Fiber Network Provider Links Added

I have added links to the fiber-optic network providers in Sierra Nevada Counties in the provider’s column on the right side of the page. One caveat, VAST only sells access to corporations or established business. See this post on how individuals have joined to form a non-profit corporation and build a DIY community network serviced by
VAST.

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How Data Journalism Helped Power A Rural Broadband Revolution

One small magazine, one semi-retired reporter, and an award-winning series of studies using federal statistics that showed why broadband was critical to rural survival.

Trevor Butterworth
June 17, 2019

We are doing broadband,” said President Trump on signing H.R. 2, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka, the “Farm Bill”). “Everyone wanted it so badly.”
Hardly anyone noticed, but to advocates of rural broadband, it seemed scarcely believable that wanting something so badly had actually ended in the funding to make it happen. But there it was: $1.75 billion over five years—which was coming on top of $600 million for rural broadband in the March 2018 omnibus budget bill.

Behind the wanting, though, was data—and notably, a series of studies looking at the impact of broadband access on rural population loss, and showing, over several iterations, an increasingly causal link between lack of access and population loss in America’s most disconnected counties.

The studies were done for a small business to business magazine, Broadband Communities, and its Editor-at-Large, veteran data journalist Steve Ross, who had taught students at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism for years about the value of looking at the data (including this writer in 1997), when data journalism was called “computer-assisted reporting.”

Regulators had been headline attendees at the magazine’s conferences, so the studies were widely known and shared within the broadband community, but it was a series of calls from congressional offices in 2018 to talk about the findings that led Ross to think they might be helping to inform legislative change. As Ross notes, congressional staffers were “shocked” to discover that the studies came from an independent trade magazine and not an industry front group or advocacy organization.

What this story shows is that even a small magazine can help drive the kind of change that affects millions of Americans. And it did so because a journalist knew how to use federal statistics to tell a story.

Continue reading HERE.

This is a story of how leadership can solve a problem, by being diligent and unrelenting. If your rural community lack this kind of leadership your prospects of getting broadband is limited to waiting for the big telcos determine your density is sufficient to meet their ROI hurdles. How long are you willing to wait?

Broadband Speed and Unemployment Rates: Data and Measurement Issues

 

Study finds high-speed internet reduces Unemployment. Justification for making sure your community has high-speed access.

Abstract

We examine the effects of broadband speed on county unemployment rates in the U.S. state of Tennessee. We merge the older National Broadband Map dataset and the newer FCC dataset in lengthening our broadband access data over the period 2011-2015. Extending the dataset improves the precision of the estimates. Our panel regressions control for potential selection bias and reverse causality and show that broadband speed matters: unemployment rates are about 0.26 percentage points lower in counties with high speeds compared to counties with low speeds. Ultra-high speed broadband also appears to reduce unemployment rates; however, we are unable to distinguish between the effects of high and ultra-high speed broadband. We document beneficial effects of the early adoption of high speed broadband on unemployment rates. Better quality broadband appears to have a disproportionately greater effect in rural areas.

The full report can be downloaded HERE.

 

City Leaders in Bozeman, Montana, Declare Broadband Essential Infrastructure

In mid-April, city leaders in Bozeman, Montana, passed Resolution No. 5031 to officially declare broadband essential infrastructure for the city. The declaration comports with the city’s long-term goal to bring high-quality connectivity throughout the community.

All the details at Community Networks

Bangor, Maine, passed a similar resolution last summer. As communities make such formal declarations, they show their commitments to improving local economies and encouraging their constituents to consider connectivity an integral part of daily life.

Brookings Institute Metro Policy Paper, Signs of Digital Distress, in less than two decades broadband access has become one of the foundations of the American economy, joining water, sewer, power and energy as essential infrastructure.

It is encouraging that more city leaders are coming to recognize how vital broadband is to daily life and economic commerce. Let us hope your city leaders get the message “real soon now.”

Can Redding Become the Nation’s Next ‘Gig City?’

The story is in the Redding Record Searchlight:

Whether Redding will forge ahead with a proposal to install an affordable, super-fast internet service in a portion of downtown is up for discussion by Redding City Council members on Tuesday.

Council members will be presented with the results of a feasibility and cost analysis study conducted last year about constructing a city-owned fiber optic internet service.

The Center for Economic Development at Chico State University produced the report, said Redding Vice Mayor Adam McElvain. He has promoted having Redding run its own ultra high-speed service as a way to attract more businesses to the city.

Under his proposal, Redding would become a traditional Internet Service Provider (ISP) and install the fiber infrastructure. “We’d be like Charter Communications or AT&T,” he said during a recent interview.

That would allow the city to “create a marketplace” where any ISP could offer bandwidth on the city’s system, he said.

“It’s kind of like when the city gives somebody a sewer. You get a sewer connection or you get a water connection. This way, you get a fiber connection. Then you can get on and sign up with any number of different services from the private sector for your bandwidth,” McElvain said.

Continue reading HERE.

The challenge will be overcoming the opposition of the big telecommunication companies who do not like competition. HERE is an example of how the telecommunication companies stifled the development of a community network in North Carolina.  Check out this video.

 

On Becoming Broadband Ready — A Toolkit for Communities

The Next Century Cities Toolkit offers a step-by-step guide on how to assess and establish your community’s broadband options.

Introduction

In 2018, the time has long passed since broadband access was optional. The internet has grown out of its luxury status and is now a bedrock ingredient for resilient communities. Fast, affordable, reliable broadband is essential to the long-term success of a community and to the health and happiness of its residents.

Cities, towns, and counties have an extraordinary amount of resources that can be leveraged to encourage investment in broadband infrastructure and ultimately lead to greater connectivity. While there is no one connectivity model that works for every community, there are common threads that run through the diverse array of successful projects. This toolkit is a compilation of those practices and the first-stop resource for any community seeking strategies and solutions to connect its residents.

Download your copy HERE.

 

Remote Workers Havens – Keys to Succesful Workforce

One of the economic options for rural communities with excellent highspeed connections is to promote the community as a remote worker haven. To help promote remote work, the Sacramento Business Journal has published: What are the keys to a successful remote workforce?

We surveyed over 400 business executives on how companies are approaching mobility and what’s holding them back.

Download this complimentary eBook to see the results and find out how your business can achieve greater efficiency and security.