Tag: "transcript"

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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Posted September 10, 2020 by Katie Kienbaum

This is the transcript for episode 426 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher interviews Jamie Letzring and Dave Lyons about West Des Moines, Iowa's citywide conduit project and the announcement that Google Fiber is coming to the city. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript below.

 

 

Jamie Letzring: You really can't go wrong when the idea is that you're trying to offer your residents best price, best speed, competition for your business. It just feels like a real slam dunk for everyone.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 426 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Jamie Letzring, Deputy City Manager for West Des Moines, Iowa, and Dave Lyons, a consultant with the city. Together the group digs into how the city started with a long-term vision called West Des Moines 2036. That, in part, brought local leaders together to discuss universal high-speed Internet access as a path to equity, economic vitality, and citizen engagement. Jamie and Dave shared the challenges that came with a rapidly congesting right-of-way landscape and how that ultimately led to the decision to commit to a citywide conduit model that has attracted Google Fiber. Now, here's Christopher talking with Jamie Letzring and Dave Lyons.

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 folks from West Des Moines, which has a very interesting model. We're going to get down to how it came about, and how it developed, and how it works. With that I'm going to introduce Jamie Letzring, the Deputy City Manager from West Des Moines. Welcome to the show.

Jamie Letzring: Good morning. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Christopher Mitchell: Thank you. We also have Dave Lyons, a consultant with the city of West Des Moines. Welcome.

Dave Lyons: Thanks, Christopher.

Christopher Mitchell: So, I want to just briefly tease that we're going to be talking about a very...

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Posted September 4, 2020 by Katie Kienbaum

This is the transcript for episode 425 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher Mitchell speaks with three people from Chattanooga, Tennessee, about the community's new plan to connect all school children who receive free and reduced lunch to free Internet access from EPB Fiber for the next 10 years. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript below.

 

 

Jill Levine: You know we're evolving. And I think there's sort of a different future because we're figuring out what blended learning looks like.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 425 of the community broadband bits podcast. This is Ry Marcattilio-McCracken here at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Jill Levine, chief of innovation and school choice at Hamilton County schools. Along with Evan Freeman, director of government relations at EPB. The city of Chattanooga is electric power and fiber internet utility, as well as Deb Socia, president of The Enterprise Center.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Together, the group discusses the recent landmark announcement by Hamilton County schools of HCS EdConnect in which the schools, local government, EPB, and local stakeholders and philanthropic organizations have made it possible to connect all school children on free or reduced lunch programs in the district to free a hundred megabits symmetrical internet access for the next 10 years. Jill, Evan and Deb discuss the challenges, of setting up the partnerships that made it happen, overcoming obstacles, including dealing with tens of thousands of new customers with unique skills and needs and how they managed to pull it off. Now here's Christopher talking with Jill Levine, Evan Freeman, and Deb Socia.

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 today I am just so excited to talk about one of the best announcements of the year. It's been a hard year and we have just a great announcement to discuss today. We're going to talk about what's happening in Chattanooga, around the Hamilton County schools with internet access, getting out to all the kids in...

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Posted September 3, 2020 by Katie Kienbaum

This is the transcript for episode 423 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. In this episode, Christopher Mitchell speaks with Ron Barnes, CEO of Coast Electric Power, and Jon Chambers, partner at Conexon, about the unprecedented growth of electric cooperative broadband networks in Mississippi and the state's use of CARES Act funds for broadband grants. Listen to the episode, or read the transcript below.

 

 

Ron Barnes: The bottom line for Coast Electric, and I believe for the other 14 systems that are in this CARES Act, is that it's the right thing to do for our membership.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: Welcome to episode 423 of The Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Ryan Marcattilio-McCracken here at The Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Today, Christopher talks with Ron Barnes, President and CEO of Coast Electric Power, an electric cooperative in the Biloxi, Mississippi area, and Jon Chambers, partner at Conexon, a consulting agency, working with rural electric cooperatives to bring fiber to communities around the country.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: They talk about how Mississippi went from having laws against electric cooperatives doing broadband to homes as recently as January of 2019 to now having 15 co-ops, getting grants from the state to build fiber immediately with CARES Act funding.

Ry Marcattilio-McCracken: They talk about how co-ops actually approached the state with the plan and took the lead in organizing to connect rural parts of Mississippi, and what that means for digital equity and inclusion since those cooperatives are required to build to all of their customers by law. Now here's Christopher talking with Ron Barnes and John Chambers.

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, back with a repeat guest and a guest who we have not spoken with before. So let me start by introducing Ron Barnes, the president and CEO of Coast Electric Power, a rural electric cooperative in the Biloxi area of Mississippi. Welcome to the show, Ron.

Ron Barnes: Glad to be here. Thank you for...

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