Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Great Community Advice and Colorado Update - Broadband Bits Podcast 253
Bonus episode! We did several interviews while at the Broadband Communities Summit and Dallas, so we are publishing two episodes this week. Diane Kruse joined us for today's discussion, episode 253, with an update about progress around community broadband in Colorado and great advice for communities considering an investment.
Diane is the CEO and President of NeoConnect, a consulting firm located in Colorado that works with communities around the country. We discuss realistic expectations for the nearly 100 communities that have voted to restore their authority to build and partner for better Internet networks.
We also discuss the range of options from doing nothing to building the full citywide fiber-optic network that Longmont is currently completing. Our interview touches on everything from incremental approaches to shadow conduit.
This show is 35 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.
Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.
Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
Diane Kruse: I think it's reached this critical point where it is absolutely a necessity for municipalities to build out fiber infrastructure.
Lisa Gonzalez: This is Episode 253 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. I'm Lisa Gonzalez. This is a special twofer week. Christopher interviewed several people at the recent Broadband Community Summit in Dallas, and we want to bring you the material while it's still fresh. We'll be back to our regular schedule next week. Diane Kruse and her consulting firm, NeoConnect, work with communities that are looking for ways to improve local connectivity. In this interview, Diane offers a consultant's perspective on Colorado's restrictive SB 152 and how it has affected local community initiatives to improve broadband. She shares how her firm approaches working with communities. Each one has unique goals and considerations while making public investment. Chris and Diane discuss some of the changes they’ve seen in both private and public investment and how it's happening. Learn more about Diane's firm at NeoConnect.us. Now, here's Christopher and Diane Kruse.
Christopher Mitchell: Welcome to another edition of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, coming at you live once again -- We're live right now, but it's coming at you from the Broadband Community Summit in Dallas, Texas, 2017. With me today is the president and CEO of NeoConnect, Diane Kruse. Welcome to the show.
Diane Kruse: Thank you, Chris, it's great to be here.
Christopher Mitchell: NeoConnect, I know that your firm is located in Colorado. There's tons of things happening in Colorado, but you do things around the country.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, we are a nationwide consulting firm. We work with municipalities and local governments on broadband planning and implementation. We have projects all over the US, but you are absolutely right. There's a lot of work that’s being done just right in our back yard in Colorado.
Christopher Mitchell: You're about to kick off a number of projects in California. I know that you are involved in Tennessee, several other southeastern states, but today we're just going to talk about Colorado. First let me just ask you, you had any good bike rides lately?
Diane Kruse: Oh, gosh. We could talk for hours about that. Yes, of course. Living in Glenwood Springs in Colorado, right in the middle of the mountains, is just the ideal place to go for a bike ride.
Christopher Mitchell: I was talking to someone just the other day. They were talking about a bike ride across America, and I was thinking we could put together an interesting team. I'm really good at flatlands, being from Minnesota. I can go 50, 60 miles with only a mile of up or down gain.
Diane Kruse: I'll take the mountain passes.
Christopher Mitchell: Right.
Diane Kruse: It's perfect.
Christopher Mitchell: You can do the hard work and I'll just coast along. Colorado, for people who are brand new to the show, this might be a surprise, but for everyone else that’s aware, nearly 100 local governments, which includes almost half the counties, I guess, and a lot of cities have opted out of a restrictive law in Colorado that says communities basically can't do anything in telecom without authority, without a referendum.
Diane Kruse: Right. Senate Bill 152 is a law that was established in 2005. It was essentially written, I think, at the urging of some of the larger telephone and cable companies.
Christopher Mitchell: Right. At that time, Qwest was headquartered in Denver, I think.
Diane Kruse: Right.
Christopher Mitchell: That was their territory.
Diane Kruse: Right, and so the law basically states that a local government is restricted in building out telecommunications infrastructure for citizens. The law states that they can build out infrastructure for other government entities as well as quasi-government entities, schools, hospitals, the medical clinic, libraries, but they are only allowed to build out telecommunications infrastructure to citizens for the service providers to use. Even the service provider piece of that is what the law refers to as insubstantial compared to government use. Unfortunately, insubstantial is not defined in the law, and so there isn't any indication of what is a large amount for the service provider and what is an insubstantial amount. It also restricts the local governments from entering into public-private partnerships, which, as you know, is a model that many municipalities use to help solve broadband challenges in their communities.
Christopher Mitchell: Certainly desire to use. I'd love to talk to you about what your definition of that is toward the end of the show. When we look at a public-private partnership, we're trying to figure out how many there are, but there doesn’t seem to be that many of them when you actually look at a true partnership.
Diane Kruse: About 90 communities, local municipalities, and counties have opted out of this law, and so there is a provision in the law that states that they could opt out with a 50% majority to opt out of the law and take back local control. In all of the elections that have been held, Longmont was the first. They lost their first election, but then came back strong with a stronger advertising campaign and it passed. Since then, over 90 communities have held out the election. It has passed with overwhelming support in favor of opting out. On average, the vote has been in the 70 to 75% in favor of opting out, and in some communities like Telluride and Estes Park and Durango, over 95% of the citizens that voted wanted to opt out of that law. I think what was interesting about that, in hindsight, I think it was originally written to be a barrier to entry for municipalities, and it's actually, I think, served just the opposite result. It's become this spur of innovation for municipalities to step up and figure out ways of solving some of the broadband challenges that they have in their community.
Christopher Mitchell: Right. I think that’s a hundred percent correct. What I find interesting and what I think you're really the right person to tell us about is what happens next. For people who are watching from the outside, sometimes I talk to people who are following this from afar, people on the East Coast, West Coast, whatever, and they're thinking, "Oh, Colorado, you have so many communities that have opted out, but I'm not seeing a lot of stories as to what they're doing next." As you know, this is not a vote to establish a Chattanooga or a Longmont style network. This is a vote to reclaim authority to then later make a decision. I guess I'm curious to know, are there any patterns emerging for what comes next for -- ? Let's start with maybe urban areas and then talk about rural separately.
Diane Kruse: First of all, I think that municipalities that want to solve broadband, that task should not be taken so lightly. It is often a very costly, capital-intensive endeavor for a municipality to build out, say, a fiber to the home network. As a consultant, one of the things that we have to sift through early on in the process is what is the city's appetite and at what level of investment do they feel comfortable entering into some type of infrastructure so that it could potentially be leveraged in a public-private partnership or it could potentially be leveraged to bring broadband to homes and businesses. Considering that it's a large capital expense, it should not be taken so lightly. It does require a lot of review and consideration on the municipality's side. Honestly, it is kind of a weird time in our industry because in larger metropolitan areas, we are seeing the cable companies rolling out DOCSIS 3.1 that is supporting gigabit-type services. They're also working on another version of DOCSIS that will allow for symmetrical gigabit services. I think, again, we're seeing that happening in mostly large metropolitan areas. That’s where Comcast and Charter and the CenturyLinks of the world, if you will, are investing in fiber to the home like gigabit-enabled services. In some of the larger urban areas, I think a lot of the municipalities are taking a let's-wait-and-see approach and let's see if the private sector actually does step up. Municipalities in the metropolitan areas are having a different conversation, and that conversation is how can they build out smart city infrastructure to support the needs of local government.
Christopher Mitchell: Three years ago, if you had told me CenturyLink was really going to invest substantial amounts of money in, let's just say the top 25, top 30 markets for fiber to the home, larger areas, I probably would have said, "No, I think you're wrong. They're really not going to do that," but they have done that. They’ve been much more aggressive than I would have expected. Now for a local leader, I think you could have a reaction that says, "Well, we're glad that there's additional investment, but we also feel that even if we have fast cable and if we have some fiber to the home from CenturyLink to some neighborhoods, we still want another option," because a lot of times, people just naively assume, I think, that these are cities that have nothing or that they're just very poorly served. I think in many cases, they're the average and they're looking for something better.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, I think that's what happens, too. We should, first of all, say that -- We shouldn’t make the assumption that in every major metropolitan area they have gigabit-type services, because that isn't happening. That isn't true. Even in the Denver metropolitan area, CenturyLink is not deploying fiber to the home in a very fast fashion. In many parts of, say, the Denver metro area, there are people that can't get adequate broadband services and maybe even can't get broadband services that meet the minimum definition of 25 mb down and 2 megabit upload.
Christopher Mitchell: Right. I'll readily concede that. I've been more surprised in the Twin Cities and in Seattle and Portland. I may have just assumed that it was true in Denver, but they may be less aggressive in that region, or I might just be -- It's always hard to tell what's really happening on the ground, because, frankly, government has totally fallen down on keeping accurate statistics, so most of this is rumor and asking around. Anyway, you were saying?
Diane Kruse: Yeah, so I think how we figure out what's rumor and what's advertising, what's fiber to the press release rather than what's actually happening on the ground, is working directly with the municipalities. You can see what permits are being pulled, and from that, sit down to understand what each of those companies are doing within that municipality. For example, in the city of Arvada, which is a suburb of Denver, Comcast has stated that it will be one of their first target areas to offer gigabit-type services. We are seeing that, actually, in the city of Arvada, as they're pulling permits for fiber construction to get fiber out to the neighborhoods, deeper into the neighborhoods. I would like to bring back in the smart city-
Christopher Mitchell: Yes. Yes, go for it right now.
Diane Kruse: -- conversation as it relates to these larger metropolitan areas, because what is happening, what is the conversation, if you will, is that infrastructure needs to be built, and broadband is one of the components that will be supported on this infrastructure. The reason why many cities are building out fiber and building out more conduit and facilities, I think, is to make their cities more efficient. They're rolling out traffic management systems. They're rolling out more complex lighting fixture systems. They're putting sensors along every corner of their city to support smart city applications. They're having to build fiber and they're having to put in facilities and infrastructure, and if they can do it with the private sector, great, but they're going to do it without the private sector as well.
Christopher Mitchell: I would just add one other use case to that, and I'm curious if you'd react quickly. Don’t feel compelled to. If I was a city contemplating those kinds of builds right now and I saw this 5G on the horizon having small cells which need to be fiber-connected in many cases, some cities, I think, react to that with, "Oh, man, this is going to be really hard to permit and deal with all this stuff." If I was looking at it, I'd be thinking, "Wow, that’s another anchor customer for the fiber I'm building out to my city, and this is going to help me justify the cost, to help drive revenues, because whether it's Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T or whatever, I would love for them to be using my fiber to backhaul to their central location in the city or something like that."
Diane Kruse: Yeah, if they will acquire the fiber from the city, I think it's a great application. I think it's also a great opportunity as this is happening, where small cells are being deployed and fiber is being built to those small cell sites, it's another opportunity for the city to gain some assets. I think the first thing that a city needs to do is look at a shadow conduit policy or a dig-once policy.
Christopher Mitchell: What is shadow conduit?
Diane Kruse: Shadow conduit is just -- Maybe it's a version of the dig-once policy that any time there is work being done in the right of way by, say, Comcast or CenturyLink or any utility provider, it could be the electric company or it could be a road widening project or a trail project, any time there's work being done, a shadow conduit needs to be installed at the same time. Then the city would typically only pay for the incremental costs of the conduit, putting the conduit in. It essentially takes the cost of construction down from, say, $30.00 a foot for new construction down to -- It should be $5.00 to $6.00 a foot to put in an additional conduit while work is being done. As, say, Comcast is upgrading their fiber network and putting fiber out further into the neighborhoods to support their gigabit-enabled services, as they're laying fiber, they should be putting in shadow conduit on behalf of the city. Then the city could potentially use that as leverage, if you will, for a broadband strategy but also as infrastructure that can support smart city applications.
Christopher Mitchell: As someone who's worked with cities on these sorts of things, let me ask you, people might think Comcast is going to oppose that, but I actually think that the number-one source of opposition to that in many cases is the Public Works people for the city, who might be saying, "Look, we like to build roads, we maintain this and that. We don’t do conduit. We don’t want to have to deal with that sort of thing." What do you do, what do you advise your clients when you come across that?
Diane Kruse: Usually, the Public Works Department would not be responsible for laying the conduit, but they would continue to do what they normally do, which is to approve the permit process. I'll take the city of Arvada as an example because we just finished implementing some rules around shadow conduit. We did get some opposition, honestly, from the Comcast and CenturyLinks, and the existing electric company also pushed back a bit, but we sat down with them and we heard what their concerns were and then we mitigated those concerns. One concern is that it would slow down the permitting process. We had sat down with the city of Arvada and we mapped out their priority locations and their priority applications for a smart city, and we did a preliminary design of a fiber network, so we were able to identify priority routes for them. The city of Arvada said that they would not slow down the existing 14-day turnaround to get a permit approved. What they will do when a permit comes in is they verify whether this is a priority route based upon the design that we put together, and if it is, they will notify the company within three days. Then the permit will still get approved within the 14-day window. It's smart conduit installation. It's not just installing conduit everywhere. There is a strategy behind it, if you will. One other pushback that the industry had was that it would be a burden to them, and the city agreed that they would pay for all of the incremental financial costs of the shadow conduit and that there would be no burden to the service provider. Really, ultimately, at the end of the day, it's the contractor that’s doing the work. Comcast is not doing the work and neither is the city. The contractor is doing the work, and it's easy for them to throw in spare conduit.
Christopher Mitchell: Right. No, it's actually, kind of I just -- Having talked with some people who are working often in smaller communities where they may first approach the network owner and then figure out there's a big bureaucracy they can't navigate, so then they just go to the contractor and be like, "Hey, you want to make an extra couple of bucks?"
Diane Kruse: Right. I think that happens, too.
Christopher Mitchell: Probably some of the cities where they want a permitting and that sort of thing, but sometimes you got to just get the job done, it seems.
Diane Kruse: You said that, not me. Right?
Christopher Mitchell: Right, right, and you're disagreeing with me. I can tell.
Diane Kruse: That’s okay.
Christopher Mitchell: You answered this, but I really want to just make sure people noticed it. You don’t just throw conduit in the ground. You not only just prioritized it, but you did a layout so that you would know where to put vaults and things like that because-
Diane Kruse: Exactly.
Christopher Mitchell: Yeah, because if you have this big, long conduit, you need to figure out where you're going to break it to gain access to it.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I think what the takeaway is often, say, from conferences like this is that a city would just go put in conduit and then three years later when they want to go use it, they can't access it. Yeah. We have done a design so we know exactly where the vaults are going, we know what size of vaults we want, the specifications of the conduit, and we have the priority routes already identified. That’s in a KMZ file that the city can use. Any time there's a permit that’s filed, they can easily check that preliminary design to see if it's a priority route for them.
Christopher Mitchell: Right.
Diane Kruse: It's smart conduit installation.
Christopher Mitchell: Let's look back at the rural issues, then, for much of Colorado, quite rural. Not just rural, but terrifyingly expensive, Rockies rural. What's happening in rural Colorado?
Diane Kruse: I think maybe kind of going back to one of the questions that you had about, gosh, there seems like there were a lot of communities that have opted out of Senate Bill 152. Why aren't we seeing more projects being installed? I think the reality is that we are seeing more projects installed. Typically, they're done on a regional basis. For example, Region 10 is six counties and 22 communities. All of them have opted out, so they're 30 of the 90 communities that have opted out of Senate Bill 152.
Christopher Mitchell: It's worth noting, Colorado has this history, so when you say Region 10, it's like this group of communities have a history of working together. It's worked out really well for how Colorado is organized and allowed for grass roots leadership. I jut wanted to put a pin in that quickly, because I don’t know if other states have done this as well, but this is a known thing in Colorado that’s worked well historically.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, it's worked really well. It's a regional council of governments, and they have worked together for a number of issues around transportation, around economic development, and now around broadband. They are local community leaders that are actively involved in solving their communities' issues and problems and making their communities a better place to live. They work together as a region to make it happen. There's a lot of synergies that I think have come about from that process. Now, a lot of these communities or regional councils of government are coming together to help solve broadband challenges. There was state funding that was set aside for regional projects through the Department of Local Affairs. There was $20 million that was set aside for broadband implementation, and so many of these communities leveraged that funding and then further leveraged it perhaps with an economic development grant or some other form of grant to build out infrastructure. I would say if you look around the state, there's probably 12 regional councils of government that are working together to put in infrastructure, and they're spending money and they're making that happen. Some of it is DOLA money and some of it is EDA.
Christopher Mitchell: DOLA is the Department of Local Affairs.
Diane Kruse: The Department of Local Affairs in Colorado. Maybe taking the example of Region 10 and what they have done, I mentioned that they are six counties and 17 to 22 communities that make up the membership of Region 10. The size of their territory is the same size as the state of Vermont, so it's a massively large geographical space.
Christopher Mitchell: I guess if you compressed it to make it all flat, it would probably be even bigger.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, if you pressed it. Absolutely, yes. In the mountains in western Colorado, it's rocky terrain. They are building a middle mile infrastructure that will connect all of their counties and all of the communities with fiber. It was a very expensive project, but what we were able to put forward was a number of partnerships to reduce the cost of building fiber to all of those communities. At first glance, we were looking at 50 to $75 million to build out fiber to connect the region, and we were able to identify fiber that the local power companies owned for their SCADA system and power management operations. Then we also identified fiber, long-haul fiber, if you will, that was in place from Tri-State, who's the power generation and administration, kind of the wholesale provider of power in the region. We were able to negotiate a partnership with both Delta-Montrose Electric Association and Tri-State to reduce the cost of just acquiring or providing as an in-kind contribution existing fiber.
Christopher Mitchell: Now if I could just jump in for a second. This is one of those things where I think sometimes people might hear that and they think, "Wow, I wanted to do that sort of a thing, but my co-op was resistant or they weren't super enthusiastic about it." Now my understanding is Delta-Montrose Electric Association was at first skeptical, not necessarily wanting to -- It took some local organizing to put pressure on them and to make them understand this would be a good thing to support. This is not something where everyone was just like "Yeah, let's all work together." It was real work-
Diane Kruse: Oh, absolutely.
Christopher Mitchell: -- that had to be done along the way.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, there was real resistance at first because DMEA obviously saw their mission is to provide power to their constituents, and they didn’t want to get distracted. There was a lot of local organizing and grass roots efforts around the business community coming to the board of directors meeting for DMEA to talk about how important broadband is to the economic development wellbeing of all of their communities and that they did have a vested interest in making sure that we could retain and keep companies to be based there and also to keep people continuing to live there. To make a long story short, they organized over 70 business people to come to the board of directors meeting for DMEA to encourage them to support the Region 10 project, and they did wholeheartedly. It's a great partnership between DMEA and Region 10 and Tri-State where we took the spend from 50 to 75 million down to 17 million, and then Region 10 applied for grant funding through the Department of Local Affairs and then leveraged that further with an EDA grant that all told, about $3 million will be spent in a cash contribution to build this 50 to $75 million network. After Region 10 received their funding, Delta-Montrose Electric Association actually announced that they would be offering last mile solutions and last mile services gigabit to every home with Google-like pricing. They're building that out in Delta and in Montrose Counties now, and they're also further expanding that footprint on a regional basis. I think that that’s a huge success story, and maybe that’s not something that’s being written about in our industry magazines, but it's a great success story that Colorado has, and I think it's a good model that could potentially be followed for many of these rural areas that are difficult to serve, is to partner up with the power company to make something happen.
Christopher Mitchell: Yeah, we're excited about that approach and we've done a lot of coverage of different electric co-ops doing that sort of thing. It's actually kind of interesting, because it answers one of the questions right. You're saying these are 30 communities that have opted out and that was an important part of their organizing. Though the ultimate solution in many ways is actually not necessarily a municipal solution, but that opting out was kind of a step that took and united them and helped them to make sure they had lots of options to choose from and then ultimately have gone with a solution that is not going to add to my number of municipal broadband networks on our map.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, exactly. In fact, I would say that one of the things that we do that might be different from our colleagues in the industry is there are so many ways to solve broadband, and one way to solve that is to build a municipal fiber to the home network. There's a whole bunch of other things that municipalities and counties can do to improve broadband services that may not hit your list, if you will. Maybe that’s one good example. It's not a municipal network, if you will, that is building fiber to the home, but it is a collaboration of municipalities that have definitely come together to solve broadband challenges. In this case, Region 10 will support an open access system that’s available to anybody, so we've reduced the biggest cost for all of the service providers in the area by reducing those backhaul costs to almost nothing through the Region 10 network. Then we happen to have a last mile gigabit-provider with Delta-Montrose Electric Association, but I will say that there are a whole bunch of other service providers that are also able to improve their services in their respective communities because of the middle mile work that Region 10 is doing. That’s one way to solve it. I want to talk about another project that is also a lot of collaboration, and it may not hit your list as well.
Christopher Mitchell: Oh, that’s all right.
Diane Kruse: Jefferson County Schools is a school district that is located in the Denver metropolitan area, and they want to build fiber to their 155-plus schools. That, too, is a 35 to $50 million project that they did not have funding for. They have hired us to work with the 15 or 16 municipalities that their schools are operating within the city's footprint and to collaborate with the schools to figure out how we could work together and how we could collaborate so that everyone could get their needs met, get fiber built to key critical anchor institutions, to government offices, get smart city applications in place, and then build fiber to the schools. Sometimes, the solution is E-rate. In other cases, it might be rural healthcare grants, but in the case that we're finding is very effective in the Denver metropolitan area is Public Safety. Public Safety has their own source of funding that is available to improve safety and their ability to respond to a crisis.
Christopher Mitchell: Now I'm curious. It gives me a lot of hope to hear that these are working together, because in the past, we've always heard criticism that some of these programs would be silos, where if you were going to build one network, it couldn’t share anything with another network, but it sounds like some of that’s been resolved.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, I think so. I think there was initially some resistance to working together and I think we're all guilty of this, that we're all so busy in our own little worlds and we do work in silos. Our mission, if you will, for that project is to break down the silos and to get people to work together and to collaborate to make something happen for everybody's benefit. This is turning out to be a great project as well where Jefferson County Public Safety, I think, is interested in putting cameras and high-speed fiber to all of the schools. It improves their ability to respond to a crisis at the school, and so that’s effective with their mission and their strategy, and it allows the schools to get fiber for enhancing their education experience for the students.
Christopher Mitchell: For people who haven't seen it, we did a video about Ammon, Idaho, where they have developed applications around specifically making sure that emergency 911 centers are alerted in the even that there's a gunshot in the schools. There's some really interesting work that’s being done. A lot of people are thinking about how not just to have these sort of surveillance cameras and the high-speed, but how to really make sure that they're integrated well and that you have these different actors talking to each other and coordinating ahead of time.
Diane Kruse: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s a great project, and it's a great project to have collaboration. It may not be one that would hit your municipal fiber list, if you will.
Christopher Mitchell: No, but it'll probably hit our list of communities that build anchor networks and see savings, because I'm guessing that the schools, when this network's all completed, will save a tremendous amount of money. They'll have higher connectivity to their locations. They’ll probably pay less, and most importantly from my point of view is they’ll have control over future costs. The contracts that come up in three years for whoever they're with, they'd have to re-bid it and they wouldn’t really have a sense of is our price going to increase by 10%, 30%. Now you have security in budgeting, which I have to think is a big deal for local governments.
Diane Kruse: Oh, it's a huge deal. Absolutely. That’s why I think it's critical that local government own their own networks for supporting their government needs. Schools need to have their own networks as well to support education. I think those are the trends that we're seeing. Then if that infrastructure can be leveraged to do a public-private partnership for broadband, then that may be a good strategy to serve the homes and businesses within that community.
Christopher Mitchell: I'm about to go a panel in a little bit, and another person that will be on that panel who's very much an opponent of municipal broadband recently wrote an article in which he said, "This is why we're not seeing more municipal broadband networks," and the premise being that we're not seeing a lot of growth. You in your experience and having to talk to other consultants, as we finish the interview, what's your top line? Are you seeing growth in municipal investments and working to solve these problems?
Diane Kruse: I think it's reached this critical point where it is absolutely a necessity for municipalities to build out fiber infrastructure. Now whether they use that to go out to homes and businesses is maybe something that they should carefully study. I think that what we're seeing is in almost every city, they're building out fiber infrastructure, perhaps to their key anchor institutions and to their schools and libraries or as a way to leverage a public-private partnership for broadband to homes and businesses. I would say it's happening everywhere, and it's just hit a critical mass that we can't report on every single opportunity. I think in Region 10, that’s a good quantifiable project because they received funding and were implementing it in those partnerships that have been developed. All over the state I think municipalities are putting in fiber infrastructure to support their anchor institutions and then to use that as a way to put together a strategy for broadband for the homes and businesses.
Christopher Mitchell: Right. I think to some extent we're a victim of our own success, in that if you're not announcing 100 gigabit to every home for $5.00 a month, the press might be thinking, "Ah, boring," the idea that you're adding a bunch of conduit and fiber and in three to five years, it'll be used and it'll be used in interesting ways. It's not as sexy of a story.
Diane Kruse: Yeah, I think that’s right. I don’t know who your panelist is, but I would have to say that that person is not correct. We're seeing a lot of municipalities put in infrastructure. Now they may not have a gigabit to the home, municipally owned fiber to the premise strategy, but they may be using a different strategy to improve broadband for their constituents.
Christopher Mitchell: Thank you so much for coming and telling us what's going on in Colorado and I think a real picture as to what cities are wrestling with around the country.
Diane Kruse: You bet. My pleasure. Thank you, Chris.
Lisa Gonzalez: That was Christopher and Diane Kruse, founder and CEO of NeoConnect, talking about municipal broadband deployment. We have transcripts for this and other Community Broadband Bits podcasts available at MuniNetworks.org/broadbandbits. E-mail us at podcast@MuniNetworks.org with your ideas for the show. Follow Chris on Twitter. His handle is @CommunityNet. Follow MuniNetworks.org stories on Twitter. The handle is @MuniNetworks. Subscribe to this podcast and all the podcasts in the ILSR family on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever else you get your podcasts. Never miss out on our original research. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter at ILSR.org. Thank you to Arne Huseby for the song Warm Duck Shuffle, licensed through Creative Commons, and thanks for listening to Episode 253 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.