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Westminster recently officially lit up the new fiber network with its partner Ting. They create several videos to record the event, including this montage of interviews with movers and shakers in the municipal network industry. The two partners announced their agreement earlier this year: the city will own the infrastructure and Ting will provide retail services to local residents and businesses via the network.
In the video you will see Dr. Robert Wack, the City Council Member behind the initiative, along with leading telecom attorney Jim Baller, Gigi Sohn from the FCC, and Deb Socia who heads up Next Century Cities.
Check it out:
If you were not able to attend Freedom to Connect in New York on March 2 - 3, you can now view archived video of presentations from Chris and others.
Now that the FCC has made a determination that may change the landscape of Internet access, it is time to consider the future of municipal networks. In this discussion, Chris discusses passive infrastructure, including dark fiber and open access models as a way to encourage competition on the local level. Chris also looks at financing municipal networks in a fashion that takes into account public benefits created by fiber. He suggests steps elected officials can take now that will contribute to long term ubiquitous access in their communities.
You can also watch videos from other presenters including Joanne Hovis, Hannah Sassaman, and Jim Baller at the F2C: Freedom to Connect 2015 Livestream page.
Chris's presentation is posted here and runs just over 20 minutes:
After anticipating this moment for many months, we have a ruling from the FCC that has restored local authority to build and expand networks in North Carolina and Tennessee. Though we have already pulled out the key passages for readers, we wanted to discuss the decision with Jim Baller of Baller, Herbst, Stokes, & Lide.
Jim worked with Wilson and Chattanooga in crafting their petitions and sat down with me last week at the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities Broadband Conference in Des Moines last week. We went over the key issues in the ruling, including why the FCC had authority to take action, how the state laws limited investment in advanced Internet networks, the impact of the ruling, and what comes next. See our other podcasts with Jim as well as articles that we tagged him in here.
Read the FCC's Memorandum and Order here [pdf].
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 Persson for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is "Blues walk."
In light of the recent FCC decision to restore some local telecommunications authority in Tennessee and North Carolina, it is time to examine the details. Join leading telecom attorneys Jim Baller and Marty Stern as they host a live BroadbandUS.TV webcast on March 13th to discuss Title II, network neutrality, and new possibilities for munis.
The event begins at 1 p.m. ET and is titled FCC Takes Charge - Net Neutrality and Muni Broadband: New Title II Rules for Broadband Access and Preempting State Limits on Municipal Networks. Registration is available at the BroadbandUS.TV website. More info about the event:
In this special edition of Broadband US TV we examine two historic decisions from the FCC: The decision to classify broadband access as a Title II service, and the preemption of state laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that placed limits on municipal broadband networks. We’ll dive into these issues with two panels of prominent players and experts on both sides of these white hot issues. Hear details about the rulings, predictions on implementation and court challenges, and what these rulings are likely to portend for broadband in America over the next year and beyond. On the muni broadband panel, our own Jim Baller, lead counsel to Chattanooga and Wilson before the FCC, will go from host to panelist and mix it up with our other guests. We’ll be sure not to cut him any slack.
Guests will be:
Title II and Broadband -- Pipedream or New Reality
- Craig Aaron, President, Free Press
- Chris Lewis, VP, Government Affairs, Public Knowledge
- Sarah Morris, Senior Policy Counsel, New America Foundation, Open Technology Initiative
- Hank Hultquist, VP, Federal Regulatory, AT&T
- Barbara Esbin, Outside Counsel, American Cable Association
- Jonathan Banks, Senior VP, Law and Policy, US Telecom Association
Last week, the FCC made history when it chose to restore local telecommunications authority by nullifying state barriers in Tennessee and North Carolina. Waiting in the wings were Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Senator Thom Tillis from Tennessee and North Carolina respectively, with their legislation to cut off the FCC at the knees. [A PDF of the draft legislation is available online.]
Readers will remember Blackburn from last year. She introduced a similar measure in the form of an amendment to an appropriations bill. Blackburn has repeatedly attributed her attempts to block local authority to her mission to preserve the rights of states. A Broadcasting and Cable article quoted her:
“The FCC’s decision to grant the petitions of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina is a troubling power grab,” Blackburn said. “States are sovereign entities that have Constitutional rights, which should be respected rather than trampled upon. They know best how to manage their limited taxpayer dollars and financial ventures."
Thom Tillis, the other half of this Dystopian Duo, released a statement just hours after the FCC decision:
“Representative Blackburn and I recognize the need for Congress to step in and take action to keep unelected bureaucrats from acting contrary to the expressed will of the American people through their state legislatures.”
If you are still contemplating whether or not to trek to New York City on March 2nd and 3rd for Freedom to Connect 2015, now is the time to take action. Tickets are going fast and seats are limited. ATTENDANCE IS BY REGISTRATION ONLY and this year the event is hot!
A working agenda has just been posted. An email from David Isenberg, who tirelessly plans and promotes the event every year, described some of the issues to be discussed:
- The aspects of the Internet's protocol suite that make it the success it has become
- The all-fronts attack on the Internet by the National Security Agency
- How community controlled networks, especially the fiber to the home networks being built by communities such as Chattanooga TN and Wilson NC, as well as alternative networks being built by Google, Ting and others, are challenging incumbent telcos and cablecos
- Title II as the centerpiece of the FCC Open Internet Report and Order
The agenda will continue to develop as planning progresses, so be sure to revisit.
Guest speakers include:
- Chris Mitchell from ILSR and MuniNetworks.org
- Susan Crawford, Cardozo Law School
- Harold Feld, Public Knowledge
- Jim Baller, Baller Herbst Stokes & Lide
- Deb Socia, Next Century Cities
- Gigi Sohn, FCC
- Tim Wu, Columbia Law School
...and many, many others.
Time and again, we share economic development stories from communities that have invested in fiber networks. A new article by Jim Baller, Joanne Hovis, and Ashley Stelfox from the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) and Masha Zager from Broadband Communities magazine examines the meaning of economic development and the connection to fiber infrastructure.
Economists, advocates, and policymakers grapple with how to scientifically measure the link between the two but:
As Graham Richard, former mayor of Fort Wayne, Ind., observed, “From the point of view of retaining and gaining jobs, I can give you example after example [of the impact of broadband]. … What I don’t have is a long term, double-blind study that says it was just broadband.” But, “as a leader, sometimes you go with your gut.”
In addition to presenting examples from a number of communities such as Chattanooga, Lafayette, and Santa Monica, the article nicely summarizes key information from recent reports on links between broadband and real estate value, household income, and local economic growth.
As the authors note:
Communities increasingly recognize that fiber networks also provide critical benefits for education, public safety, health care, transportation, energy, environmental protection, urban revitalization, government service and much more. But only in revitalizing and modernizing local economies and creating meaningful, well-paying jobs do community leaders, businesses, institutions and residents consistently find common ground. In short, economic development and job creation can fairly be called the “killer app” for local fiber networks.
Worth reading and sharing!
Thanks to Jeff Hoel for providing the transcript for the Episode 63 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast with Jim Baller on second part of the History of Municipal Networks. Listen to this episode here.
Jim Baller: It is the code of omerta within the cable industry that you don't compete with an existing system.
Lisa Gonzalez: Hi there. This is Lisa Gonzalez, from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Welcome again to the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. Large corporate providers enjoy lack of competition within the status quo. Unfortunately, those same providers often refuse to build in communities without the potential for large enough profits, or where they would encounter competition. What is a local community to do when existing providers see no reason to serve their community? Several weeks ago, we brought you Jim Baller, President and Senior Principal of the Baller Herbst Law Group. Baller Herbst has worked with local communities for years, as they have found ways to provide connectivity to residents, businesses, and government. During episode 57, Jim and Chris discussed some of Jim's experiences with early legal battles, as publicly-owned networks began to pop up across the country. This time, Jim and Chris continue to explore the history of publicly-owned networks. As momentum builds, and more communities consider the pros and cons, past experiences can mold future decisions. Here are Jim and Chris with more on the early days of the municipal network movement.
Chris MItchell: Welcome back to another episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast. This is Chris Mitchell. And once again I'm speaking with Jim Baller. Jim, welcome back to the show.
Jim Baller: Thank you, Chris. I'm happy to be here.
Jim Baller and Joanne Hovis, two leading voices in the drive to restore local authority, recently spoke with Craig Settles on Gigabit Nation. Baller and Hovis, the President and the CEO, of The Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) spent about an hour discussing how CLIC is finding ways to help businesses, individuals, and public entities work with elected officials to retain or regain the right for local authority.
From the Gigabit Nation website:
Listeners gather insights to working with willing incumbents, developing public-private partnerships, establishing their own networks when necessary, or creating other inventive approaches that work for their communities. Both guests share their many years of experience in helping communities obtain the many benefits of advanced communications capabilities. Baller and Hovis formed CLIC to give voice to the wide range of public and private interests that support local choice and to provide communities practical advice and the tools necessary to prevent new state barriers from being enacted and to remove existing barriers.
The possible merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable and the FCC's recent announcement to review state barriers have created a significant buzz in the world of telecommunications. Two recent NPR interviews with Susan Crawford and Jim Baller provide insight into how the merger may affect consumers and why a new light is shining on municipal networks.
Crawford spoke with Brooke Gladstone for a recent interview for On the Media. The two addressed some of the consequences of the potential merger. Crawford also discussed the option of municipal broadband investment is an alternative gaining traction. As our readers know, Crawford authored Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. Crawford joined us in a past episode of the Communiy Broadband Bits podcast.
Jim Baller, President of the Baller Herbst Law Group, also joined On the Media when he spoke with Bob Garfield. Baller and Garfield talked about the cable and telecom lobby's efforts to block municipal authority to build networks. Baller supplied a few of the many examples of successful communities that have blossomed as a result of their investment. We have interviewed Baller three times for our podcast.
Each interview is a little over six minutes.