Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Content tagged with "public benefits"Displaying 21 - 30 of 31
Justifying a Network with Indirect Cost Savings - Community Broadband Bits Episode 80
Wilson's Greenlight Getting the Publicity It Deserves
WUNC 91.5, North Carolina Public Radio, recently introduced Greenlight to its audience. We have covered Wilson and Greenlight extensively since 2009. Will Michaels spoke with Will Aycock, highlighting the network's gigabit status.
"We're able to support the surveillance cameras and different sensors throughout the community to make us a smarter city. Certainly, we're able to support many institutions here such as schools and libraries," Aycock says.
"It's really about removing the barriers between our residents, our institutions and the Internet so that people have all the bandwidth they need."
In our 2013 case study, Carolina's Connected Community: Wilson Gives Greenlight to Fast Inernet, we documented the benefits to the community. Aycock commented on the role the network plays in bringing new residents and business to Wilson:
"We're actually seeing folks deciding to move to Wilson from other areas because they want access to this next-generation network," he says.
"People even decide, if they're going to build a house, where to build a house. For instance, radiologists want to be on the network because it helps them to more efficiently do their jobs from home."
Now if North Carolina's Legislature would just undo the 2011 power grab, when it [no-glossary]passed[/no-glossary] legislation to revoke authority from communities to decide locally if building their own network made sense.
Spencer, Iowa, Upgrading from Cable to Fiber
Spencer Municipal Utilities (SMU) of Spencer, Iowa, will be replacing old copper cable with fiber this summer. According to the Daily Reporter, customers can expect the upgrade with no increase in rates. From the article:
"Just like internet service has evolved from dial up to DSL and cable modem, fiber will give customers the next level of service to continue to improve the way they live, work and play here in Spencer," Amanda Gloyd, SMU marketing and community relations manager," said.
"We want to keep our customers on the cutting edge," she said.
Plans are to upgrade around 700 customers in one section of town during this first phase at a cost of around $2 million.
"This project is all paid for with cash in the bank," [General Manager Steve] Pick said. "This is an investment in the system."
SMU has offered telecommunications services to customers since 2000 and supplies water, electric, cable tv, Internet, telephone, and wireless service in the town of about 11,000. Rates for Internet range from $20 to $225 per month with cable tv analog Basic service as low as $14 and Basic Plus at $46. As options are added, monthly fees increase.
UTOPIA Makes Red Cross More Efficient, Cost Effective
In 1881, Clara Barton started the American Red Cross as a way to offer relief to victims of disaster. Coordinating relief in the face of crisis will always be challenging, but now UTOPIA, the publicly owned, open access FTTH network in Utah, makes it easier and more economical. The change will allow the regional Red Cross to dedicate more funds to helping people, rather than for administrative costs.
The Murray, Utah, Blood Services location is now using an in-house video conferencing system with bandwidth supplied by UTOPIA. From the UTOPIA blog:
“The UTOPIA network definitely has the bandwidth and reliability we need for video conferencing,” says Travis Weaver, Technical Support Analyst at the American Red Cross. “UTOPIA has made in-house video conferencing possible for us. This switch saves us money because doing it in-house is cheaper than paying for the service and it allows for long distance, face-to-face meetings without the cost of travel.”
Weaver also considers the open access an added benefit. The organization is able to work with one of their current providers, easing billing and negotiation. The organization clearly appreciates UTOPIA's presence:
Weaver feels the infrastructure UTOPIA provides is critical. “I believe in the need to continually invest in the communications infrastructure of our municipalities,” he says. “Failure to do so will not let us keep pace with the rapidly accelerating network communications global community. Having access to UTOPIA in Murray City has certainly opened up our capacity to meet the communication needs of our organization by using leading-edge technology.”
A Closer Look at FiberNet Monticello
City administrator Jeff O'Neill said that the city has no intention of abandoning FiberNet's 1,700 customers, including about 130 businesses. "This system isn't going anywhere," he said. "We're not going out of business." Despite the problems, he said the city has one of the fastest Internet systems in the country that has driven down prices and improved services by providing competition.The article also notes that prior to the City-owned network, the telephone company (TDS) provided very poor DSL service that was harming area businesses with slow and very unreliabile phone and broadband services. Without FiberNet Monticello, we don't know how many businesses would have been forced to relocate to be competitive in the digital economy. We decided to dig a little deeper to get a sense of what Monticello has received for its investment and difficulty. We previously examined the prices charged by Charter cable in town and found that households taking that deal were saving $1000/year. We also noted that Charter was almost certainly engaging in predatory pricing. After talking with other networks, we would guess that Charter is losing between $30 and $50 (conservatively) per subscriber per month.
CNN Profiles Government-Backed Inventions
CNN Money has profiled 7 government-backed inventions. Most of us know the Internet would not have been possible without the research and development funded by tax dollars, but fewer know that the GPS and microchip were also created as a direct result of "big government."
Beyond those inventions, I was suprised to find that aerodynamic trucks (tractor trailers on the highway) were designed by NASA. Bar codes -- imagine modern commerce with the ubiquitous bar code -- were developed with funding from the National Science Foundation.
As a nation, we greatly appreciate the innovation that comes from the private sector (especially you Apple fan-boys) but it is beyond time we recognize the role of the public sector in innovation as well. Heck, just how much innovation would we see on farms if they were still only connected with dirt roads?? How much more will we see when they are all connected with fast, affordable, and reliable connections to the Internet?
Is Lafayettte Community Broadband Doing OK or Great?
LUS estimates that the citizens of the community have saved 5.7 million dollars—in part direct saving from LUS' cheaper phone, video, and internet services and in part as a consequence of Cox lowering its prices and giving out special rates. Those special rates were discussed in the meeting with Huval pointing out that Cox had petitioned for and received permission to treat Lafayette as a "competitive" area. That meant that Cox could offer special deals to Lafayette users and, as we all know, has offered cuts to anyone who tries to leave. Those "deals." as Huval pointed out to Patin don't include the rural areas of the parish where Cox has no competition.But it doesn't end there. LUS Fiber, due to anti-competitive laws pushed through the state's legislature to handicap public providers, is actually subsidizing the City -- providing more benefits to everyone, even those who do not subscribe to the network.
Again it all goes back to the (un)Fair Competion Act. One of the things in that act a concession that LUS Fiber would be able to borrow from LUS' other utilities just like any other corporation could set up internal borrowing arrangements. This is not a subsidy, it's a loan—with real interest. One of the efforts to raise an issue by Messrs Patin and Theriot centered around "imputed" taxes. Those are extra costs that Cox and ATT got the state to require that LUS include in order to force LUS to raise their price to customers (you!) above the actual cost. (Yes, really. See this.
PSA for Government Haters
An excellent satirical look at those who believe government is the root of all problems. Modern society has many problems that cannot be solved by individuals acting autonomously -- we need to work together to solve them. "Government" is one of the key entities we use to work together to solve problems.
The Proper Role of Government in Broadband
Presentation and Panel Discussion about Community Broadband
Craig Settles kicks off this event with a 45 minute presentation discussing what community networks should do to succeed financially and how they can go beyond simply making broadband access available to more people. Bryan Sivak, Chief Technology Officer of the District of Columbia; Joanne Hovis, President-Elect of NATOA and President of Columbia Telecommunications Corporation; and Gary Carter, Analyst at City of Santa Monica Information Systems Department responded Craig Settles' presentation. One of the key points is something we harp on here: if community broadband networks run in the black according to standard private sector accounting procedures, that is great. But it is a poor measure of how successful a community network is. Community networks create a variety of positive benefits that are not included in that metric and those benefits must be considered when evaluating such a network.