[Davisgig] Recently in Community Networks... Week of 2/16

Christopher Mitchell christopher at newrules.org
Tue Feb 16 06:54:17 PST 2016

*Recent Stories from MuniNetworks.org - a project of the **Institute for
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North Carolina Coop Fibers Up Rural Counties and More - Community Broadband
Bits Podcast 188
Tue, February 09, 2016 | Posted by christopher

North Carolina is increasingly split between those in urban areas, where
some private sector providers are investing in next-generation gigabit
networks, and rural areas where the big providers have no plans to invest
in modern networks. But coming out of Wilkes County, a cooperative ISP
called Wilkes Communications and River Street Networks
<http://www.wilkes.net/> is taking fiber where the big companies won't.

This week, Wilkes Communications and River Street Networks President & CEO
Eric Cramer joins us for Community Broadband Bits episode 188 to discuss
their approach, history, and plans for keeping rural communities well
connected. They offer gigabit fiber, telephone, and cable television

Wilkes has already upgraded all of its original 8800 member-owners from
copper to fiber, with some help from the broadband stimulus programs to
reach the costliest areas. It is now expanding to nearby areas and has
overbuilt the population center of the county after CenturyLink continued
plugging away with last century solutions.

... Listen to the Show Here
... The transcript from this episode is available here .

Sale of OptiNet: BVU Caught Between Virginia's Rock And A Hard Place
Fri, February 12, 2016 | Posted by lgonzalez

For more than a decade, the people of Bristol, Virginia have enjoyed what
most of us can only dream about - fast affordable, reliable, connectivity.
In recent days, we learned that Bristol Virginia Utilities Authority (BVU)
has entered into a deal to sell its OptiNet triple-play
<http://muninetworks.org/glossary/1#term27> fiber network to a private
provider. The deal is contingent on approval by several entities.

As we dig deeper into the situation, we understand that troubles in
southwestern Virginia and Bristol have led to this decision. Nevertheless,
we urge the Bristol community to weigh the long-term consequences before
they sacrifice OptiNet. Once you give up control, you won’t get it back.

*"...A Few Bad Apples..."*

If the people of Bristol surrender this valuable public asset to the
private market, they run the risk of undoing 15 years of great work. None
of this is a commentary on the private provider, Sunset Digital
Communications <http://www.sunset-fiber.com/>, which may be a wonderful
company. The problem is that Sunset will be making the decisions in the
future, not the community.

... This is a VERY Disappointing Story - Our In-Depth Coverage Here ...

Newark, Delaware, City Council Votes For Feasibility Study
Mon, February 08, 2016 | Posted by hannah

Newark, Delaware, prides itself on its small-city status
<http://www.cityofnewarkde.us/index.aspx?nid=945>: a bike-friendly place
with a great main street and home to 30,000 residents. Some, however,
consider poor Internet access Newark's biggest small-city problem.

In December, the City Council decided to move forward with a feasibility
study for a municipal broadband network. In a 4-3 vote, the city council
hired a consulting firm
investigate the city’s options for connectivity. For $69,000, the firm will
answer Newark's questions, and the city will attempt to make an informed
decision on the possibility of a municipal network.

*Process for a Feasibility Study*

As we reported in September
residents have driven the push toward a publicly owned network; the city
council took notice and began considering the possibility. In October 2015,
They hosted a public meeting to bring together community stakeholders and
interested residents. At that point, community leaders heard from a
consulting company about what a feasibility study would entail.

... Read the Rest of our Coverage of Newark ...

Electric Coop Green Lights Fiber Pilot Project
Thu, February 11, 2016 | Posted by hannah

Electric coops empowered communities during rural electrification in the
1930s, connecting people to power grids. Now electric coops have the
opportunity again to empower communities through affordable, high-speed
connectivity. In Colorado, the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA)
<http://www.dmea.com/> is moving forward with a pilot project for a
Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network

*Unanimous Decision for Fiber*

In late December 2015, the DMEA Board of Directors gave the green light to
start the pilot project. The move to provide connectivity comes as no
surprise. DMEA considered providing middle mile
<http://muninetworks.org/glossary/1#term456> connectivity for a long while
before coming to the decision to instead deploy FTTH. If the coop had
chosen to develop the middle mile network, they would not have connected
members’ homes, but instead would have built infrastructure connecting to
the larger Internet.

... More on this Coop Approach ...

Mount Washington Muni: Permission to Move Ahead Granted
Tue, February 09, 2016 | Posted by lgonzalez

The town of Mount Washington, Massachusetts
<http://townofmtwashington.com/index.php>, has successfully streamlined its
ability to invest in a municipal Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH
<http://muninetworks.org/glossary/1#term13>) network.

On January 22nd, Governor Charlie Baker signed a home-rule bill
<https://malegislature.gov/Bills/189/Senate/S1978> specifically granting
the tiny town of 124 residents a special authority:

"Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the town of
Mount Washington may own, operate, maintain, manage or hire others to do so
on its behalf, and to take any reasonable action necessary to establish and
operate broadband high speed internet infrastructure and services without
the establishment of a municipal light plant."

*Another Underserved Rural Town*

Mount Washington is located in the southwest corner of the state; much of
the community is covered by the Mount Washington State Forest and Mount
Everett State Reservation. Large incumbents do not feel investment in fast,
affordable, reliable network infrastructure would pay off. Due to a small
population, the Taconic Mountains, and thickly wooded geography, any return
on investment will take longer in Mount Washington than in urban areas.

... Read More About Mt Washington's Progress ...

Minnesota Public Officials at Home and In D.C.: Funding Rural High-Speed
Wed, February 10, 2016 | Posted by hannah

It’s getting to be a sad, repetitive tale: crappy Internet for rural
populations. Minnesota public officials hope to change that. At both state
and federal levels, they’re advocating for greater funding for rural
high-speed Internet.

They’ve proposed several ideas to fund rural connectivity. At the state
level, Governor Mark Dayton is pushing to use $100 million of the Minnesota
government budget surplus for rural broadband projects. In D.C.,
Congressman Rick Nolan has introduced a bill to provide funding for
regional solutions, and Senator Amy Klobuchar is working on a bill for
coordinating broadband installation and highway construction. Will any of
these ideas work?

*Minnesota Budget Surplus*

Minnesota’s state government expects a $1.9 billion budget surplus, which
presents an opportunity to fund large, one-time investments. The Star
Tribune notes
such one-time investments in infrastructure, “especially when
infrastructure is defined broadly to include roads, transit, public
buildings and broadband capacity,” could prove a welcome idea. Fiber
networks have high, up-front construction costs, but they offer
next-generation, high-speed connectivity. Depending on what state leaders
do, those high construction costs may no longer be a barrier.

... Read the Rest of this Story Here ...

Local Communities Appeal to State Leaders: Change State Anti-Muni Law
Sat, February 13, 2016 | Posted by ternste

Some of us remember it - not so fondly - as a discarded relic of an early
era of the Internet. But it’s not a relic for people in some parts of rural
Tennessee: the awful sound of a dial-up modem

There are approximately 28,000 people living in the county and as Marion
County Mayor David Jackson tells it, he knows residents with no Internet
access at all. Some of Marion County residents with nothing better than
dial-up can actually look across the Tennessee River and see buildings and
houses served by Chattanooga's EPB’s gigabit Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH
<http://muninetworks.org/glossary/1#term13>) network.

Given this stark contrast, it’s no wonder the push is intensifying for more
access to publicly owned Internet networks in Tennessee.

... Read the Full Story Here ...

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