middle mile

Content tagged with "middle mile"

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Paul Goodman on Advocacy, Accessibility, and Broadband Equity with C4AT - Building for Digital Equity Podcast Episode 20

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In this episode of the Building for Digital Equity Podcast, Chris engages in a compelling discussion with Paul Goodman from the Center for Accessible Technology (C4AT). Paul, a seasoned advocate with over 12 years of experience, shares his journey from law school to championing broadband availability, affordability, and accessibility for people with disabilities. The conversation delves into the crucial work of C4AT, highlighting their policy advocacy, assistive technology solutions, and efforts to ensure web accessibility.

Paul explains the intricacies of working with the California Public Utilities Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, advocating for broadband access and the challenges of making websites and technologies accessible for all. He shares insights into the LA Digital Equity Coalition and the exciting developments in California's broadband deployment, including funding for state-owned middle-mile networks.

The episode also touches on the complexities of navigating regulatory processes and the importance of community input in driving effective change. Paul and Christopher concludes by discussing the need for strategic investments in fiber infrastructure over fixed wireless solutions to ensure long-term connectivity.

***Disclaimer: This interview was conducted over a year ago***

This show is 16 minutes long and can be played on this page or using the podcast app of your choice with this feed.

Transcript below. 

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes here or see other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

Thanks to Joseph McDade for the music. The song is On the Verge and is used per his Free-Use terms.

Middle-Mile Madness - Episode 598 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

Join us this week for a special edition of the podcast, where we revisit a captivating conversation from the latest episode of our biweekly livestream show, Connect This! Co-hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter will be joined by our regular guests Doug Dawson and Kim McKinley, along with special guest Doug Maglothin. 

Together, they delve deep into the current state of middle-mile infrastructure in the United States and explore strategies for addressing the often-overlooked pathways that connect our cities and towns to the core networks that comprise the Internet.

For more information on Connect This! and to find previous episodes, please visit our website at connectthisshow.org

This show is 52 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed.

Transcript below.

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Middle-Mile Madness | Episode 93 of the Connect This! Show

Connect This! Show

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program represents a generational investment in new infrastructure, and will no doubt bring new fiber connections to millions of households around the country. Is the current state of middle mile in the United States ready? Join us Friday, April 12th at 2pm ET for the latest episode of the Connect This! Show. Co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by regular guests Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and a special guest Doug Maglothin (Diamond State Networks) to tackle the often-neglected pathways that connects our cities and towns back to the core networks that make up the Internet.

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

Subscribe to the show using this feed or find it on the Connect This! page, and watch on LinkedIn, on YouTube Live, on Facebook live, or below.

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Burning Desire to Bring Affordable Fiber Service To Rural Washoe County, Nevada

Officials in Washoe County, Nevada have struck a new public private partnership (PPP) with Digital Technology Solutions (DTS) to deploy affordable fiber service into the long-neglected rural towns of Gerlach and Empire, Nevada. The deal is part of a broader effort to bring affordable access to underserved residents just out of reach of broadband access.

Behzad Zamanian, Washoe County Chief Information Officer, tells ILSR that the county’s two-phased project first involved contracting with DTS to construct and maintain a $2.3 million middle-mile fiber network that connected Gerlach to Reno, culminating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Gerlach Community Library last July.

“The reason [Gerlach] was identified as a high priority was that it was considered unserved or underserved; there was no presence of any of the major Internet service providers in that region,” he noted. “There was no high speed Internet available.”

Until last summer, area students and residents were completely cut off from online learning, employment services, remote health care, and other essential services and opportunities.

Expanding the middle mile network required close collaboration with the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, which allowed the county to piggyback on the tribe’s existing fiber runs from Reno to Nixon, Nevada. The county then worked closely with the Nevada Office of Science, Innovation, and Technology (OSIT) and DTS to deploy fiber the remaining 60 miles from Nixon to Gerlach.

California’s Broadband Plan Has Huge Potential, But Red Flags Abound

In 2021, California passed Senate Bill 156, an ambitious plan allocating $6 billion to shore up affordable broadband access throughout the state.

Among the most notable of the bill’s proposals was a plan to spend $3.25 billion on an open-access statewide broadband middle-mile network backers say could transform competition in the state.

An additional $2 billion has also been earmarked for last mile deployment. Both components will be heavily funded by Coronavirus relief funds and federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) subsidies as well as California State Government grants – with all projects to be finished by December 2026 as per federal funding rules.

But while California’s proposal has incredible potential, activists and digital equity advocates remain concerned that the historic opportunity could be squandered due to poor broadband mapping, a notable lack of transparency, and the kind of political dysfunction that has long plagued the Golden State.

Massive Scale, Big Money, Endless Moving Parts

Still, California’s prioritization of open access fiber networks could prove transformative.

Data routinely indicates that open access fiber networks lower market entry costs, boost overall competition, and result in better, cheaper, faster Internet access. Unsurprisingly, such networks are often opposed by entrenched regional monopolies that have grown fat and comfortable on the back of muted competition.

Digital Equity Advocates Say California Risks Bumbling Plan To Deliver Equitable Broadband

California digital equity advocates say that recent cuts to the state’s ambitious broadband deployment plan unfairly harm low-income and minority communities. And despite promises from state leaders that the cuts will be reversed, local equity advocates say the process used to determine which neighborhoods should be prioritized remains rotten to the core.  

In 2021, California state leaders announced a $7 billion, multi-armed plan to bring affordable, next-generation fiber to every state resident. A key part of the plan involved building a $4 billion statewide middle-mile open access fiber network designed to drive down the costs of market entry, improve competition, and reduce broadband prices.

At the time, California officials said “the statewide network will incentivize providers to expand service to unserved and underserved areas.” Groups like the EFF lauded the “historic” investment, likening it to bold, early efforts to ensure rural electrification.

But last May, California officials quietly announced they’d be making some notable cuts to the state’s affordable broadband expansion plan. Blaming inflation and rising construction costs, the state’s renewed budget called for a 17 percent reduction in planned broadband investment, on average, across the state.

Open Access Fiber Network Comes to Rural Enclave in Washington

Public Utility Districts across the state of Washington have become key players in building out high-speed Internet infrastructure for residents and businesses in rural parts of the Evergreen State. One of those PUD’s, the Whatcom County Public Utility District (PUD) is now leading that charge in one of the most difficult-to-reach parts of the state, building an open access dark fiber network that will bring high-speed connectivity to over a thousand homes and businesses in Point Roberts.

Point Roberts is a pen-exclave of Washington State, about 25 miles south of Vancouver. (Pen-exclave: an area that can only be accessed through another country – in this case, Canada). The rural community, known for its peaceful beaches and mountain views, as well as its orca and eagle populations, is just under 5 square miles and home to about 1,200 residents.  

Designated to the United States in 1846 as the border between the United States and Canada was drawn along the 49th parallel, Point Roberts has a distinct geographic identity, which presents a unique challenge when it comes to building broadband infrastructure.

New Episode of Connect This! Show Tomorrow

Join us Wednesday, July 12th at 4pm ET for the latest episode of the Connect This! Show.

Co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by regular guests Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) to talk about all the recent broadband news that's fit to print – and probably a few things not fit for print but worth discussing anyways.

The interactive livestream is always chock full of humorous observations and insightful broadband commentary, including previous episodes that remain relevant as states and communities are putting together their digital equity plans and gearing up for federal BEAD funds to build new broadband networks.

Back in December Christopher recalled how things went when Uncle Sam doled out federal infrastructure dollars in 2009. There's lots of excitement (and rightly so) around the recent announcement of how much each state and U.S. territory will get from the $42.5 billion BEAD program. However, this short clip (below) from Episode 60 is a good reminder that this time around we ought to take what the big telecom and cable companies say with a huge grain of salt so we don’t blow this once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand broadband access only to have taxpayer watchdog groups railing years from now about wasteful government spending because we took the word of monopoly incumbents at face value.

Realizing Ambitions of Open Access in Marin County, California

Creative efforts are underway in Marin County, California to bring fiber connectivity to underserved pockets of the community and eventually the whole area. Digital Marin, currently housed within the county’s Information Services and Technology Department, is coordinating the project, and is leaning towards a municipally-owned, open-access solution modeled after Ammon’s standout network in Idaho.

Just across the Golden Gate Strait from San Francisco, Marin County is home to about 265,000 residents, as well as the Muir Woods National Monument, a County Civic Center designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and nearly 73 miles of coastal trail. Despite largely being considered an urban county, Marin also includes suburban and rural areas with 40 percent of the county classified as protected park land.

When it comes to Internet connectivity, the area is peppered with what Marin County resident and Digital Marin Executive Steering Committee member, Bruce Vogen, calls “donut holes of high-quality Internet access.” An unknown provider built a DSL network in the region many years ago and then Comcast later bought and inherited the antiquated infrastructure. Soon after, AT&T entered the market but selected only the most profitable neighborhoods to serve. All 90,000 of the county’s urban households can access the Internet through Comcast, but just 20,000 of these homes have access to the archipelago of AT&T’s fiber network. In any case, Marin’s urban areas are either subject to monopoly or duopoly market control. It has long been apparent there is a digital divide in Marin County, but it wasn’t until the 2022 FCC maps were released that the contours of this divide came into focus.

Avon, Colorado Will Join ‘Project Thor’ Middle Mile Coalition

Avon, Colorado will soon be joining Project THOR, an open access middle mile fiber alliance of 14 communities spearheaded by the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG).

The network, which feeds into NWCCOG’s Point of Presence in Denver, has dramatically benefited state anchor institutions and boosted network reliability across large swaths of Northwest Colorado. 

We detailed Project Thor and talked with NWCCOG Executive Director Jon Stavney in episode 406 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. “The image of the hammer and breaking down roadblocks and breaking down barriers really worked,” NWCCOG officials told the Colorado Sun when asked about the project being named after the Norse god of thunder.

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A recent broadband assessment (page 50) of Avon conducted by an outside consultant found that Avon locals were annoyed by limited broadband competition, high prices, and a lack of reliability from current private sector broadband offerings. The survey also found locals would be supportive of a city-run broadband initiative if it meant lower prices and faster service. 

“We believe the installation of a fiber optic network to enable improved broadband service is appropriate and beneficial in Avon and deployment should commence in the near term so that Avon does not fall too far behind peer communities,” the report found.