Race Communications To Acquire Nevada County’s Bright Fiber And Its Fiber Network Project

A highly anticipated effort to bring high-speed fiber-optic internet service to the western Nevada County area, funded largely through nearly $17 million in grant money, may soon be in new hands.

Race Communications, a Bay Area company, has entered negotiations with Spiral Internet CEO John Paul to acquire Bright Fiber, an independent internet service provider in Nevada County that resells internet from wireline providers and has been working on building a new fiber network in the region.

According to company officials, Race Communications and Bright Fiber have come to an agreement on the terms of the purchase, which are currently pending regulatory approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

“Bright Fiber offers an exciting opportunity for Race Communications to strengthen and expand its footprint in California,” Race Communications founder and CEO Raul Alcaraz said in a statement. “Our company has decades of experience in the telecom industry and we look forward to providing quality broadband and customer service to the residents in and around Nevada County.” ­­­­

Full story HERE.

Let’s hope this change of ownership will allow the project to move foreard. It has been on the books with not action for too long.


Verizon Says No Way On San Jose Model

— Verizon bristled at the notion that other cities should try to ape its deal with San Jose, Calif., to contribute to a digital inclusion fund in exchange for streamlined access to install small cells. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel highlighted San Jose’s agreements with Verizon, AT&T and Mobilitie on Wednesday, but Verizon’s Will Johnson wrote in a blog post Thursday that suggestions the agreements be replicated around the country are “off base and would threaten both the speed and the ultimate reach of 5G deployment.”

— The path to reaching an agreement with San Jose was “not quick or easy,” Johnson said, arguing that changes to facilitate small-cell deployment in cities are still essential. The FCC is expected to tackle the issue as part of its focus on barriers to wireless infrastructure. Johnson said what worked with San Jose would not work for all cities. “It would be a mistake to take such an arrangement — negotiated by a locality with significant leverage and particular unrelated needs and challenges — and treat it as a model nationwide,” he wrote.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Does Your Community Have a 5G Plan?

Some forward-thinking California communities are developing 5G implementation strategic plans. There are multiple decisions to be made before telcos start installing 5G small cell transmission and receiving station in a community.  Forward-thinking communities are getting answers now, rather than waiting for the installation teams to decent on the community.  FCC Commissioner Rosenworce  is promoting the San Jose model: 

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on Wednesday gave a signal boost to agreements between San Jose and wireless carriers that will speed deployment of wireless services while also providing funding for digital access. The city negotiated separate deals with AT&T, Verizon and Mobilitie to allow the companies to install small cells — the scaled-down wireless network equipment that will be crucial for handling the data demands of 5G networks — on roughly 4,000 city-owned light poles. As part of the agreements, the companies will collectively contribute $24 million over the next decade to San Jose’s Digital Inclusion Fund. Rosenworcel published copies of the deals as model agreements for other municipalities, saying she hopes they can “inform the work of cities and towns nationwide to support universal broadband deployment and expand the civic and commercial opportunities of the digital age.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

Link to FCC model documents is HERE

Other communities are using consultants to manage their 5G relationships, including the development of strategic plans. One consultant active in California is XG Communities.

XG Communities (formerly 5 Bars) is an Irvine, California, privately held premier provider of Wireless Asset Marketing for municipalities developing comprehensive wireless strategies through a unique holistic view of city-owned assets, coverage and capacity. XG Communities is a leading wireless innovator bridging the gap between cities and carriers.

Regardless of the approach counties, cities, towns, and villages need to have a 5G Plan. Got Plan?

Carriers Clamor For FCC Oversight Of State and City-Level Small Cell Fees

The nation’s wireless carriers continue to petition the FCC to issue guidelines to states and cities about how much they should charge for small cell deployments and other network upgrades.

“Many municipalities unfortunately continue to demand exorbitant fees for access to rights-of-way and structures within them, including, for example, attachment fees that exceed $4,000 per year,” Verizon wrote in a recent filing. “Some cities, where providers may have a competitive necessity to offer service, continue to use their considerable leverage to seek fees that far exceed their costs.”

Full Article is HERE, which concludes.

Already, some FCC commissioners appear to be in lockstep with the wireless industry on the topic. For example, Commissioner Michael O’Rielly said in May that the FCC next plans to look at city and state rules that are hindering the rollout of small cells. He said the agency would move against “bad actors”: cities and states that are seeking to charge wireless operators unreasonable fees to deploy small cells or are moving too slowly on the topic. “We’ve tried the nice approach,” O’Rielly said at the time. Now, “we’ll have to take the aggressive route, and I’m completely comfortable in doing so.”



Blackburn Wants To Move NTIA Reauthorization Soon

— Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) saw among her House Energy and Commerce colleagues “a lot of agreement that we need to make certain NTIA is in shape to handle broadband and to push forward with this rural broadband expansion,” she told reporters Tuesday following a hearing on GOP draft legislation to reauthorize NTIA for the first time since 1992. The measure includes provisions aimed at empowering the Commerce Department agency to do more to boost broadband in rural areas. Blackburn’s interested in marking up the legislation ASAP: “I would like to get it wrapped up very soon.” Expect further conversation on a possible new provision to elevate the NTIA chief role to a sub-Cabinet position, “something that we’ve heard from many people that they think that we should do,” Blackburn added.

— House Democrats largely accepted the draft during Tuesday’s hearing without objections, although some said they wished the legislation would do more, such as include the AIRWAVES spectrum bill, H.R. 4953, which would open up federal spectrum for commercial use. Some also wanted testimony from NTIA chief David Redl. Blackburn expects a positive reception from NTIA, she told reporters: “I think they’re going to like what we have to offer.” The draft would create a new NTIA internet connectivity office, urge NTIA to continue broadband mapping work and call for a GAO 911 study.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech [Emphasis Added]

Faster, please!  Mapping is vital to the decision making process. If you do not know where the problem is, it cannot be fixed. Having valid maps should be an NTIA priority, as well as at the state levels, to ensure funds go to the areas that need broadband, and not be improving areas with existing broadband. Mapping accuracy is critical for the decision making process.

Today: Lawmakers Line Up Telecom Debate

— The House Energy and Commerce telecom subcommittee will meet at 1:15 p.m. for a hearing on a raft of telecom issues, including getting more broadband out to rural America and grappling with fallout from the EU’s sweeping new data privacy law. The hearing is pegged to GOP draft legislation to reauthorize the National Telecommunications and Information Administration for the first time since 1992. Many of the bill’s provisions focus on policy aims like creating a new NTIA internet connectivity office and directing a GAO study study on 911 issues, as detailed in the Republican staff memo . Reauthorization isn’t actually required for the Commerce Department agency’s operations.

— “Make no mistake, the bill before us today is a rural broadband bill, and a very important one at that,” Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) plans to say in her opening statement. “Many of us hear over and over again about the desperate need to connect unserved Americans, and we are willing to invest toward that goal, but we must ensure good stewardship of those dollars.” House E&C ranking member Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) is less impressed. The draft “fails to provide NTIA the authority and direction it needs to address America’s 21st Century needs,” he plans to say. “The Administration acknowledges the need for broadband infrastructure investment but President Trump and the Republican Majority have failed to act. We must think big in reauthorizing the NTIA.” He’ll also say he wishes NTIA Administrator David Redl could be there to testify.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech [Emphasis added]

RCRC: Rural Broadband Update

This week, the Senate Commerce Committee held a nomination hearing for Geoffrey Starks who was nominated to fill retiring Commissioner Mignon Clyburn’s seat on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In his opening statement, Starks told Committee Chairman John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Florida) that rural broadband deployment and telemedicine would be top priorities for his tenure on the FCC.

Starks supports federal spending for rural broadband deployment and endorsed the $600 million for rural broadband included in the 2018 Omnibus, as well as the AIRWAVES Act, legislation introduced by Senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) that would invest new funds for broadband deployment. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) asked Starks if he would work with other agencies, specifically the Bureau of Land Management, to find solutions to barriers for rural broadband deployment and Starks said he would.

Earlier this week, the Senate Broadband Caucus met to discuss the benefits of broadband deployment to precision agriculture and other rural industries. The purpose of the panel, and the Caucus in general, was to broaden support within Congress for rural broadband funding. Throughout the panel, broadband deployment was depicted as a gatekeeper to the future of rural economic development. Lawmakers repeatedly compared rural broadband deployment today to the rural electrification movement of the early 20th Century that brought electricity to rural areas that lagged behind big cities.

Source: The Barbed Wire

FirstNet Build Out Reduces AT&T 5G Costs

“. . . AT&T expects to finish its efforts to build out fiber to roughly 14 million locations within the next 12 months.”

This fiber will support FirstNet and 5G installations. AT&T plans to install 5G equipment on towers as it installs the FirstNet 700 MHz equipment. This will reduce AT&T’s 5G infrastructure costs.  We can hope it results in lower cost 5G access. No breath holding allowed.

Maine Towns Put Up Cash for Better Internet Service

The towns of Calais and Baileyville are following the lead of other towns and putting up the money to make faster Internet speeds a reality.

Municipally funded networks are one solution to the problem that officials statewide agree needs some kind of outside support, according to the Maine Municipal Association.

“In recent years, it has become clear that without state and federal assistance, expanding infrastructure into Maine’s unserved and underserved regions will not become a near-term reality,” the association wrote in a 2018 paper on federal issues.

The association did not take a position on the new pole attachment regulations, but it wrote “there is now widespread recognition by local officials that internet access is unreliable, unaffordable, slow, or a combination thereof in their individual communities. This is an issue from the smallest plantations and islands to the largest cities, impacting schools, hospitals, farmers, and small businesses.”

Full article in the Bangor Daily News HERE.



Got Plan?

El Paso County Colorado is developing a plan and they want insights from businesses and residents about Internet service options.

An online survey is to gather information for the county’s Broadband Strategic Plan, which will analyze what private providers offer in the county, from fiber-optic broadband to wireless, and planned expansions of those networks.

The study also will identify opportunities for regional collaboration and options on how to structure and fund broadband initiatives.

“We’d like as many residents and businesses as possible to complete the surveys so we have a clearer picture of where the needs are greatest,” county IT Director Jeff Eckhart said in a statement.

Those conducting the study also will interview business leaders, public safety agencies and other government entities, Eckhart said.

County commissioners in March approved a nearly $150,000 contract with professional engineering and technical consulting firm HR Green Inc. for the plan.

Does your County have a broadband plan? If not, why not? You cannot get to broadband for everyone with out an effective  plan. Have you consider putting your broadband requirmenets in your General Plan, which is used to guidle the future of your County. It is critical infrastucture just like power, water, waste removal and transportation and should be included in planning documents.