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Last summer, Medina County Schools announced a savings of almost $90,000 a year by switching from Time Warner Cable to the new Medina County Fiber Network. Scheduled for completion in late November, the network consists of a 151-mile loop and will provide bandwidth to government facilities and businesses. The project is mostly funded by the Medina County Port Authority, which will own the loop, and receives support from a stimulus broadband grant administered by the NE Ohio nonprofit, OneCommunity.
Loren Genson reported on local businesses' enthusiasm as the network makes its way to Brunswick, where fiber will pass through the Brunswick Industrial Park. Genson attended a meeting to update the community. From the article:
LeHotan, who owns All Construction Services on Industrial Parkway North, said improved fiber-optic broadband speeds will keep business in the industrial park and recruit new businesses to the area.
...Brunswick Economic Development Director Tim Smith said he promotes the fiber-optic network when talking to businesses interested moving their operations to Brunswick.
“I see leads that come in, and one of their requirements is high-speed broadband,” Smith said. “Our industrial park is right on the throughway. … Now we have this to offer as well.”
Clearly, current and potential Medina County employers recognize the value of the network. Dave LeHotan, owner of a local construction company, spoke at the gathering:
“It’s like a garden hose: You can only get so much water out of it, so much use at a time,” he said. “But this is like a fire hose, much more powerful.”
LeHotan said getting the upgraded infrastructure will help attract more businesses not only to Brunswick but all along the two loops that connect the entire county.
“This is really necessary even for small companies,” LeHotan said. “You can form a small company and all of a sudden the next thing you know you’re shipping 1 million products and only 15 percent of them are nearby.”
On September 11th, we interviewed Todd Murren, Director of SpringNet, for our Community Bradband Bits podcast. Todd told us the story of how travel giant Expedia, chose Springfield, Missouri, as the location for their call center and how SpringNet services them with its high capacity network.
Expedia originally planned on working with a large national carrier to provide connectivity. When it was time to seal the deal, however, promises were broken - the telecommunications company revealed it would not be able to provide the needed bandwidth after all. Expedia almost walked away from Springfield. Thanks to SpringNet, however, and its 350 fiber miles and first class business services, Expedia stayed. SpringNet saved 400 new local jobs.
Todd gave us more examples of how SpringNet has contributed to the local economy as it serves over 200 business clients. In addition to these examples of how SpringNet directly influences the local economy, keep in mind the positive ripple effect. Here a quick list from Todd:
The Economic Development Conference Series' first event, Community Fiber Networks, is scheduled for November 8 - 9, 2012, in Danville, Virginia. Dates and locations for later events will follow. The series is being produced by Broadband Communities Magazine. Danville is near the border with North Carolina.
Christopher Mitchell and a long list of industry experts will be presenting on a wide range of topics at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville.
Leaders in all areas of the Advanced Broadband Network industry will be sharing their findings and expertise. Danville was chosen because it is a true success story. By using their fiber network as a catalyst for economic development, Danville transformed itself. For years it was a struggling textile town but is now a highly desirable destination for businesses and individuals seeking advanced telecommunications services.
Christopher will be talking on Thursday, November 8th, on "Winning Community Initiatives." Friday, November 9th, he will present as part of the panel on "Innovative Financing Methods." The full agenda for the conference is available to help you plan your schedule.
From the press release:
THIS IS THE FIRST conference of its kind in this country - an event devoted entirely to the relationship between a community's economic vitality and the presence of advanced broadband networks. Nations around the world have recognized this powerful linkage and responded to it - as have a growing number of communities in the United States.
Each event in this new conference series will be held in a city with an advanced broadband system.
Each event will have an impressive array of speakers whose mission will be to help attendees evaluate the options and opportunities and develop the optimal, affordable solution for their communities.
Not long ago, we shared information on MINET, the municipal network in Martinsville, Virginia, that serves schools, municipal facilities, and about 30 local businesses. We noted that businesses are attracted to the area and cite the capabilities of the fiber network as a driving force.
The Martinsville Bulletin now reports that city leaders have been approached by more local businesses interested in saving money by connecting through the network. The Bulletin spoke with City Manager Leon Towarnicki who said "we are essentially maxed out” in staff and resources. Obviously, economic development through MINET is moving along well. The City Council is now considering the costs and benefits of expanding.
The city is working with CCG Consulting to develop a business plan. CCG will soon begin a business and residential survey and review of the city's current network. The survey and plan will explore the possibility of deploying a fiber-to-the-home network and communication system, but Martinsville will shy away from operating a cable television system. From the article:
Asked if the city would try to provide cable TV service again, City Attorney Eric Monday said, “We tried it. We litigated. We lost. We’re done.”
Martinsville made an attempt to acquire a retail cable television service in 2006, but found itself in a long and expensive court battle. Adelphia had previously provided cable in the area but filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and as a result, failed to honor its franchise agreement. At the time, the city landfill had just closed and the city was looking for other ways to generate revenue. They wanted to purchase the network and tried to block Time Warner Cable and Comcast from doing so. Time Warner Cable wanted to purchase the network and then engage in a like-kind exchange. This technique is a common tool large cable corporations have used to ensure geographic monopolies.