News

Posted May 19, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-...

There's no argument that the ACP offers relief to households that need it most. But is it a long-term solution? Our analysis shows that even if only a third of eligible households ultimately enroll, absent additional allocation the fund will be exhausted by November 2024. But even under the best-case scenario, with the benefit reaching as many people as possible, current enrollment rates show that only 68 percent of eligible households would be able to sign up before the funds run out. In this model, the money will be exhausted just 18 months from now, in January 2024.

Posted May 18, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-...

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance's (NDIA) expanded National Digital Navigator Corps is running its first round of awards, and will support new projects at 18 sites around the country (including six in Tribal communities) beginning in the second half of this year. 

The deadline to apply via Letter of Intent is this Friday at 11:59pm, via this form. Applicants are asked to put together a 200-400 word summary of their project, including local needs, goals, potential impact, and any partners. More detailed instructions can be found here

From, NDIA, a description of the program

Posted May 18, 2022 by Henry

On this special emergency episode of Connect This!, our hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by regular guests Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting). The four will be breaking down the BEAD NOFO (Notice of Funding Opportunity).

Subscribe to the show using this feed on YouTube Live or here on Facebook Live, on find it on the Connect This! page.

Email us broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Watch here on YouTube Live, here on Facebook live, or below.

Posted May 16, 2022 by sean

The window to request an unprecedented amount of federal funds to support state broadband grant programs is now open for business.

On Friday the 13th, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) officially announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access & Deployment (BEAD) program.

Posted May 12, 2022 by sean

Thanks to Chattanooga’s wildly successful municipal broadband network, EPB Fiber, and its partnership with The Enterprise Center and Hamilton County Schools, over 15,000 low-income students in 8,500 households in Hamilton County are already getting a decade of free high-speed Internet service at no cost through a program known as HCS EdConnect. We wanted to visually document the power the program has had in transforming the lives of participants by weaving together a compilation of video diaries that will give you a glimpse of how a visionary municipal network made this Tennessee county more resilient in the face of the pandemic and ensured no one in their community was left on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Posted May 12, 2022 by Henry

In this episode of the Connect This! Show, co-hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by guests Brian Mefford (VETRO FiberMap) and Lori Adams (Nokia) to talk about the FCC's Fabric initiative, and the latest in data collection and mapping.

This week's show will focus on broadband mapping and data collection and how the FCC’s new collection and verification process differs from 477 data. They will also cover whether Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are ready and if ISPs truly understand the process, as well as dive into the promise and perils of crowd sourcing information; what information states should submit that they have collected through their own mapping processes; the challenge process; and the efficacy of speed test data before concluding with a discussion about when the final FCC maps may be ready for prime time.

Posted May 11, 2022 by Emma Gautier

Summit County has put together a multi-part, $75 million broadband plan to improve connectivity in the area: a middle-mile institutional fiber ring to connect the county’s public safety facilities and expand its broadband capacity, a new datacenter, and a fiber investment to specifically target residents and businesses in the county’s underserved areas and economic activity hubs. When completed, the whole project will go down as one of the county’s largest capital projects to date

Posted May 10, 2022 by Henry

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Benoit Felton (Independent Consultant, Diffraction Analysis). 

During the conversation, the two discuss the transformational potential of broadband,  international developments in fiber deployment and lessons on wholesale broadband networks. 

They talk about the state of European broadband service, what keeps customers from changing providers within open access models, and compare “open access” with “wholesale” terminology.

Posted May 10, 2022 by sean

An effort to foster digital sovereignty and support tribal citizens to build and operate their own broadband networks in Indian Country is gaining momentum. Responding to the challenges of COVID and the opportunities created by the federal attention and investment into tribal broadband, our own Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, prominent Tribal broadband advocate and 20-year veteran behind the Tribal Digital Village, Matt Rantanen, along with a loose coalition of public interest tech people have organized a series of trainings to help tribes tackle building and running networks for themselves.

Posted May 9, 2022 by sean

The Biden Administration is poised to celebrate the nation's largest telecommunications monopolies today even as these companies do the bare minimum for digital equity while undermining his administration's broadband agenda.

Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, had this to say today about the undue influence of Big Telecom and its effort to block the confirmation of GiGi Sohn as an FCC commissioner: 

Posted May 6, 2022 by Henry

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined live from Broadband Communities by Bob Knight (CEO, Harrison Edwards) and Kim McKinley (Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber). 

During the conversation, the three discuss the newly announced American Association of Public Broadband (AAPB). They talk about what the group is, why it’s needed and how people can get involved.

They talk about the AAPB’s guiding philosophy, how the organization is structured, and why they are taking an inclusive approach to building membership. Kim and Bob also weigh in on the fate of BEAD funding, and other issues affecting the industry. 

Posted May 6, 2022 by Henry

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Jeff Gavlinski, CEO of Mountain Connect to preview this year’s event.

During the conversation, the two talk about what makes Mountain Connect different from other broadband conferences, what’s on deck for this year, and Jeff’s perspective on larger trends in the broadband industry. They also discuss some of the political realities of the current moment in broadband, and asses the state of various projects going on around the country. 

Posted May 6, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-...

Two recent victories in digital equity work out of California give cause for celebration this week. AB 2748 Telecommunications: Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act and AB 2751 Affordable Internet and Net Equality Act both passed the Communications and Conveyance Committees this week; the former by a margin of 10-3 and the latter 7-3.

Posted May 5, 2022 by sean

Nearly 85 years after first delivering electricity to Michigan's Thumb region, the Thumb Electric Cooperative (TEC) has “started to lay the groundwork” for the construction of an $80 million fiber-to-the-home network to serve its 12,300 members across three counties. The project, expected to be completed over the next five years, will deploy 1,500 miles of aerial fiber and connect to another 600 miles of underground fiber, which will allow the co-op to extend service beyond its current footprint thanks to its recent purchase of Air Advantage, a Thumb-area Internet Service Provider. 

 

Posted May 4, 2022 by sean

With an unprecedented opportunity for local communities to build their own ubiquitous high-speed Internet infrastructure, a new national organization has been formed to advocate on behalf of municipal broadband initiatives and to give local governments a seat at the table as federal and state officials craft legislation and grant programs to close the digital divide.

Today, at the Broadband Communities Summit 2022 in Houston, the group’s founding members held a press conference to announce the birth of the American Association of Public Broadband (AAPB).

“We were formed by a group of municipal officials in order to advance advocacy efforts for public broadband and to make sure they have a voice in Washington and in all 50 states,” said AAPB board member Bob Knight.

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