Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
The county brought the broadband cooperative in to lease out unused fiber on the county’s 110-mile network, which it built over the past two years. The cooperative will connect business customers with its own members, which include various sizes of Internet service providers that can link the businesses to the network. Prices will vary depending on the service provider and location of the business.The Carroll County Times offers greater coverage in a story by Marc Shapiro. The County's $9 million network is financed in part with cost savings from transitioning away from $600/month T1 lines and is the result of many years of work. Remember that a T1 offers 1.5 Mbps of connectivity, the new fiber network likely offers 100Mbps to 1Gbps today and is capable of offering much greater capacity in the future. Building these networks is a far smarter move than leasing T1 lines.
Every county school, every major county facility and Carroll Community College is on broadband Internet, said Mark Ripper, chief information officer with the Carroll County Department of Technology Services. All county facilities and libraries and the board of education will have broadband Internet shortly, he said. The Maryland Broadband Cooperative, a public/private partnership that promotes economic development through technological infrastructure, will lease the "dark fiber," unused fiber, to its member companies, who can in turn sell Internet service to local businesses. The MDBC has 59 members, about 30 of which are Internet providers, said Patrick Mitchell, president and CEO of the MDBC.
"We can never overestimate the amount of bandwidth that will be needed in the future," said jon Kinsey, a Chattanooga developer and former mayor who is working with local entrepreneurs to study ways to capitalize on the faster broadband service.
“With this broadband network, Bristol Virginia Utilities will enable service to more than 120 of what we refer to as anchor institutions,” [US Senator] Boucher said. “That includes schools, libraries, hospitals, clinics, major government facilities and other large public facilities. The new network will also come within two miles of 18,000 homes and 500 businesses. That makes it feasible for what we refer to as last mile service to be provided to these 18,000 homes and 500 businesses. Some of these have broadband today, but not all of them do.”This project will add onto the economic development successes resulting from previous networks built by the publicly owned utility:
Boucher said the original broadband line deployed across the region several years ago has already helped to create a number of new jobs, including 137 new virtual call center jobs that have been created in the region by DirectTV, and another 700 plus jobs that have been created by the Northrop Grumman and CGI technology centers in Lebanon.Read BVU's press release on the grant award [pdf]. Though BVU is expanding middle mile access, it cannot offer last-mile services in most of these communities. Virginia law prevents BVU from offering some services outside its existing footprint - a policy that is great for telco profits but terrible for people that actually want modern telecom services. For its existing broadband subscribers where it is allowed to offer services, the utility has boosted downstream and upstream speeds [pdf]. The new tiers remain asymmetrical, as with a number of the earlier muni broadband networks. Tiers are now 16/2, 30/10, and 50/20.
As a result, the next frontier of information companies isn't being confined to the Silicon Valleys of the world. It's taking root where you might least expect it: in places like Tacoma, LaGrange, Ga., and Blacksburg, Va.. And in most cases, it's government taking the lead, beating business to the punch by stringing fiber and building networks in working-class communities that most bottom-line corporations would otherwise ignore.The principle of self-reliance is timeless. And we see the same idea in news articles today: local governments bringing broadband to areas the private sector cannot. In 2010, the fastest and more affordable broadband networks in the US are not in Silicon Valley -- they are in Lafayette, Chattanooga, Wilson, Utah, and other places where the community decided to prioritize big broadband. Because of the competition in Tacoma, prices for telecom have remained lower than in nearby Seattle - as I quoted a Tacoma resident previously:
I have Comcast in Tacoma and all I know is since there is competition down here Comcast is about half the cost as it is in Seattle. They give you a rate good for a year. When your year is up you call up and just say Click! and bam back down you go.
A 2007 video from Chattanooga's Electric Power Board explaining the benefits of publicly owned fiber-optic infrastructure.
Comcast Corp. remains Chattanooga's biggest video provider and has also increased the speed of its Internet offerings and the number of high-definition television channels and movies it provides for its subscribers.Tennessee, home to the famous Tennessee Valley Authority that brought the electrical grid the mountains long neglected by the private sector, continues to value public ownership of infrastructure:
Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey likened EPB's broadband expansions to what the Tennessee Valley Authority brought to the region during the Great Depression. "What is happening today is equivalent to electricity coming to the valley in the 1930s," he said.I'm guessing this 150Mbps plan is the first of more impressive announcements to come out of Chattanooga as they take advantage of this key community asset. The 150 Mbps press release is available here. The article also noted a major economic development win in Bristol Tennessee - a $20 million newspaper printing plant that would not have been possible without their muni network. This testimonial is located toward the bottom of the page.
Hyatt [company VP] acknowledged that the high-speed data transfer and reliable fiber optics were the main reasons for locating the facility in the park.
“Economic development is part of what we’re charged at the Power Board with accomplishing. If the current (broadband) infrastructure is not sufficient to allow economic development to grow this market, something needs to change.” If the private sector either isn’t willing or isn’t able to create adequate infrastructure, Grandy said, “then an entity such as the Power Board may need to.”Tennessee cities without publicly owned networks may find themselves in an even tougher bind than similar communities elsewhere. With Jackson, Bristol (TN and VA), Chattanooga, Pulaski, and others, businesses do not have to move far for great networks run by the local public power company.
Grandy, though, “doesn’t think there’s any question” that the Johnson City area will reap the whirlwind, economically speaking, if it fails to scale up local broadband capability. He has been involved in the recent search for a CEO to run the metro area’s new Economic Development Council, and a half-dozen candidates who visited early this month made it abundantly clear that broadband capability is as important an issue today as dependable electricity was 80 years ago.Public power transformed Tennessee. Publicly owned broadband may be necessary to keep it transformed.
The City of Palm Coast is making its high performance fiber network available for business and commercial use in Palm Coast. The goal of this effort is to create business opportunities for private sector service providers, lower the cost of telecom and broadband for local businesses, and to help attract new businesses and job opportunities to the City. Broadband connections to businesses will provide Internet access, a wider variety of telephone, videoconferencing, and other business class services.The opening ceremonies (a cutting of the fiber) were covered on Office Divvy, who noted that the network currently has two providers and a plan to connect most businesses in town over the next two years. Services to their facility will be up in early June. This is a similar approach as used in several networks in Virginia, including the Wired Road, and nDanville. Rather than trying to build citywide all at once, these networks expand as opportunities arise and funding is available. Clarification: The City has already expanded its fiber assets to create this network; the post should not be read as the City merely leasing fiber it already had.
"We're allowing point of care treatment through remote specialists that actually allow, not only a triage of patients in the emergency room, but actually direct treatment and diagnosis on site in real time from a third-party specialist located in another institution."OneCommunity's network is sufficiently large that these hospitals can connect directly to each other rather than each connecting to the larger Internet to send information amongst themselves.