broadband bits

Content tagged with "broadband bits"

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Mason PUD 3 is Snaking Its Way Through the Unserved and Underserved Parts of Washington State - Episode 560 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Justin Holzgrove, Director of Engineering & Utility Services, and Mike Rientjes, Telecommunications Manager, both from Mason County Public Utility District 3 in Washington State. The PUD provides electric service to more than 35,000 households across an area the size of Rhode Island, and began connecting its grid infrastructure to fiber in the late 1990s. Since 2003, it has operated an open access ftth network for households; an endeavor that has sped up since 2015, when residents began clamoring for more. 

Justin and Mike join to talk about how the PUD's efforts have been aided because of the fiberhood model they're using. Once enough households in a region register interest, the PUD's trucks roll into town. Interested homeowners then join those fiberhoods and pay a $25/month construction adder for a period of 12 years - no matter how long a drop their home requires.

The result? Strong word of mouth and indirect marketing have meant some of the highest take rates we've seen on community-owned networks, with an average of 80% across Mason PUD 3's existing service territory, and 100% in some areas. Demand is so strong that the PUD has been working overtime to keep up and deal with supply chain shortages on things like vaults to keep up with the demand.

Watch the video below for more on the history of PUD 3, and the one below that for how the PUD's fiberhood approach works.

Remote video URL
Remote video URL

This show is 28 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

 

 

How Rural Internet Access is Being Transformed by Electric Cooperatives - Episode 559 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

There are more than 830 electric cooperatives in the United States, serving more than half the country by geography. Electric cooperatives overwhelmingly serve regions that face population density challenges and income disparities as compared to their urban counterparts, as well as all of the other challenges that go with it: declining populations, hospital closures, increasingly frequent extreme weather events, and more. This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Brian O'Hara, Senior Director of Regulatory Issues for Telecom and Broadband at NRECA, to talk about how more than a quarter of the country's electric cooperatives have answered the call of their members and expanded into Internet service. 

This show is 25 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

The Public Utility District Taking on the Olympic Peninsula - Episode 558 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Will O'Donnell, Broadband and Communications Director at Jefferson County Public Utility District in Washington State, to talk about the Herculean task facing the PUD: how to deploy an open access fiber network to the utility's 21,000 meters in some of the least-dense parts of the state. 

It's a project that will likely cost more than $200 million, but Jefferson County PUD is getting started now. It's using $50 million to reach the first 4,000 households over the next few years, covering miles of coastline and forest from the Hood Canal and Dabob Bay across the peninsula to the Pacific Ocean. Will shares how the combination of federal and state funding, as well as recent legislative changes freeing the PUDs up to offer retail broadband service, turned around local leadership since a 2019 study that showed intractable barriers to success. Now, Jefferson County is moving full-steam ahead. Construction begins later this year, and the PUD plans to operate as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) on the network alongside others. The secret sauce to keeping costs down and being successful? Using tried-and-true, conservative deployment models (at least at first), and a retail plan with managed Wi-Fi at its core to keep costs low and truck rolls to a minimum. 

Residents are already clamoring for the service.

This show is 25 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

Demand Driven by the People in Kitsap County, Washington - Episode 557 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

Kitsap Public Utility District (KPUD) provides water, wastewater, and Internet service on Bainbridge Island and the neighboring peninsula in the Puget Sound in Washington state. It began building an open access fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in 2016 to address decades of poor DSL service as the only option offered by the private marketplace. Today, the Kitsap fiber network has grown to 500 route-miles and offers service to more than 1,600 premises via almost a dozen ISPs with the help of a growing team. 

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by three members of that team: Allison Cotner (Telecom, Business, and Projects Manager), Stephanie Hall (Telecom, Business Development, and Community Relations Specialist), and Thomas Schreyer (Network Engineer). They share the building momentum in Kitsap County, driven by ever-increasing demand by residents and businesses for the publicly owned fiber network. 

Christopher learns more Kitsap's innovation in using Local Utility Districts to drive expansion, which allows small groups of homes to petition KPUD to extend its network to their neighborhood. More than 50 have formed so far. He also hears about the flexible financing mechanisms the PUD and local government have created for households to foster expansion, and how happy residents are to see trucks in the area. Increased revenue has driven more investment in infrastructure to reach new households and new LUDs, which has meant more and more work for Stephanie and Thomas as they continue to build relationships with the local chamber of commerce and make sure that the network can sustain that growth far into the future.

Watch the video below to learn more about the expanding KPUD Fiber.

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This show is 29 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

How the Core Values of Small ISPs Contribute to Internet Access and Digital Equity for All - Episode 556 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Angela Siefer (Executive Director, National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Matt Larsen (CEO, Vistabeam) to talk about connecting the unconnected and doing digital equity work as a small Internet Service Provider (ISP). They talk about creating a culture of inclusion inside and out and working with local communities to get the most value out of every dollar. In a marketplace that heavily favors the largest cable and telephone providers, Angela and Matt share the ways that they participate in grant programs and how they actively build peer networks to exchange knowledge and make sure the Internet works for as many of us as it can.

This show is 34 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

This Is Not the National Broadband Map We Were Promised - Episode 555 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

It's strange to see the FCC continually patting itself on the back for releasing a new national broadband map. Spend just a little bit of time with it, and the cracks and holes quickly show themselves. This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Christine Parker, Senior GIS Analyst at ILSR, and Alexis Schrubbe, Director of the Internet Equity Initiative at University of Chicago. They do a deep dive into the many, many problems that persist - from bad ISPs claiming service to locations where they have no presence, to missing locations, to the mountain of work the FCC has offloaded onto the rest of us in fixing a map that it paid a lot of money to assemble. 

Christopher, Alexis, and Christine also untangle the ongoing challenge process for unserved, underserved, and served locations, and the timeline that states have in preparing to subgrant hundreds of millions in BEAD dollars starting in 2024. It's not all bad news - they end the show by talking about what state broadband offices, individuals, nonprofits, and others can do to band together, find good partners, and make sure their community gets counted in our national broadband service census.

This show is 38 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

Filling in Connectivity Gaps with Open Access Fiber - Episode 554 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Keith Quarles, President and CFO of A2D, a fiber-based, open access competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC). A2D stands for ‘Analog to Digital,’ and as Keith explains, represents the infrastructure transition from analog to digital communications.

Chris and Keith discuss A2D’s business model, which focuses on filling in the gaps – serving communities where connectivity is unaffordable or the incumbent has chosen not to upgrade its infrastructure. Keith explains how many gaps still exist, even after the influx of federal funding for broadband. A2D takes a creative approach to building out fiber backbones in these pockets, which involves connecting existing ecosystems like municipalities, school systems, and electric membership corporations (Georgia’s equivalent of electric cooperatives). Keith’s background in real-estate development and training in civil engineering, along with the backgrounds of his three business partners who are also engineers by trade, informs A2D’s strategy and willingness to "just figure things out."

This show is 19 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

Approaches to Digital Equity Work in Cleveland and Detroit - Episode 553 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Joshua Edmonds, CEO of DigitalC, a nonprofit technology social enterprise in Cleveland. DigitalC offers affordable wireless service for $18/month, as well as a co-working and collaboration space for the community.

Joshua served as Detroit’s Digital Inclusion Director for four years before heading DigitalC, and he and Christopher discuss Joshua's coalition-building work in Detroit. They compare his experience working under the city of Detroit to his nonprofit digital equity work in Cleveland. Detroit and Cleveland also have two of the highest Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) enrollment rates among prominent metro areas – Joshua offers his approach to ACP, outlining the organized and relentless campaign it took to achieve substantial enrollment in the subsidy program during his time in Detroit. He highlights how important it is to focus on long-term, structural solutions for closing the digital divide at the same time as we find ways to make Internet more affordable in the short term.  

Joshua also speaks about DigitalC’s focus on being locally-rooted, mission-driven and sustainable, and offers his thoughts on the viability of wireless.  

This show is 28 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

Axiom Technologies’ Public Ownership Model for Connecting Communities in Rural Maine - Episode 552 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher tunes in from Broadband Communities in Houston for an interview with Mark Ouellette, CEO of Axiom Technologies. Axiom is an Internet Service Provider based in Machias, Maine, the county seat for the large, rural county of Washington along the state’s eastern border.

Christopher and Mark discuss Axiom’s publicly-owned and accountable network model, and its work across 12 projects, of which the ISP is on its third build. They also discuss the entrepreneurial spirit and community-mindedness of Maine’s small ISPs, reflected in Mark’s ultimate mission: to give people a connection that allows them to create their own economy.   

This show is 29 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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

Joey Wender and the Treasury's Capital Project Funds - Episode 551 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Joey Wender, Director of the Capital Projects Fund (CPF), U.S Department of the Treasury. Joey administers the $10 billion fund targeted to help close the digital divide.

Joey and Chris discuss the flexibility of CPF funding and how it allows states to tailor their plans to their own needs. The two also talk about the importance of replenishing funding for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and how it’s critical to take action on this now, before the fund actually runs out.  

This show is 22 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 here or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance here.

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