Buy Local (Including Broadband)

 

An article in Broadband Communities Magazine by Eric Ogle

Ogle’s conclusion:

As corporate service providers continue to shortchange many rural communities on the services they should provie, they also remove tremendous amounts of money from communities. Given the public outcry for buy-local campaigns, why isn’t there a similar outcry for buy-local campaigns focused on local broadband service?

In the example provided, through a sustainable partnership with the local utility, what long-term local economic impact would result if a utility-anchored broadband initiative were able to capture 50 percent – or even a third or a quarter – of the market?

As with many public infrastructure projects, utility-provided broadband is deployed for the common good, and many benefits occur “off the balance sheet” in terms of enhanced economic opportunities and quality-of-life improvements. So instead of wondering how it can afford to offer broadband services, given the money that is lost each year to corporate providers with inferior services, a community should wonder instead how long it can afford not to offer broadband services.

It has been my experience, that AT&T moves much faster to improve broadband services when threatened by competition.

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Today: Senate Commerce Committee Focus on 5G

— Senate Commerce Committee members will question wireless industry executives about the state of next-generation wireless. Here are some things to keep in mind as the hearing gets underway:

— Will Congress legislate? Last year, Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tussled with city governments over their STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, S. 3157 (115) , aimed at easing local restrictions on 5G equipment. Thune said Tuesday he would welcome “a chance to drop that bill again” and said he’s talking with Schatz about options for a reintroduction. “Obviously some of the steps that are being taken by the FCC are helping clear the path for buildout and for investment and we’d hope to see that continue,” he said. Schatz, however, said he’s undecided on bringing back the measure.

— National security looms large: Expect the hearing to delve into U.S. concerns about Chinese telecom giants Huawei and ZTE and whether they pose a threat to 5G networks. Lawmakers want to ensure “we’re winning the race to 5G and that we’re not aiding and abetting the Chinese in winning that race,” said Thune, adding, “They’ve obviously been attempting for some time now to steal our technology.” Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) agreed. “A lot of focus will be on network security,” Gardner predicted. “How we build it into the system from ground up. In many cases, that’s the advantage of 5G, is how we can do this from ground up.”

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

A Neighborhood Broadband Initiative

by Russ Steele

Vast Networks, a middle-mile and last mile fiber infrastructure provider based in Fresno, CA, provides commercial fiber network services through the heart of the western Sierra Nevada foothills from Jamestown in Tuolumne County to Grass Valley and Nevada City in Nevada County. The Vast fiber network was funded through federal ARRA and state CASF grants in 2010. It is now complete and is supply high-speed Internet services on its route. However, this post is about a connection in Nevada County.

Nevada County High Speed Internet

It is hard to see on the map, but the fiber network goes down Newtown Road. I just learned that a neighborhood of seven families recently bought a connection to this commercial network. They formed a non-profit corporation and contracted with Vast for a point of presence on the Vast Network. Now all seven home have high-speed internet for personal and business use. When the fiber came down their road, they took the initiative to get connected. They did not wait for the Government to force the phone or cable company to bring them high-speed internet. We need more if this kind of initiative!

Organized in 1995 CVIN LLC (dba Vast Networks) is comprised of affiliates of independent telephone companies located in Central and Northern California. They offer a full line of network services to telecommunications companies in the area. More detail on the Vast website HERE.

Note, Vast does not provide services to individual homeowners, they service business. Thus, the needed to form a non-profit corporation. More details when they come available. Watch for updates.

High-Speed Internet Project for Nevada County Gets Green Light (Docs)

The California Public Utilities Commission has signaled approval of the sale of Bright Fiber Inc. to Race Communications with some changes, a move that after months of inaction advances a high-speed internet project in Nevada County.

The CPUC on Monday released a resolution detailing the changes, which include having 75 percent of the project on existing utility poles instead of “primarily underground.” Additionally, the utilities commission grant — which comprises 60 percent of the total project cost — will be reduced by almost $70,000, for a total of $16,086,789.

The utility commission must approve the sale — a vote scheduled for Jan. 10.

Read the Rest of the Story in The Union

 

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]

Sprint Taking FCC To Court Over 5G Order Cities Seeking Local Control

— A swathe of Western cities including Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas and San Jose are suing to challenge the FCC over its September 5G wireless deployment order that, they argue, unfairly trampled on city governments’ rights, John reported Thursday . The wireless industry largely celebrated this FCC action and said its federal pre-emption is vital to ensure carriers can roll out 5G wireless infrastructure in a timely and affordable manner.

— Not all carriers are satisfied. Sprint, the fourth-largest carrier in the nation with a $26 billion T-Mobile merger pending before the commission, is taking the FCC to court to challenge the order . A Sprint spokeswoman says that while the carrier backs much of the order, “in one area, we believe the final order did not go far enough.” Its challenge argues that the FCC “declines to adopt a ‘deemed granted’ remedy when siting authorities fail to act on siting applications within the shot clock timeframes established by the Commission.” Local government advocates were pleased that the FCC order left out this so-called “deemed granted” provision, in which the federal government could have mandated city governments automatically approve a carrier’s infrastructure siting application if they had not acted on it by a certain time. In other words, Sprint wants the FCC to be more aggressive in granting wireless industry wishes.

Source: POLITICO Morning Tech

RCRC Broadband Update

[Today] the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote on a rule change that will restrict rural carrier’s access to spectrum needed to close the digital divide. Rural counties across the country often rely on small local providers to offer broadband services where the large nationwide carriers refuse to provide coverage.

Small carriers deliver high-speed internet to millions of rural Americans at an affordable rate in areas where nationwide carriers refuse to build networks. Despite the important role these carriers play for rural broadband customers, the FCC will vote to restrict small carriers’ access to low-cost spectrum next week.

The Report and Order drafted by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai will change the rules for the “Citizen’s Broadband Radio Service” (CBRS) program which provides affordable spectrum licenses for census tract areas. These licenses are more beneficial to large rural counties because they enable local carriers to provide broadband to smaller population centers. CTIA, a telecommunications trade association representing nationwide carriers and other stakeholders, petitioned the FCC to eliminate the census tract licenses because they interfere with larger networks. CTIA and T-Mobile proposed a “compromise” to the FCC to expand the license area from census tracts to counties. Critics argue nationwide carriers would abuse a county license by over-building in urban centers to meet their build-out requirements without adding service for under-served rural areas.

Rural advocates will intensify their political pressure in the days leading up to the FCC’s vote to encourage Members of Congress to speak out on their behalf.

The source is HERE.