public private partnerships

Content tagged with "public private partnerships"

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Destination Crenshaw Breathes Life Into 'Open Air Museum' and Emerging ‘Digital Equity Zone’

On a map, the Crenshaw District is a 2.9 square-mile neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, home to nearly 30,000 mostly black residents.

In the popular imagination, Crenshaw is the backdrop for the Oscar-nominated movie "Boyz In the Hood" – the real life neighborhood that cultivated the likes of former Los Angeles Mayor Thomas Bradley; rappers-turned-actors Ice Cube and Ice T; and the late rapper/entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle.

But on the streets of Crenshaw, a transformative vision is unfolding – an initiative local leaders describe as “a reparative development project.”

The idea is to inspire and empower neighborhood residents with strategic investments rather than displace them through gentrification. The effort is being led by Destination Crenshaw, a nonprofit community organization established in 2017 to celebrate the history and culture of Black Los Angeles.

The most visible part of the vision is to create the largest Black public art project in the nation along Crenshaw Boulevard, the 1.3 mile spine of the neighborhood – or what Destination Crenshaw describes as an “open air museum” centered around “pocket parks” and a “comprehensive streetscape design” that will feature commissioned murals and sculptures from local Black artists.

Yellow Springs, Ohio Eyes Next Steps After Successful Fiber Trial

Yellow Springs, Ohio has been thinking about a city-owned fiber network since 2016, when the municipality issued its first white paper discussing its potential benefits.

Since then, the city has made steady inroads on making those plans a reality, recently culminating in a fiber pilot project currently being used by 100 local homes and businesses.

Launched in 2022, the pilot project currently offers locals two tiers of fiber access: A “standard tier” at a symmetrical 300 megabits per second (Mbps) for $45 a month, and a “premium” tier offering symmetrical gig speed service for $65 a month. There currently are no usage caps, long-term contracts, or installation fees.

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Downtown Yellow Springs

“Final pricing will be determined after the pilot project, and could be higher or lower depending on the ‘take rate,’ customer service offerings, and other knowledge gained from the pilot,” the project FAQ states.

Currently the fiber network covers roughly 600 potential homes around Yellow Springs, and was funded entirely via a $300,000 grant from Broadband Ohio. The city also provides free Wi-Fi via 12 Wi-Fi access points spread throughout the city’s downtown business district.

Like so many U.S. communities, Yellow Springs sees a dearth of meaningful broadband competition, resulting in spotty access, high prices, and substandard service.

Charter Communications (Spectrum) enjoys a monopoly over next-gen broadband access across the majority of the city. Some areas are peppered with sluggish and expensive AT&T DSL.

The Success of Urbana-Champaign's Broadband Revolution - Episode 601 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

In this episode of the podcast, Chris sits down with Paul Hixson and Mike Smeltzer to discuss the transformative UC2B (Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband) project. Paul Hixson, co-chair of UC2B and former CIO of the University of Illinois, and Mike Smeltzer, often referred to as the "father of UC2B," share their insights and experiences from the inception of the initiative to its current status.

The conversation delves into the origins of UC2B, which received initial funding through an NTIA grant as part of the 2009 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The project aimed to build a robust fiber optic infrastructure to serve the Champaign-Urbana area, including underserved neighborhoods and a wide array of anchor institutions like schools, libraries, senior centers, and even a Zen meditation center.

They discuss the significant impact UC2B has had on local broadband competition, driving other providers to improve their services and infrastructure. Paul and Mike reflect on the challenges and successes over the past decade, highlighting the public-private partnership that has been crucial to the project’s sustainability and growth. As of today, UC2B is nearing the completion of its goal to provide high-speed fiber access to every home and business in Champaign-Urbana, demonstrating a model for community-driven broadband initiatives nationwide.

Join us to learn about the history, challenges, and triumphs of UC2B, and get inspired by the potential of community broadband projects to bridge the digital divide and foster economic growth.

This show is 31 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.

Schoharie County, NY Eyes New Fiber Network On Back Of $30 Million Grant

Schoharie County, New York officials have applied for a $30 million New York State ConnectALL grant with the hopes of eventually building a $33 million, county-wide fiber network.

The shape and scope of the network has yet to be determined, but the county hopes to build a network that brings affordable access to the rural, agriculture-heavy county.

“Schoharie County applied for the grant under the NYS MIP program on April 19th, in an attempt to bring high speed broadband access to every premise in the county,” Deputy County Administrator Jim Halios told ILSR.

Notoriously over-optimistic FCC data currently states that Schoharie County enjoys 92 percent broadband coverage county-wide. In reality, broadband access in the county is largely dominated by a monopoly enjoyed by Charter Spectrum, which was nearly kicked out of the state entirely in 2019 for misleading regulators and failing to evenly deploy access.

Broadband Champion Jim Baller Presented With Lifetime Achievement Award

Whether it's supporting municipal broadband projects, fostering public-private partnerships, or advocating for laws and policies to improve local Internet choice, for decades James (Jim) Baller has distinguished himself as a telecom attorney fighting for the rights of communities to decide their own digital futures.

This week, Baller’s trailblazing career was honored at the 50th Anniversary Gala of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) in Washington D.C. where he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award as ILSR celebrated a half-century of advocacy work to promote and sustain vibrant local communities.

“I am very grateful for this award, which highlights my dedication to informed local broadband choice,” Baller said in accepting the award at the Howard Theater. “Thank you to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for this recognition and for emphasizing the positive impact of community-driven broadband initiatives.”

Introducing Baller to a packed theater, ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative Director Christopher Mitchell described him as “someone who has shaped our work and has meant a lot for the entire nation.”

Mitchell said not only has Baller worked with countless communities and clients across the country who have benefited from his expert legal advice, but went on to note Baller's legacy and leadership:

"Jim Baller worked on the first municipal broadband project, shaped many of the people organizing for better broadband, and has consistently worked on effective ways to improve Internet access for everyone.”

Currently serving as Senior Counsel with Keller and Heckman’s Telecommunications practice, Baller has long been a leading legal practitioner helping communities do the important nitty gritty work involved in providing better broadband – from the siting of wireless network facilities and managing rights-of-way to negotiating fiber network pole attachments and public private partnerships.

Joplin, Missouri Strikes Partnership With ALLO Fiber To Beef Up Local Broadband Competition

Joplin, Missouri has announced a new broadband public-private partnership (PPP) with ALLO Fiber that should help boost competition and lower rates across the city of 52,000. The partnership poses a particular challenge to regional cable giant CableOne, which currently enjoys a monopoly over broadband access across a whopping 83 percent of the city.

Outside of a $5 million city contribution to harden key city infrastructure, the network will be entirely built, funded, owned and operated by ALLO.

The origins of the project extend back to 2019, when the city first began exploring efforts to modernize Joplin infrastructure under a “smart city” initiative. By 2021 the city had hired Finley Engineering and CCG Consulting to conduct a feasibility study exploring the technical and financial details of a city-owned fiber network.

Fed up by expensive and substandard broadband access and buoyed by public support, in 2022 the city issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a partner that would help build such a network. The city received nine responses to the RFP. Last month, the Joplin City Council approved an ordinance by a vote of 8-1 selecting ALLO as the city’s primary partner.

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Downtown Joplin

“ALLO really stood out because they were coming to our market without asking us for any assistance,” Troy Bolander, Joplin’s head of Planning, Development & Neighborhood Services, recently told Fierce Network.

Selma, 17 Other Alabama Communities Will See Construction of $230 Million Open Access Fiber Network

Selma, Alabama – and parts of 16 other communities in eight different counties – will soon be connected to a new, $230 million open access fiber network that aims to bring affordable broadband to historically marginalized sections of the Yellowhammer State.

The deployment comes courtesy of a public private partnership (PPP) the city has struck with Meridiam Infrastructure and Meridiam-owned YellowHammer IT, an agreement that will expand fiber access across Alabama’s Black Belt region on the back of a $5.1 million Capital Projects Fund (CPF) grant.

At a March 2 press conference, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. said the partnership with Meridiam and Yellowhammer should result in fiber access being deployed to 85 percent of city homes and businesses, regardless of residents’ income levels, with $45 million of the $230 million investment dedicated to bring fiber service to Selma, the “Queen City of the Black Belt.

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Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr.

“High-speed reliable broadband is no longer nice to have. Today, it’s as important as gas, water, and electricity,” Perkins stated at the event. “In our increasingly digital society, cities without access to fiber broadband risk falling behind. It’s critical that the City of Selma makes fiber broadband accessible citywide by building utility-like infrastructure that serves our residents’ needs today and for generations to come.”

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.

Golden, Colorado Strikes Right Of Way Agreement With Google Fiber

Golden, Colorado has struck a new right-of-way agreement with Google Fiber that should expedite the competitive delivery of affordable fiber to the city of 20,000.

The deal gives Google Fiber non-exclusive access to public right-of-way to build a commercial broadband network, though it delivers no guarantee of uniform access across the entire city.

In a memo to the Golden City Council, Chief Innovation and Technology Officer Jiles McCoy said the city’s new agreement “would act as a template for any future companies wishing to build broadband services in the Golden right of way.”

The move comes after years of discussion in the city as to how to improve local broadband competition, reduce prices, and expand affordable access.

In 2016, Golden residents voted to opt out of a now defunct state law, ghost written by regional broadband monopolies, restricting the construction and operation of community owned and operated broadband networks. Last year Colorado leaders finally eliminated the law completely, opening the door to greater expansion of community-owned networks.

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In 2019 the city completed a feasibility study showing that the construction of a full city-owned fiber network would cost $37 million. Instead of tackling the entire project at once, advisers recommended the city proceed in phases, beginning with the construction of a $3.8 million, 10.5 mile fiber ring connecting key community anchor institutions.

Boulder, Colorado Issues New RFP For Citywide Fiber Build

Boulder, Colorado officials have issued a new request for proposal (RFP) seeking partners for their ongoing quest to deliver affordable fiber to the city of 104,000.

According to an announcement by Boulder leaders, the city is offering potential partners a long-term lease of city-owned dark-fiber backbone infrastructure and a right of way agreement for the construction and operation of a network delivering Internet service offering 1 Gbps or more to all Boulder homes and businesses. Responses are due by March 1.

When we last checked in with Boulder in April of last year, the city was putting the finishing touches on a $20 million, 65-mile dark fiber backbone, funded by the competitive sale of its 2018 Broadband Taxable Certificates of Participation (COPs). The competitive sale was used to ensure that Boulder could get the lowest interest rates possible in financing the construction of the backbone.

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Boulder Colo fiber backbone map

While the process was technically started back in 2018, and then delayed by the pandemic, city officials remained committed to moving the project forward.

“What we are trying to do in Boulder – if we can find the right partner or partners – is about creating more competition; increase the competitive marketplace locally,” project manager and independent consultant Tim Scott told ILSR last year.

Like so many U.S. communities, Boulder sees limited competition between the local cable company (Comcast) and the local phone company (Centurylink/Lumen) resulting in slow speeds, spotty coverage, high prices, and substandard customer service.