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.”

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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.

 

CA Economic Summit: Resilient rural communities built on upgraded infrastructure, faster broadband for all

The ability to purchase a home is vital to the foundation of a thriving community. As Chair of the Golden State Finance Authority (GSFA), I have seen firsthand the benefits that homeownership affords California’s local communities. GSFA has supported affordable homeownership in California for over two decades, providing homeownership programs featuring competitive interest rates and down payment assistance.

Over the past 25 years, GSFA has helped more than 74,800 individuals and families purchase homes and provided over $537 million in down payment assistance, as well as provided financing for over 30,000 residential or commercial energy efficiency projects.

While GSFA is doing its part to expand access to affordable homeownership in the state, homeownership alone does not constitute a thriving community. Every community needs jobs for its residents and a solid infrastructure platform on which to build its local economy. In 2018, it is vital that such an infrastructure platform include not only high-functioning traditional infrastructure such as water, sewer, and transportation systems, but also a robust broadband network that is accessible to all.

Working through its affiliate organization, the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), GSFA has identified a number of industry-specific areas of focus for their economic development strategy in California’s rural counties, including broadband and infrastructure. RCRC’s economic development team is working with a network of economic development professionals in RCRC’s 36 member counties to support and catalyze programs and projects that result in job and investment generation.

Rural Broadband Deployment

High-speed broadband deployment in rural California is one of the most critical missing infrastructure components. Its absence often precludes unserved and underserved communities from participating in the 21st century economy. High-speed broadband provides essential benefits by allowing increased economic and trade opportunities for small to medium-sized businesses, access to medical care (telehealth/telemedicine) and educational opportunities, and enhanced public safety – improving overall quality of life. Speed of commerce service is a critical step in the development of strong rural communities.

Infrastructure

Many communities in rural California are in desperate need of infrastructure upgrades to better serve their residents and businesses, but don’t have the resources, financial or otherwise, to research, apply, and implement these upgrades. These projects include improvements to water, transportation, and community facilities infrastructure. Innovative funding options and other programs that allow for project pooling and access to multiple funding sources that may reduce existing barriers to entry for rural communities must be identified.

The source is HERE. [Emphasis added]

FCC Falsely Claims Community Broadband an ‘Ominous Threat to The First Amendment

In reality, the real threat posed by community broadband is to big telecom’s monopoly revenues.

More than 750 such networks have been built in the United States in direct response to a lack of meaningful broadband competition and availability plaguing America. Studies have routinely shown that these networks provide cheaper and better broadband service, in large part because these ISPs have a vested interest in the communities they serve.

In his speech, O’Rielly highlighted efforts by the last FCC, led by former boss Tom Wheeler, to encourage such community-run broadband networks as a creative solution to private sector failure. O’Rielly subsequently tried to claim, without evidence, that encouraging such networks would somehow result in government attempts to censor public opinion

The full article is HERE.

Community networks are a better solution than waiting for the 5G that will never come.

ATTENTION: AB 1999 Easing the Way for Rural Communities

This is really important news! Governor Brown signed AB 1999 on 30 September 2018. Communities can now treat broadband as a critical infrastructure, just like water, wastewater management, trash collections, fire protection, and public transportation.

Community Networks has the details:

AB 1999 focuses on the responsibilities and authority of community service districts (CSDs), created to provide necessary services. CSDs are independent local governments usually formed by residents in unincorporated areas for the purpose of providing the kinds of services city-dwellers often take for granted: water and wastewater management, trash collection, fire protection, etc. In keeping with the ability to raise funds for these services, CSDs have the authority to create enhanced infrastructure financing districts (EIFDs). CSDs are allowed to use EIFDs to fund development of Internet access infrastructure in the same way they would sewer infrastructure, or convert overhead utilities to underground, or other projects that deal with infrastructure and are in the public interest.

Prior to the adoption of AB 1999, however, a CSD would first have to engage in a process to determine that no person or entity was willing to provide Internet access before the CSD could offer it to premises. Additionally, if a private sector entity came along after the infrastructure was deployed and expressed a willingness to do so, the CSD had no choice by law but to sell or lease the infrastructure they had developed rather than operate it themselves.

With the passage of AB 1999, CSDs no longer need to adhere to those strict requirements.

When the California State Legislature chose to pass the bill, lawmakers sent a message to big cable and telephone companies that they are no longer willing to bend over backwards to protect incumbent monopolies that ignore their rural constituents. Other states with restrictions championed by national ISPs and their lobbyists need to take note of California’s decision. Voters already believe that the federal government doesn’t do enough to bring high-quality Internet access to rural areas. State laws that further restrict options add to their frustration.

This a major step toward empowering local communities! Now the problem is getting local communities to exercise that power.  Local communities can stop waiting for the 5G that will never come and start taking action to meet the broadband needs of their citizens.