Fall Regional Summit–North State Connected: Broadband for Rural Communities

Wednesday, October 02, 2019 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM (Pacific Time)

1400 Numa Rd
1400 Numa Road
Susanville, California 96130
United States

Register HERE.

Description

Efficient ​Broadband ​internet ​service ​is ​critical ​to ​industry ​and ​the ​economy. ​This ​event ​will ​include ​an ​overview ​of ​the ​State ​of ​the ​Region, ​ ​partnership ​updates ​from ​industry, ​government, ​education, ​health ​care, ​public ​safety ​and ​workforce ​development, ​ ​ ​Plus! ​ ​”Toolkit” ​for ​effective ​broadband ​implementation ​for ​community ​leaders ​(Policy ​development, ​Master ​Leases, ​Funding ​Sources, ​etc.) ​and ​Q&A ​session ​with ​the ​experts.

Guest ​Speakers ​include, ​but ​not ​limited ​to:
Adam ​McElvain, ​City ​of ​Redding ​Vice-Mayor
Steve ​Blum, ​Tellus ​Venture ​Associates ​and ​Manager, ​Central ​Coast ​Broadband ​Consortium David ​Espinoza, ​Manager, ​Northeastern ​and ​Upstate ​California ​Connect ​Broadband ​Consortia

Who ​Should ​Attend: ​Representatives ​from ​private ​business, ​government, ​education, ​health ​care, ​public ​safety ​and ​interested ​community ​members.

$35 ​includes ​lunch

Hosted ​by ​the ​Center ​for ​Economic ​Development ​at ​CSU, ​Chico.
Supported ​in ​part ​by: ​Rabobank, ​California ​Manufacturing ​Technology ​Consulting ​(CMTC), ​Shasta ​College, ​Merchants ​Bank ​of ​Commerce ​and ​Rural ​County ​Representatives ​of ​California ​(RCRC).

Northeastern and Upstate California Connect Broadband Update

Published in Center for Economic Development News, Summer 2019

The Northeast and Upstate California Connect Consortia continues working throughout its 10-county region with the goal of improving high speed internet connectivity throughout rural Northern California. Led by Consortia Manager David Espinoza, the team has been actively engaging its communities to gather necessary data and information to meet the needs of its businesses and residents. Below are the most recent highlights of Consortia activities over the last quarter:

  • Consortia continue working with local governments to discuss potential CASF infrastructure applications in priority areas and to discuss best policy approaches for counties and towns to support expansion of broadband infrastructure and services. Consortia attended a Lake County Economic Development Meeting in Kelseyville (April 17th and June 25th, 2019) to discuss a Master Broadband Plan for Lake County.
  • Consortia worked to identify CASF priority unserved areas in each consortia county (using latest CPUC broadband availability data from March 1st, 2019) and shared these priority unserved areas information with incumbent, competitive and new entrant ISPs assessing potential project applications for CASF infrastructure grants and complementary USDA Reconnect Program grants.
  • Consortia reached out to ISPs in all 10 counties and provided detailed information on the rules and application process along with relevant data/information which helped ISPs to carry out business assessments. Also generated detailed maps of eligible areas including potential funding eligibility score (from 60% to 100%).
  • Additionally, consortia reached out to CAF2 grantees that might be interested in complementary CASF projects in unserved priority areas next to CAF2 areas.
  • Consortia provided assistance to ISPs to prepare CASF Infrastructure Applications, including providing data/information (broadband and demographics) relevant to geographic project areas and requesting letters of support from local governments, elected officials, anchor institutions and community based organizations.
  • As a result, of these efforts, two ISPS, Frontier Communications and Plumas Sierra Telecom, filed a total of six projects to serve around 1,100 unserved households in hard to reach rural areas in the counties of Modoc, Lassen and Plumas.
  • Consortia was present in the following broadband meetings in Sacramento: CETF Board of Expert Advisors Roundtable (March 7th, 2019), California Broadband Council Meeting (March 21st and July 18th, 2019), CPUC CASF Workshop (April 29, 2019), CPUC CD En Banc (May 20, 2019) and CETF-CAFWD Digital Inclusion Roundtable.

How YOU can help:

Gathering accurate information regarding internet speeds from businesses is critical to proving the case that improved broadband service is needed in rural California. You can help by  download the CalSPEED application to your desktop computers and run the CalSPEED speed tests daily.   CalSPEED desktop data validates internet speed and capacity, information that is critically needed to move potential projects forward.

For additional information about the Upstate California Connect Consortia, visit www.upcalbroadband.org

For more information about the Northeast California Connect Consortia, visit www.necalbroadband.org. Or, contact the Consortia Manager David Espinoza via email at despinozaaguilar@csuchico.edu.

Heidi Hall: Federal, State Support Needed for Rural Broadband in Areas Like Nevada County

The pull quote from the Hall Other Voices:

This simply won’t get done without some financial help from the state and federal government, revived regulations that require larger companies to provide a better standard of service …

The full article is HERE.

My comment on Hall’s Other Voices:

Other communities are not waiting for state and federal government grants to build rural broadband networks. They consider broadband as critical infrastructure, just like city water, sewer, power, and transportation. They float bonds, build the fiber network, and then charge a connection fee just like they would a new water service connection, and then a monthly user fee.

One example can be found HERE.

Over 500 communities across the nation are served by community networks. Details here: https://muninetworks.org/communitymap

What prevents Nevada County from treating broadband as critical infrastructure? A middle-mile fiber network snakes its way through the County, passing numerous clusters of homes and business.

While $250,000 is a start, millions are required to close the last mile with fiber spurs and wireless distribution to homes and business. It is time for the County to treat broadband as critical infrastructure like hundreds of other communities have and more planning to take the plunge. Details here https://muninetworks.org/communitymap

Government award grants to well-defined projects with a high probability of success. Where are those Nevada County projects? The ROI driven corporations are not going to build out rural broadband networks. Nevada County needs to take action now and build the critical infrastructure to connect homes and business to the existing VAST fiber network.

[Edited for blog post]

RCRC: Rural Broadband Update

Rural Broadband Update

A USTelecom pilot test found 38 percent of rural areas in census blocks depicted to have broadband on the National Broadband Map lack access to a basic internet connection.  The organization conducted the test following allegations that the broadband map drastically overestimated broadband availability in rural America.  The pilot test focused on Virginia and Missouri, but the study is sure to inspire calls for a nationwide test of broadband data.

The pilot test from USTelecom provides further evidence that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has relied on inaccurate data to measure broadband connectivity in rural areas.  Inaccurate mapping data prevents policymakers from prioritizing funds for areas that are truly most lacking in high-speed internet.  More reliable coverage data would help the FCC and other agencies properly devote public votes towards closing the digital divide for underserved rural areas.

OneWeb: Investor Write Down

Japanese technology giant Softbank has written down the value of its stake in British satellite maker OneWeb by £380m, the Telegraph can reveal.

OneWeb, which is backed by Softbank, Airbus and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, has burned through billions in investor cash for its plans to launch a web of hundreds of low-orbit satellites.

Softbank took an impairment loss on its stake in OneWeb earlier this year, while some early investors have lost as much as half of the value of their stakes, a source said.

Founded in 2012, OneWeb is one of Britain’s technology “unicorns”, a start-up valued at more than $1bn.

It hopes to launch hundreds of satellites to improve mobile and internet connections…

 

This not good news for OneWeb who seem to be having problems getting spacecraft launched.

RCRC: Democratic Presidential Candidates Release Rural Platforms

Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election continue to rollout their policy platforms for rural America.  Several presidential hopefuls spent the past week and a half in Iowa and are seizing the opportunity to appeal to rural voters across the United States.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg from South Bend, Indiana released his rural policy proposal this week which centered around an $80 billion investment in rural broadband.  Buttigieg’s call for investment in rural internet access echoes his competitors’ platforms including Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), who each promised massive investments in rural broadband if elected into office.  Buttigieg’s plan for rural America would also invest in improved broadband mapping and several economic development programs to foster job growth in rural areas.

These policy proposals inform rural voters how each candidate’s administration would benefit rural America.  The inclusion of rural broadband is a noticeable trend among policy platforms from 2020 candidates, suggesting that rural broadband deployment will be a significant issue for rural voters.

Yes, broadband access is becoming a significant political issue, but I would not put a lot of stock in campaign promises, they seem to be forgotten once the election is over.

RCRC: Rural Broadband Mapping

A few weeks ago, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai sent letters to members of the House and Senate who raised concerns about the accuracy of the broadband mapping used by the FCC to measure households with access to broadband internet.  Chairman Pai wrote to inform the members that the FCC would implement a new order that would “result in more granular and more accurate broadband maps” through the creation of the Digital Opportunity Data Collection (DODC).

The DODC will require broadband providers to report areas they offer service below the census block level.  This reported data will then be independently verified by the Universal Service Administrative Company.  The DODC approach will be used by the FCC to administer $20 billion over the next ten years to rural broadband deployment through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

FCC Chairman Pai addressed his letter to members from rural states and districts who will be scrutinizing the FCC’s new method for broadband mapping closely.  While the DODC is a much needed step in the right direction for broadband mapping, the data collection process remains overly reliant on data from nationwide carriers.  It will be critical for the future of rural broadband deployment to measure the success of the DODC program and hold the FCC accountable.

The best of good intentions often go arie, and this is just another opportunity for the government to screw up.  Yes, hold the FCC accountable, do your own speed testing and report the results.  If you do not have a broadband connection report the failure of the local providers to support your needs for 21st Century Communications directly to the DODC.

Broadband Is Too Important for This Many in the US to Be Disconnected

For the vast majority of us, broadband has become so commonplace in our professional, personal, and social lives that we rarely think about how much we depend on it. Yet without broadband, our lives would be radically upended: Our work days would look different, we would spend our leisure time differently, and even our personal relationships would exist differently.

But if broadband is an essential part of daily American life in the 21st century, how can we be comfortable with the fact that over 19 million households do not have a mobile or in-home subscription? Imagine if an electricity outage like the 2003 Northeast blackout occurred every day. Or if the Flint water crisis impacted the entire states of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. That’s the scale of broadband disconnect this country experiences.

Simply put, the country needs to make an aggressive case to reach universal broadband adoption. But what does that even mean? Compared to electricity and water, do we understand all the ways broadband impacts individual and community wellbeing? Based on an initial scan of academic and applied research, the short answer is no.

With communities all across the country exploring ways to overcome the digital divide, and with Congress sending clear signals about the importance to address rural disconnect, now is an opportune time to help policymakers and practitioners understand the benefits of pursuing new infrastructure, public policies, and training programs. For us, that process begins with understanding where the current state of knowledge is clear and where it falls short.

Continue reading at Brookings.edu