 10 best small towns in the country to start a business in 2019, how Greenlight is spearheading efforts to make sure the county's most economically vulnerable residents have options to connect in 2020 and the network's future plans as it approaches paying off its debts in the near future. Now here's Christopher talking with Will and Rebecca.

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 I'm bringing back one of my favorite guests of all time, Will Aycock the General Manager of Greenlight Community Broadband in Wilson, North Carolina. Welcome back Will.

Will Aycock: Thank you Chris. You're too kind...

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Posted November 10, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This is the transcript for Episode 429 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with representatives from Westfield Gas and Electric's fiber arm Whip City Fiber. IT Manager John Leary and Customer Experience, Marketing, and Communications Manager Lisa Stowe for tell Chris how an incremental approach helped the network succeed, and its current activities in helping 20 towns in the region build their own networks. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

John Leary: We're not here to squeeze the nickel out of everybody. We are here to kind of help, to kind of let municipalities grow on their own and flourish.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 429 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Ry Marcattilio-McCracken with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today on the podcast, Christopher talks with IT Manager John Leary and Customer Experience, Marketing, and Communications Manager Lisa Stowe for Westfield Gas and Electric, the municipal utility for the city of 40,000 in the Southwestern quadrant of Massachusetts. Westfield's municipally owned fiber arm, Whip City Fiber, is doing some wonderful things.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: The group tackles two threads during the course of their discussion. First, John and Lisa share their thoughts on the history of the network and what they see as key characteristics of its early success. Whip City embraced a model of incremental build-out in its early years. Managing expectations and pursuing careful growth during its $2 million pilot project before transitioning, thanks to a $15 million municipal bond, to expanding so that today the network covers 70% of the city.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: The group then digs into Whip City Fiber's next phase of life, bringing municipally-owned gigabit Internet to 20, yes, you heard that right, 20 Western Massachusetts Hill Towns over the next few years. With Whip City's help now, and eventual role as Internet service provider and network operator later, nine are already online, with the rest to follow by the end of next year. The group ends by talking about the future, and what it will take to get to 100% coverage in Westfield. And the utility's commitment to closing the digital...

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Posted November 10, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This is the transcript for Episode 428 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Jeff O'Neill, City Administrator of Monticello, Minnesota. They discuss how the network came into being, and the savings being brought to the community today. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Jeff O'Neill: It's almost like we have this service now. It's great, but it's just a fact of life that that's just part of our existence.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to Episode 428 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Jeff O'Neill, City Administrator of Monticello, Minnesota, located on the banks of the Mississippi river in the east central part of the state, with a population of 14,000. Christopher and Jeff talk about FiberNet, which is owned by the city, but operated in a public private partnership. FiberNet and the city have had to weather one of the most significant price wars we've seen with the community network. Spring new investment and price cutting from big incumbent cable and telephone providers. Christopher and Jeff discussed both the costs and benefits of their efforts over the last 14 years and how it's changed the town as well as the residents and businesses in the area. Now here's Christopher talking with Jeff O'Neill.

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. And just up the road from me is Jeff O'Neill from Monticello, Minnesota. Welcome to the show, Jeff.

Jeff O'Neill: Thank you, Christopher. Glad to be here.

Christopher Mitchell: So, you have this saying that I love, but people who see the name of your city will often assume it's Monticello. What is the story with Monticello?

Jeff O'Neill: Well, thanks for that question. Now you're going to get me talking about history, which I love. The city was settled by kind of second generation Americans who came across the Prairie and they're originally from the colonial states and they needed a name for their city and they had that colonial background...

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Posted November 6, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This is the transcript for episode 427 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Lee Brown, president and CEO of Erwin Utilities, to get an update on the Tennessee municipal network since we last spoke with them in January of 2017. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

Lee Brown: And I used to say, we were too small to do this, or we were too small to do that. But I finally realized we're just the right size, just the right size.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 431 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today Christopher welcomes back Lee Brown, president and CEO of Erwin Utilities to talk about what's been going on since we last spoke with them more than three and a half years ago. Erwin is a town of around 6,000 and the County seat of Unicoi County, Tennessee, along the state's Eastern border. The two revisit the success Erwin has seen with an incremental fiber to the home build-out over the last six years, the utility at this point has no debt, and covers the whole town aside from one remaining pocket to be complete early next year. It has expanded into the county bringing affordable 25 megabit per second, and gigabit Internet access to residents and enjoys a take rate of nearly 50%. in 2019, it completed the transition to becoming the Erwin Utilities Authority, which will give it the flexibility it needs moving into the future. In April this year, it connected its 3000th customer.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Lee reflects on the benefits of Erwin's strategic approach to building a fiber network and lessons learned over the last six years. Now here's Christopher talking with Lee Brown.

Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. I'm Christopher Mitchell at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and I'm in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Today. I'm bringing back one of my favorite networks, and we're bringing back a guest we talked to about four years ago, Lee Brown from Erwin, Tennessee, who is the president and CEO of Erwin Utilities. Welcome back to the show

Lee Brown: Thanks, Chris. It's great to be...

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Posted September 17, 2020 by Katie Kienbaum

This is the transcript for episode 427 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher speaks with Air Gallegos and Rebecca Woodbury from San Rafael, California, about how the city built a Wi-Fi mesh network to connect a working class neighborhood in one of the state's wealthiest counties to better Internet access. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript.

 

 

Air Gallegos: ... moms in tears because they can't get their kids online, and all they want is what any parent wants, which is to be able to help their children learn and to be able to help their children succeed. It's not enough to just put up a network and give somebody a Chromebook. We have to do a lot deeper knowledge and a lot more restorative practices around the divides that we've created and harbored over the last decades.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 427 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here, at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. For some of us, COVID-19 has been a disruption, causing hassles with the kids and forcing us to adapt to work from home. But for many others, it's destroying their lives in a host of ways we don't see on a daily basis. Today on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Rebecca Woodbury, San Rafael director of digital services and open government, and Air Gallegos, director of education and career for the nonprofit, Canal Alliance, who together worked with a coalition of dedicated people to quickly build a Wi-Fi mesh network over the summer in response to the pandemic and connect one of the city's most vulnerable populations living in the Canal neighborhood.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Christopher, Rebecca and Air talk about how it all came together, the impacts it's already having, and the forethought that went into the network, including planning for power outages by adding generators to strategic places along the network so that a core of it remains online. Now here's Christopher talking with Rebecca and Air.

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

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