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Content tagged with "USDA ReConnect"Displaying 1 - 3 of 3
Modernizing a Tribal Network - Episode 545 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast
This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Kristan Johnson, Telephone Operations Manager of the Tohono O'odham Utility Authority (TOUA), which provides telephone, electric, water, gas, and Internet service to a large portion of those living throughout the Tohono O'odham Nation in south-central Arizona. Currently, the utility authority serves 4,000 telephone and broadband subscribers. Kristan joins the show to talk about what's like serving as a telephone and Internet service provider for more than two decades at this point, in an extremely rural area. TOUA's plan is to extend new fiber infrastructure to the entirety of the reservation by the end of 2024. To get it done, Kristan says, the utility will use USDA ReConnect Round 3 and other grant funds, as well as internal investment.
She shares with Christopher how the network has been mindful that the devil is in the details, including everything from using modern software platforms to plot both old and new assets, report properly, and manage local politics and member expectations for a public that often doesn't know how the Internet reaches it.
This show is 26 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed.
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Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.
Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
Shoring Up the Unserved in Talbot County, Maryland
In the heart of Maryland's Eastern Shore – a place Forbes Magazine considers one of the “Top 5 Coolest Towns to Buy A Vacation Home” – a fiber-to-the-home project is making the region an even cooler place to live.
Building on its historical allure and 600 miles of Chesapeake Bay waterfront views, state, county and local utility officials are making a multimillion-dollar investment to transform Talbot County’s half dozen towns (and a handful of other unincorporated communities) 40 miles east of Annapolis into a far more attractive place to live, work, and play. To do that, they are relying on Easton Utilities, the county’s seat long-standing municipal utility, to expand high-speed Internet access into the most rural reaches of the region.
In March, the Talbot County Council unanimously approved allocating $1.75 million of its American Rescue Plan Act funds to help bring fiber Internet connectivity to the hardest-to-reach parts of the county. That funding comes on the heels of Easton Utilities being awarded federal and state grant funds totaling $26 million, with the bulk of that going toward a fiber network expansion project known as Connect Talbot, while a portion is being used to upgrade its existing hybrid fiber-coax system.
With construction crews now working to extend Easton Utilities fiber backbone further out into the county, the utilities’ subsidiary – Easton Velocity – is already offering service to over 100 new subscribers.
Altamaha EMC Brings Fiber to The Farmlands of Rural Georgia
Known for decades as the "Sweet Onion Capital of the World," tourists are still drawn to the rural farmlands of Toombs County in east central Georgia for the annual Vidalia Onion Festival.
But in early November 2021, officials from the member-owned electric cooperative Altamaha Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), flanked by an assortment of state and local officials, gathered at the sprawling L.G. Herndon Farms to announce the cultivation of a new venture. Through its newly created subsidiary Altamaha Fiber, the 86-year-old cooperative recently started construction of a fiber-to-the-home network to serve its 14,000 members who live in Toombs County and in the six neighboring counties (Emanuel, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Tattnall, and Treutlen).
A 5,000-acre spread where they grow Vidalia onions, greens, soybeans, and corn (with over 1,600 cattle and a trucking company on the property), L.G. Herndon Farms was chosen as the site to make the announcement because the farm also happened to be the first business test customer for Altamaha Fiber.
Fiber-to-this-farm will allow for precision agriculture. And, as reported by The Advance, Phil Proctor, the engineer overseeing network construction, noted an added benefit, especially in an area that prizes college football in the ACC: “The lines coming into this building would allow owner Bo Herndon to live stream the Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech football game in vivid 4k resolution.”
Beyond the Herndon farm, Georgia Public Service Commissioner Jason Shaw spoke of the far ranging benefits of broadband for the region: