Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
The pilot project will provide a solid foundation for the capital lease used to build out the rest of the network, providing 100% coverage in 23 towns in East Central Vermont. While the intent of the project is to prove that the larger project is viable, according to Nulty, “it will be able to stand on its own if we don’t raise another dime of capital.”The project is expected to cost some $80 million in total to cover the 23 participating towns. ECFiber has already obtained the necessary permissions from the State to offer video and telecommunications services. The Pilot Project targets the town of Bethel, where the central hub for the entire network is located. ECFiber is one of many groups that are using a nonprofit ownership model to build the network. The towns work together to create a nonprofit that will finance, own, and operate the network to ensure community needs are put before profits -- now and in the future. Update: The pilot project will only offer broadband and phone services due to the high fixed cost of trying to offer video services for such a small population.
An antiquated state law also stands in the way of communities that want to pursue their own version of FiberNet Monticello. With research increasingly demonstrating that high-speed service boosts rural economic development, communities underserved by current providers should not be held back by the unfair 65 percent threshold for popular support the law requires to go forward. A simple majority would suffice.Finally, they corrected noted that broadband has been a total sleeper issue. If the next governor pays as little attention to broadband as current Governor Pawlenty, the state will be in dire straits.
As with the broadband stimulus funds being handed out by the Commerce Department, NCTA is concerned that the USF money not go to overbuild its members. "It would be a poor use of scarce government resources to subsidize a broadband competitor in communities--including many small, rural communities -where cable operators have invested risk capital to deploy broadband services," McSlarrow says.This seems like a common sense argument. Why would we want to subsidize broadband for those who already have a single option (underserved) when others have no choice at all (unserved)? Unfortunately, building networks to solve the problem of the unserved is all but impossible without simultaneously serving some who are underserved. This is because the unserved are often in areas so remote and expensive to serve, there is no sustainable business model to serve only them. So the idea that we could somehow only target the unserved with networks is extremely suspect. Unless we want to endlessly subsidize networks in these areas (which companies like Qwest emphatically want because they would likely collect those subsides endlessly), we need to encourage sustainable networks that reach across those already served, underserved, and unserved.
He added that it also might discourage the incumbent from continuing to risk that capital. "Government subsidies for one competitor in markets already served by broadband also might discourage the existing provider from making continued investments in its network facilities.I certainly respect this argument up to a point. But when it comes to essential infrastructure, we know that most existing providers (particularly absentee-owned massive companies) are delaying investments in network facilities anyway because the lack of true competition allows them to delay making the investments more common in our international peers (where true competition exists, often as a result of smarter government policies than we can muster here).
Once the non-profit has been formed, financing options would have to be identified, and preliminary design and cost estimate work would start. None of the cost of the project would be borne by the towns, Webb said. Ongoing maintenance cost and debt service payments would come from money paid to the agency by the service providers, added Andrew Michael Cohill, president of Design Nine, a consultancy hired to help WiredWest through the next phase of development.A previous article discussed a cost estimate of the network and how much money residents send outside their community for service.
Monica Webb, a spokesperson for WiredWest, said that a consultant who met last year with representatives from Mount Washington and 10 other towns in southern Berkshire County estimated the cost of building a fiber-optic network for that region at $27 million. But, Webb said, the consultant calculated that the roughly 12,000 households in the region were already paying an average of $125 a month for Internet and other telecommunication services – an amount that adds up to $18 million a year that people “are putting in an envelope and sending outside of your region.”The most recent announcement relating to the project discusses how a recent federal broadband stimulus grant to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute will aid the Wired West network.
This will enable a robustmiddle-mile network to be built by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) in Western and North-Central Massachusetts that will serve 123 communities.
We know about a USDA program meant to bring broadband to rural America. Our information is that most of the money has gone to suburban communities in Texas, and we don’t have a professional grant administrator to chase down any money that might be left. We’re aware that the Massachusetts governor just signed a $40 million act establishing the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, to figure out how to bring broadband to unserved and underserved towns. We’re also aware that the money will go to vendors to develop regional systems and we don’t have the patience to wait the two or three years it will take for anyone to get around to thinking about maybe serving us.Ultimately, the City was able to lend itself the money:
As it has turned out, we didn’t need to borrow — town financial officers found the funds without going to the bank for them. We got the necessary permits from the owners of two towers here, bought the equipment, got a couple of people trained to install the equipment, and turned on our first customers in March, 2009.Between a local mountain and available cell tower, the topology apparently fits a fixed-wireless approach (at least for a significant part of the population).
Some Berry residents may have to move if they can't get high-speed Internet access, according to town officials, because their employers require them to have the service for working from home. "Parents have told us their children are at a disadvantage by not having high-speed connections," Town Chairman Anthony Varda wrote in a recent letter to TDS Telecommunications, the town's Madison-based telephone provider. "It is critical to the success of rural students, people working from home, and residents serving on nonprofit boards, committees and local government," wrote Varda, an attorney with DeWitt, Ross & Stevens.Their property values are going down because few people want to live someplace without fast and reliable access to the Internet. To cap it off, Wisconsin is one of 18 states with laws to discourage communities from building their own networks. TDS puts on an act about how difficult it is to tell these people that they aren't getting broadband ... but if they were to build it themselves, I wonder if TDS would sue them like it did Monticello. In asking the state PUC to require TDS to expand, the residents are taking a unique approach. I can't really see it working under the modern rules. It long past time we realize the limits of the private sector: The private sector is simply not suited to solve all problems. Matters of infrastructure are best served by entities that put community needs before profits. (Image: Liberty rotunda mosaic at Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, Wisconsin, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from photophiend's photostream)
Many rural communities are realizing the only way to get the Internet service they need is to build the network themselves.In the spirit of the times, my response is GOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! People who aren't fans of the World Cup can translate that as, "correct." The involved towns apparently have some broadband options, including cable Internet (3-6Mbps down and 512/768kbps up). There is some DSL but also some unserved areas. Increasingly, we see communities building next-generation networks out of a recognition that the private companies will not invest enough for these communities to take advantage of modern technologies. The study should be finished by the end of the year. Photo by Jackanapes, used under creative commons license.
a 10-year, $37 million contract to provide high-speed connectivity to every county seat in Colorado, forming a statewide network known as the Multi-use Network, or MNT.To save money, Qwest is using a microwave (wireless) connection for San Juan County, which is far less reliable than would be a fiber-optic connection. For such a rural area, microwave might be a good secondary connection, offering a backup in the case of a fiber cut or natural disaster. However, making that the primary connection is what happens when Qwest is calling the shots. Qwest is not looking out for the interests of first responders, residents, or businesses in Silverton, it is looking for "a compelling business case" in their own words. And this is exactly why Qwest should not be in charge of essential infrastructure.