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Content tagged with "broadband"

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Catalyzing Connectivity: Triumphs and Trials in Community Broadband Initiatives - Episode 580 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on a special edition of the podcast, join us as we begin with a discussion with local leaders from East Carroll Parish, Louisiana. First Featured on ILSR's Building Local Power podcast, this first segment reveals the hurdles the leaders faced with expensive and inadequate broadband service. 

Despite resistance from a regional monopoly provider, their grassroots efforts to enhance Internet access triumphed. Explore with them on how they overcame obstacles and misleading data that was hindering competition.

Lest you think the situation in East Carroll Parish wasn't that bad, in the second segment we journey back to a 2014 episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. Christopher and Lisa parody the (based-on-real-life!) experience of trying to talk to the customer service of Big Cable companies, maybe hitting a little too close to home.

This show is 41 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.

Building and Expanding a Tribal Network for Northern Idaho and Beyond - Episode 578 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Valerie Fast Horse, the IT director and creator of Red Spectrum for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe. Red Spectrum, a broadband company, serves the Coeur d'Alene Reservation in North Idaho, covering nearly 380,000 acres of land.

Chris and Valerie discuss the history of the Red Spectrum and the efforts made over time to upgrade its infrastructure and continue to offer residents high-quality connections – transitioning from fixed wireless to fiber-to-the-home projects.

Valerie also discusses how Red Spectrum has expanded its services over the years, including subscribers both inside the reservation and areas outside of it, as well as barriers to expanding and the challenges of competition from other providers such as Starlink.

Despite the challenges they face, Red Spectrum continues to grow its network and uphold its high customer satisfaction rate, even bringing back subscribers who originally left for Starlink. Chris and Valerie conclude the conversation by emphasizing the importance of personal interest, community involvement, and local talent in building small, successful community broadband networks.

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 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.

CBN’s Signal to Noise Ratios Week of July 24

In this week’s round-up of broadband news, we culled three stories we think are worth reading.

How Much is Fast Enough?

The first is a story from Ars Technica – FCC chair: Speed standard of 25Mbps down, 3Mbps up isn’t good enough anymore – written by veteran IT reporter Jon Brodkin.

For years now, broadband-for-all advocates have lamented the FCC’s minimum broadband speed standard of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload as being laughably antiquated. Indeed, it’s been almost three years since we made the case for Why 25/3 Broadband Is Not Sufficient, though it was outdated long before then.

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Speed Test

But as Brodkin reported this week, the FCC’s minimum speed standard “could finally change under Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, who is proposing a fixed broadband standard of 100Mbps downloads and 20Mbps uploads along with a goal of bringing affordable service at those speeds to all Americans.”

Under Rosenworcel’s plan, the FCC would look at availability, speeds, and prices to determine whether the agency should take regulatory actions under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, which requires the FCC to determine if high-speed Internet access is being deployed "on a reasonable and timely basis" to all Americans.

CBN’s Signal To Noise Ratios

Now that there’s broad consensus high-speed Internet connectivity should be universally accessible, there’s no shortage of broadband news/content floating around out there.

There’s the wheat (more truthful, useful, and informative stuff); the chafe (a mundane grain of truth buried under a steaming pile of bs), and a vast spectrum of perspectives in between.

In this new space we will highlight insightful news stories, blog posts, podcasts, or videos we’ve come across over the past week or so – with an eye to separate the signal from the noise.

Downloading now …

What Happened to Gigi?

While the FCC has been defanged in many ways, the agency is still at the center of our shared telecommunication ecosystem. So when President Biden nominated Gigi Sohn to serve as the fifth and final commissioner to break the 2-2 partisan deadlock at the agency, numerous consumer and public interest groups were ecstatic. The nation’s telecommunication workers backed her nomination. She even had the respect and quiet support of a number of conservative lawmakers.

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Gigi Sohn AAPB press conference

But her nomination was sunk by a vicious smear campaign, which led her to withdraw herself from consideration in March.

At the Broadband Communities Summit in May she described the process both like being put in a “washing machine full of rocks” and going through “a 16 month proctology exam.”

Benton Announces New Call for Fellowship Applications

In its ongoing effort to support a new generation of broadband scholars, practitioners, and advocates, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has put out the call for new Opportunity Fund Fellowship applicants for the 2023-2024 cycle.

The Institute is looking for fellowship proposals that are particularly focused on:

 

  • Coalitions and capacity building at the state and local levels to implement and influence broadband programs
  • The extent and impact of digital discrimination
  • Building sustainable, affordable broadband for BEAD and beyond
  • The impact of broadband on communities - the benefits and the vulnerabilities
  • Evaluation frameworks to measure the impact of broadband funding

While that is not an exhaustive list of possible proposals, the Institute says it will “welcome other proposals of critical importance to our field that can better inform our current or emerging broadband policy debates,” adding that “we especially welcome applications that focus on historically marginalized communities.”

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Chalkboard with the word research written on it

Fellowships will range from $5,000 to $20,000 with a tenure ranging from 6 months to 2 years.

The application deadline is August 15.

More information about the fellowship can be found here. Questions about the fellowship opportunity should be emailed to fellowships@benton.org.

Annual Digital Infrastructure Investment Event in Washington DC

Joined by an array of leading broadband experts, infrastructure investment fund managers, institutional investors, private equity, and venture capitalists will gather in the nation’s capital next week for a day-long in-person conference to discuss and explore the digital infrastructure and investment asset profile required to support a 21st century information economy.

The Annual Digital Infrastructure Investment conference, which brings the broadband infrastructure and financial services communities together, will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at Clyde’s of Gallery Place in Washington, D.C. And though spots are filling up fast, there is still time to register to attend here.

The conference program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and run until 3:30 p.m. and will feature four panels. The first panel – What’s the State of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA)? – will be led by moderator Gabriella Novello, Assistant Editor of Communications Daily, and Glen Howie, Director, Arkansas State Broadband Office. The panel will explore how state broadband offices are feeling about the pace of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in moving the BEAN program forward, what states are doing to prepare for it, how big of an impact the infrastructure bill will have on the broadband industry.

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The second panel – Broadband Mapping: Are We on the Right Track or the Wrong Track? – will include Bryan Darr, Executive Vice President of Smart Communities at Ookla and Jim Stegeman, President of CostQuest Associates. That panel will get into the nitty gritty of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) quest to publish more accurate broadband maps.

Benton Institute Puts Out Call for Opportunity Fund Fellowship

As part of its ongoing effort to support a new generation of broadband scholars, practitioners, and advocates, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society has put out the call for fellowship applicants looking to further their studies on broadband access, adoption, equity, and use.

In a recent newsletter, the Institute says they “are interested in supporting a range of projects that can better inform our current or emerging broadband policy debates, either through critical research about the future of the Internet in our communities or the development of best practices and tools to advance our field’s work.”

More specifically, they are seeking “proposed projects (that) can yield either practice or research-focused publications or multimedia content.”

Some potential topics include:

  • How are grassroots organizations and coalitions working to advance digital equity?
  • How can we best measure and map the availability and quality of broadband?
  • What state and local policy levers can influence broadband availability and adoption?
  • How does improved access to broadband impact local economies and communities?
  • What resources and information do state legislators or government agencies need to ensure universal broadband access and adoption?

The Institute goes on to explain how those topics are “by no means an exhaustive list” and that applicants “should feel free to propose other ideas of critical importance to our field;" noting also that the Institute is especially interested in applications that focus on historically marginalized communities.

AARP Minnesota Broadband Webinar Slated for Next Week

AARP Minnesota has taken notice: “broadband infrastructure has not been deployed evenly to communities across the state.”

In an effort to raise awareness about the “good news” of state and federal investments to expand infrastructure and how local leaders and residents can learn how to push for better broadband access in their communities, the Minnesota chapter of the AARP will host a “Critical Access: Broadband Expansion in Minnesota” webinar beginning at 1 p.m. CT Wednesday, Aug. 24.

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Our own Christopher Mitchell, Director of Community Broadband Networks with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, will be a featured speaker for the one-hour event and will be joined by Cathy McLeer, State Director for AARP Minnesota, as well as Lori Vrolson, Executive Director of the Central Minnesota Council on Aging.

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McLeer has been with AARP Minnesota since 2005, having first served as the Associate State Director for Communications in the South Dakota State Office, then as a Senior Advisor for the Central Region, before becoming the Minnesota State Director where she has been a powerful advocate on behalf of Minnesota’s 630,000 AARP members.

Current Events in Broadband | Join us May 5th, at 4pm ET for Connect This! Episode 41

Hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by regular guests Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) to roundup the latest news in community broadband. A special guest may join later in the show.

Subscribe to the show using this feed on YouTube Live or here on Facebook Live, on find it on the Connect This! page.

Email us broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Watch here on YouTube Live, here on Facebook live, or below.

A Community Guide to Federal Broadband Funding Opportunities

Update, 1/22/22: Common Sense Media has released an easy-to-read, comprehensive guide to federal broadband funding opportunities. Read it here.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Congress and the Biden Administration passed two federal stimulus relief packages with historic levels of funding for programs devoted to advancing digital equity – the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA). 

In early August, legislators in the U.S. Senate passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package which continues many of the federal programs started by previous relief packages and includes $65 billion more for expanding high-speed Internet infrastructure and connectivity. Members of Congress returned from their summer break on September 20th and U.S. House Representatives are expected to vote on the infrastructure relief bill, which enjoys bipartisan support, on September 30th.

This guide consolidates the different funding opportunities made available through various relief packages to assist communities interested in accessing federal funds to expand broadband infrastructure and digital inclusion services. It updates ILSR’s Community Guide to Broadband Funding released in April of 2021, which describes programs established under ARPA and CAA in more detail, provides additional resources and answers FAQs.

Important upcoming deadlines are bolded throughout this guide. 

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – Pending