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Content tagged with "chattanooga"
Supporters Rally Behind Wheeler, Chattanooga, and Wilson: "I Recommend Approval"
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a statement yesterday supporting the concept of local authority for community broadband infrastructure. Chattanooga and Wilson filed petitions to scale back state restrictions last summer. In his statement, Wheeler officially recommended the Commission approve the petitions. If approved, the petitions have the potential to liberate local communities from state restrictions.
Along with a number of other organizations that advocate local authority, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance supports Chairman Wheeler who said:
Communities across the nation know that access to robust broadband is key to their economic future – and the future of their citizens. Many communities have found that existing private-sector broadband deployment or investment fails to meet their needs. They should be able to make their own decisions about building the networks they need to thrive. ￼After looking carefully at petitions by two community ￼broadband providers asking the FCC to pre-empt provisions of state laws preventing expansion of their ￼very successful networks, I recommend approval by the Commission so that these two forward-thinking ￼cities can serve the many citizens clamoring for a better broadband future.
Chris Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at ILSR.org and the editor of MuniNetworks.org said:
The Chairman's statement is a breath of fresh air. This approach will allow communities with little or no choice in providers to take control of their own connectivity. When local communities have the authority to invest in publicly owned infrastrucuture without state barriers, more businesses and residents have fast, affordable, reliable Internet access. Even just the possibility of a community network can incent large scale providers to improve their services. We are pleased to see Chairman Wheeler both talk the talk and walk the walk of restoring local decision-making authority.
A statement of support quickly followed from the Georgia Municipal Association:
Community-Based Broadband Solutions: The Benefits of Competition and Choice for Community Development and Highspeed Internet Access
Affordable, reliable access to high speed broadband is critical to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. Upgrading to higher-speed broadband lets consumers use the Internet in new ways, increases the productivity of American individuals and businesses, and drives innovation throughout the digital ecosystem. As this report describes, while the private sector has made investments to dramatically expand broadband access in the U.S., challenges still remain. Many markets remain unserved or underserved. Others do not benefit from the kind of competition that drives down costs and improves quality. To help fill the void, hundreds of towns and cities around the country have developed their own locally-owned networks. This report describes the benefits of higher-speed broadband access, the current challenges facing the market, and the benefits of competition – including competition from community broadband networks. - Executive Summary
On January 13, 2015, President Barack Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, to discuss his administration's plans to bring better connectivity to American residents and businesses. The centerpiece of his strategy involved removing state barriers to municipal networks and promoting local authority.
In tandem with that speech, the White House released this report. The report includes significant research from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, including community profiles, economic data, and the role if municipal networks in competition.
Communities included in the report are: Chattanooga; Lafayette, Louisiana; Wilson, North Carolina; Scott County, Minnesota; Leverett, Massachusetts; and the Choctaw National Tribal Area in Oklahoma.
The report also outlines President Obama's ancillary initiatives to encourage local projects and provides significant data from the ILSR Community Broadband Map.
Chattanooga Public Library Now Hosts GigLab
Entrepreneurs in Chattanooga now have a new space where they can try to answer the question, "What does one do with a gig?" The Chattanooga Public Library officially opened its GigLab in November.
The public space offers gigabit access in a lab environment so developers can take their ideas to the next level. The lab is supported by the Mozilla fund and the National Science Foundation. A recent Chattanooga.com article reports that:
The general public will now have access to enterprise level gigabit connected hardware, as well as a variety of short session and hands on courses regarding networking as a whole, and other gigabit focused projects.
Sean Brewer, one of the GigLab founders, writes on the blog:
The hope for The GigLab is to be a place where people can experiment, build prototypes, or just learn how to use hardware that they wouldn’t have access to. I am helping start a group that will be working through “Parallel and Concurrent Programming in Haskell”. The book has an entire section devoted to GPU computing, and I am excited that we will have access to this hardware at The GigLab to explore. Education removes the magic of the mysterious. I feel The GigLab can do that for high-performance computation.
Community Broadband Media Roundup - December 12, 2014
This week in Community Broadband networks... partnerships, cooperatives, and going-it-alone. For a background in muni networks, check out this recent article from FiscalNote. The article highlights Kansas and Utah's fight for improving beyond the minimum speeds.
Speaking of minimum, the FCC announced its new "rock bottom" for regulated broadband speeds. Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin reports that despite AT&T, Verizon, and the National Cable and Telecom Association's protests, ISPs that use government subsidies to build rural broadband networks must provide speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads.
Rural Americans should not be left behind those who live in big cities, the FCC announcement today said. "According to recent data, 99 percent of Americans living in urban areas have access to fixed broadband speeds of 10/1, which can accommodate more modern applications and uses. Moreover, the vast majority of urban households are able to subscribe to even faster service," the FCC said.
The FCC plans to offer nearly $1.8 billion a year to carriers willing to expand service to 5 million rural Americans.
This is a step in the right direction, but we are alarmed to see a download:upload ratio of 10:1. People in rural areas need to upload as well as download - our comments to the FCC strongly recommended raising the upstream threshold as well and we are very disappointed to see that remain a pathetic 1 Mbps.
And, from TechDirt's own "who can you trust if you can't trust the phone company department," Karl Bode found that a study by the AT&T-funded Progressive Policy Institute concluded that if Title II regulations were [no-glossary]passed[/no-glossary], the nation would be "awash in $15 billion in various new Federal and State taxes and fees. Bode writes that the study cherry-picked and conflated data:
Community Broadband Media Roundup - November 30, 2014
This week in community broadband, more communities are adding broadband to the list of essential utilities, and many of them are turning to Chattanooga as a model “gig city.”
As Times Free Press’s Dave Flessner reports, the great thing about Chattanooga's approach is that it’s not just about Internet. In fact, the broadband boom is really an unintended benefit of the city’s cutting edge smart grid, which keeps the city’s lights on and powers the economy as well.
"What we're going to try to do is bring some of the brilliant people from Warner Bros., Fox, Disney and IBM down here to Chattanooga to help them get their heads wrapped around this notion that you've got to stop worrying about scarcity," [Annenberg Innovation Lab director Jonathan] Taplan said.
Last year, T-Bone Burnett, a Grammy Award winner, performed "The Wild Side of Life" from a Los Angeles studio with Chuck Mead, a founder of the band BR549 who was on stage in Chattanooga.
"They sang a song together over 2,000 miles apart," Taplin said. "That's the power of gigabit Internet. I think we're just beginning to think of the possibilities of what this thing can do."
And Android Authority’s William Neilson Jr. explores the desire for faster connections and more choices.
“Isn’t it amazing how much faster broadband speeds are in parts of the country where there are a number of broadband options available to residents? How many times am I going to write an article detailing a broadband provider telling a city that they don’t need “fast” speeds even though the city is universally angry at their lack of broadband options?”
Of course, we see the product of how increased competition brings better service even more clearly in communities that have municipal networks, not just in Google's Kansas City network. It is an outcome that all communities can achieve if they regain the authority to do so.
Chris Joins Sarah Morris on Oregon Radio to Discuss Cost of Connectivity
This is the third year the Open Technology Institute (OTI) at New America Foundation studied the cost and quality of connectivity in the U.S. Once again, the results indicate we trail behind peer countries. On November 11th, Chris joined Sarah Morris, one of the report authors, to discuss the report's findings, municipal networks, and how Title II reclassification may change the landscape. They joined Dave Miller for the Think Out Loud program on Oregon Public Broadcasting.
In addition to detailed data analysis on where the best speeds and prices are, The Cost of Connectivity 2014 provides reviews of several other papers from sources such as Akamai, the FCC, and the American Enterprise Institute.
Some notable findings from the report:
- The average cost of plans in nearly every speed tier studied for the report was higher in the U.S. than in Europe.
- Cities considered speed leaders have consistently increased speed offerings on an annual basis. In places where the speed was not increased, as in Lafayette, rates decreased. Almost half of the speed leaders cities offer gigabit speeds.
OTI made special note of the success of municipal networks in places where traditional providers are not willing to invest:
Although there are many examples of successful locally-owned networks, we focus on Chattanooga, TN; Bristol, VA; and Lafayette, LA, which now offer some of the fastest and most affordable high-speed residential products available in the country despite the fact that they have some of the lowest population densities among the cities we survey.
"Envisioning a Gigabit Future" Reminder and Livestream Info
Chattanooga is a destination of choice for gigabit seekers and advocates for local choice, especially on Tuesday, November 18th. Next Century Cities and the Southeast Tennessee Development District will convene a field hearing titled "Envisioning the Gigabit Future." If you are not able to attend, the event will be live streamed.
Register to stream the event at http://conta.cc/1yRvAjG.
As a reminder, the event will be at The Church on Main in downtown Chattanooga from 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. EST.
Speakers will include Mayors, elected officials, and a long list of other local leaders with firsthand experience in bringing high speed access to their communities.
There is still time to register online to attend.
EPB Working with Department of Energy to Improve Smart Grid
EPB estimates local businesses have saved approximately $50 million by reducing lost productivity due to power outages by 60 percent over the past two years. Those figures are impressive but Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will be working with EPB to raise them even higher.
The Times Free Press recently reported that ORNL will send engineers to Chattanooga to optimize the use of data from the EPB smart grid. The goal will be to increase efficiency even further and to use their discoveries to help other U.S. electric utilities.
"We have to have a more reliable electric system," DePriest said after signing an agreement Monday to work with the Oak Ridge lab on electric grid improvements. "Electricity is essential to our modern way of life and we have to figure out ways to use all the data we are gathering in a quicker and more usable manner."
EPB's smart grid now gathers data in 15 minute increments whereas many utilities that have less sophisticated capabilities only collect data once or twice a month. EPB's system quickly discovers problems that can balloon into costly mistakes if not detected early.
As more people use solar, wind, or geothermal power, providing electricity or purchasing electricity from consumers becomes more complicated.
"We need to continue to innovate and get better," said Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary for DOE's electricity delivery and energy division. "Chattanooga has been a leader and we hope this will help us find ways to make our electric grid more efficient, more flexible and more reliable."
"Envisioning a Gigabit Future" on November 18th in Chattanooga
Next Century Cities and the Southeast Tennessee Development District will host an event on November 18th in Chattanooga entitled "Envisioning a Gigabit Future" at The Church on Main.
The field hearing runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. EST. Participants will hear from panelists who will discuss how and why gigabit infrastructure is quickly becoming a critical component to local community vitality.
From the invitation:
Chattanooga is one of America's first - and leading - truly "gigabit" communities. Although the city's investment and commitment has yielded dividends for the city itself, this is not just an issue of local or parochial concern. The potential for gigabit and next-generation broadband to improve America's communities is a national question, with national implications.
For example, Tennessee is one of about twenty states that restrict community broadband choice, prompting Chattanooga and Wilson, North Carolina (another such state), to petition the Federal Communications Commission to remove these restrictions so that Chattanooga and Wilson can expand their highly successful networks.
Speakers and panelists will include:
- Mayor Andy Berke, Chattanooga, TN
- Senator Janice Bowling, Tennessee State Senate (16th District)
- Mayor Gary Davis, Bradley County, TN
- Harold DePriest, President and CEO, EPB
- Jonathan Taplin, Director, Annenberg Innovation Lab, University of Southern California
- Tony Perez, Director of the Seattle Office of Cable Communications and President of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors
- Aldona Valicenti, Chief Information Officer, Lexington, KY
- Rick Usher, Assistant City Manager, Kansas City, MO
- Beth Jones, Executive Director, Southeast Tennessee Development District
You can register online for the free event.
Community Broadband Media Roundup - October 24
On this week’s community broadband media roundup, we have more reverberations from Next Century Cities, a forward-thinking coalition of cities that promises real progress in establishing or restoring local authority for broadband networks. For the inside scoop on the launch, we suggest taking a look at Ann L. Kim’s Friday Q&A with Deb Socia, the executive director of the organization.
Here’s an excerpt:
Q: So when you say you work with cities that are either looking to get next generation broadband or already have it, what does that entail?
A: …We are working with elected officials and also employees, like CIOs and city managers and so forth, and the goal is to really help them figure out their pathway. This is pretty hard work and we recognize that there’s always a local context and so we don’t advocate any one way to do this work, but we help cities think about it.
So [are] you gonna work with an incumbent provider, are you gonna build your own, are you gonna work with a private non-profit? How are you gonna make it happen? What are the alternatives for you? And how can we best support you?
Multichannel’s Jeff Baumgartner covered the launch in Santa Monica as well. The bipartisan coalition offers members collaboration opportunities and support for those communities that face incumbent pressure when they announce plans to move forward with publicly-owned broadband programs. According to China Topix’s David Curry, neither Comcast nor Time Warner Cable have made announcements about gig networks, “with Time Warner Cable even go as far as saying "customers don't want 1Gbps Internet speeds", a statement ridiculed on the Web.”
Rest assured, there will be much more coverage on this organization’s work in the weeks to come.