Race Communications’ mission is to “bridge the digital divide in California,” and this project has the potential to do just that for Nevada County. Local businesses are severely limited by what they can accomplish with copper internet speeds. Businesses and professionals looking to relocate to Nevada County won’t even consider doing business here without a fast, reliable internet connection. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is changing the way we do everything through the internet of things, requires the same. Technology is changing fast, and everyday activities increasingly rely on the internet. Our county and our local businesses will soon be at a severe disadvantage without fiber internet. We’re all glad it is finally here.
The interview also touched on 5G, where Pai suggested that a promising future for rural markets awaits. Bloomfield pressed Pai on the importance of wired networks, particularly fiber-based, to the future of 5G. Pai agreed and even took it a step further.
“I’ve consistently said that the 5G future isn’t necessarily a wireless one, it’s actually a wired one,” Pai said. “Part of our 5G fast plan, as I’ve called it at the FCC, that’s facilitating America’s superiority [for] 5G technology, involves modernizing our regulations to encourage much more fiber deployment.”
Bucking some conventional wisdom regarding the promise of 5G for rural markets, Pai says he actually sees a promising future there, with one catch though. That promise is largely a fixed 5G promise in Pai’s view, which can help complement carriers who can’t make a business case for fiber everywhere.
“Contrary to what some people have suggested, I actually think 5G has a very promising future in rural America and part of the reason is, in terms of the possibilities of fixed wireless, given the fiber penetration that some of your members have,” he said. “I think the ability of rural telecom carriers to think broadly about the future of these networks and how to extend this great fiber penetration you’ve got, there’s a huge amount of promise there.”
Pai also discussed spectrum management, where he pointed to the FCC’s efforts to make spectrum auctions more accommodating to smaller carriers by reducing the geographic size of spectrum licenses, and thus making spectrum more affordable. He pointed to the upcoming 3.5 GHz auction as an example and told the crowd to stay tuned.
“Stay tuned, there’s a lot of spectrum work yet to be done this year and next, and our hope is more of you will be able to participate,” he said.
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Geographical Information Center (GIC) at California State University, Chico and CSU, Monterey Bay are seeking 500 volunteers to take part in the CPUC Home Internet Study. The study aims to explore and analyze the Californian’s internet connections including:
* Performance of connections in rural areas, compared with connections in urban areas.
* Performance of DSL connections, compared with Cable connections.
* WiFi Router technologies in use in the California WiFi landscape.
* Performance of Ethernet (wired) connections vs. WiFi connections.
For additional information about the project, or to sign up, visit www.calspeed.net
I was a volunteer member of the beta test team for the CalSpeed data collection box. The box arrived in the mall, and I connected it to my internet router with a Gigahertz connection from Wave Broadband.
When Initially installed, before the beta test started, the Wave 1Gig modem interface device’s speed ranged from 700 to 850 Mbps using my desktop Mac with Speedtest.com Speed checks were take at random times during the day. Good to go for the beta test.
During the beta test, we were on vacation for two weeks in Seattle. While we were gone, PG&E change our electric meter. They cut off the power to the house while making the change. For some reason, the router quit working as did my drip irrigation system. I rebooted the router upon returning home and data collection restarted. After the reboot, I did a speed test on the Mac using SpeedTest.com and Wave’s Speed Test ranged between 300 Mbps and 500 Mbps. Not the Wave promised 1000 Mbps!
These speeds are consistent with the overall averages collected by the CalSpeed data collection box. As you can see from the recorded data, my average was about 400 Mbps on ethernet and about 160 Mbps on WiFi.
The Wave network modem had built-in WiFi signals, one in the 2.4 GHz band and one in the 5.3 GHz band. It was not clear to me which band the CalSpeed box was monitoring, and I failed to ask.
I returned the beta test box to the development team, but I continue to monitor the Wave broadband signal with my DIY recorder box. Following the beta test, I downgraded my Wave connection to 250 Mbps Service, as my DIY box is limited to about 300 Mbps due to the circuit limitation on the Raspberry Pi processor board.
Given all the marketing hype about broadband internet access speeds, the only valid method of determining the real speeds is field testing. Going out to the specific location and measuring the speed of the bits coming out of the ethernet port. So far, I am not getting what I am paying for, and there is a high probability that most users are not experiencing their ISPs advertised level of service.
Race Communications announced Wednesday that a town hall meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 about the Bright Fiber high-speed internet project.
The town hall — at the Eric Rood Administrative Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City — will include a 10- to 15-minute presentation followed by a question-and-answer session, said Ally Hetland, with Race Communications, in an email.
“By now, you have heard that Race Communications has acquired Bright Fiber Network, and you’re probably wondering what that means for you as an advocate and supporter of the Bright Fiber project in western Nevada County,” a release states.
Race has said the project will bring a high-speed internet connection to almost 2,000 homes along Highway 174. The project’s completion is expected by May 2020.
The Next Century Cities Toolkit offers a step-by-step guide on how to assess and establish your community’s broadband options.
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.
I am reading Susan Crawford’s book Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It. She is a Professor at the Harvard Law School. Amazon’s summary of the book:
The world of fiber optic connections reaching neighborhoods, homes, and businesses will represent as great a change from what came before as the advent of electricity. The virtually unlimited amounts of data we’ll be able to send and receive through fiber†‘optic connections will enable a degree of virtual presence that will radically transform health care, education, urban administration and services, agriculture, retail sales, and offices. Yet all of those transformations will pale in comparison to the innovations and new industries that we can’t even imagine today. In a fascinating account combining policy expertise with compelling on†‘the†‘ground reporting, Susan Crawford reveals how the giant corporations that control cable and internet access in the United States use their tremendous lobbying power to tilt the playing field against competition, holding back the infrastructure improvements necessary for the country to move forward. And she shows how a few cities and towns are fighting monopoly power to bring the next technological revolution to their communities.
To my surprise, Nevada City/Grass Valley and John Paul of Spiral Internet has a role in the book. His fiber project is used as an example of the struggle that private citizens must endure while attempting to bring fiber to a community that does not recognize the economic potential and only provides lukewarm support for the project.
It is important that the community, the local government, have some skin in the game; the lack of such involvement in John Paul’s Nevada City/Grass Valley has made it very difficult for him to privately finance the building of the Chip Carman network.
This is only one of the ten references to Nevada City in Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution—and Why America Might Miss It.
According to Crawford, Nevada City/Grass Valley are missing the fiber tech revolution.
Editor Note: Since Fiber was published, John Paul has sold his fiber project to Race Communications. Nevada City/Grass Valley may still get some economic fiber. If you want to understand the fiber network issues I highly recommend reading Crawford’s book.