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Burlington Telecom customers love their local muni. Throughout the community's political, legal, and financial challenges, residents and businesses have rallied behind the ability to control their access locally. As part of their efforts to educate the community, Code for BTV and Keep BT Local brought Chris to town to discuss community ownership. The video of his presentation is now available online at Burlington's Town Meeting Television.
Chris discussed a variety of community ownership and said of Burlington:
"When it comes down to getting community support to raising capital and understanding the value of a cooperative, Burlington's about the best place in the country to be trying to do that."
Keep BT Local began officially organizing in late 2012. Their goal is to transform the municipal network into a cooperative structure on order to protect local interest in the service. The gigabit network has won awards, partnered with local nonprofits to improve digital inclusion, and offered local services such as computer repair, setting it apart from the distant corporate providers with no interest in local communities.
No wonder Burlingtonians want to keep their network! This is an informative conversation that touches on a variety of topics including how to fire up potential cooperative members, strategies to entice community anchors, and promoting the unique characteristics of a local network.
The video runs about one hour and twenty minutes.
Members of the Burlington community are hosting a luncheon on Friday, September 19th, to discuss ways to help keep BT local. Chris, as one of the leading experts on municipal broadband, will be leading the discussion. We have followed BurlingtonTelecom's challenges and victories since 2008.
The event is titled "How Do We Keep Burlington Telecom Local?" and will be at the CCTV Center for Media & Democracy in Burlington. From the announcement:
Many Burlington residents and activists are concerned about the City of Burlington’s plans to sell Burlington Telecom to a private entity by 2017. While the City is committed to BT as a driver for economic and community development, it currently has no specific plans to retain a meaningful ownership stake in the new entity.
The event is part of a series of community talks aimed at maintaining public input as the City prepares to move forward.
A free discussion will begin at 11 a.m.; it will be followed by lunch for $15. You can now register online. For those who want to learn more about the network and keep up on the latest developments, CCTV of Vermont has put together a resource page detailing upcoming steps with news coverage, video, and court documents.
Join Chris in Springfield, Massachusetts for the Community Fiber Networks conference in September. The meet-up is part of Broadband Communities Magazine's Economic Development series; Chris will present at the event. The conference will run September 16 - 18 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel.
Jim Baller, Conference Chairman and Principal at the Baller Herbst Law Group notes:
During the last fifteen years, thousands of communities across the United States have sought to attract or develop advanced communications networks, recognizing that such networks can provide them and the nation multiple strategic advantages in the increasingly competitive global economy. In virtually every case, fostering robust economic development has ranked at or near the top of the list of considerations motivating these communities.
If you missed Chris in D.C. at the New America Foundation on May 28th, you can still catch the action via the archived presentation.
Chris joined Joanne Hovis, Will Aycock, and Catharine Rice to discuss "Localism Over Consolidation: An Exploration of Public Broadband Options." New America Foundation writes:
Today, more and more communities are thinking of broadband as a local issue. Even large cities like Baltimore, Seattle and New York have recently begun public discussions about ways to improve broadband services and what role the local government could play in that improvement. Current technology policy debates about net neutrality and the potential Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger mean it is more important than ever that local governments play a more active role in ensuring their communities do not get left behind in the digital age.
New America’s Open Technology Institute presented a discussion of various approaches to local investment in broadband. The panel featured a diverse set of experts on public broadband networks and projects, including the manager of a municipal fiber network in Wilson, NC. Panelists discussed different approaches communities have taken so far and share thoughts on what steps other local governments can take going forward to support access to affordable and high-speed broadband.
The discussion runs just under 90 minutes.
You Are Cordially Invited: June 17th Discussion on Cable Companies, Monopolies, and Community Networks
On Tuesday June 17th, Chris will be participating in a conversation hosted by the Media Consortium as part of its Media Policy Reporting and Education Program (MPREP). You are invited to sit in on what is sure to be a spirited discussion on community networks and the lack of competition in the cable industry.
What: Community Fiber Networks: A Realistic Solution to Cable Monopoly?
When: Tuesday, June 17, 3pm ET/ 12 PT
Who: Joining Chris will be:
Ryan Radia, Associate Director for Technology Studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He is critical of government-run or regulated projects in general, and specifically critical of community networks.
Wayne Pyle, City Manager and CEO of West Valley City, Utah's second largest municipality, and also chair of the board of UTOPIA, the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency, a community network serving 11 cities.
This is the first of several monthly briefings hosted by MPREP to discuss media policy issues. Everyone is welcome to participate. Register online for this discussion.
The Blandin Foundation will be offering a webinar featuring Chris Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance on Thursday, June 12 from 3 - 4 p.m. central time.
The discussion, titled "Approaches for Local Governments to Expand Internet Access," will include lessons learned from communities such as Lac qui Parle County, Windom, and several other Greater Minnesota communities.
We recently published a policy brief, Minnesota Governments Advance Super-Fast Internet Networks, that examines these and other communities in rural Minnesota. You can download the brief to read more.
The webinar is free for participants - register online. See you there!
Plan on spending Thursday, October 9 in Mount Vernon, Washington. Chris will speak with three other experts on creating a local environment attractive to the tech industry.
The "Connect With The World" event will occur at Skagit Valley College's MacIntyre Hall from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. PDT. Other speakers will be:
Mark Anderson: One of FORTUNE's “100 Smartest People We Know,” Mark is a frequently sought after speaker around the world. His long- running weekly newsletter, Strategic News Service (SNS), counts a stellar readership, including the likes of Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.
Susannah Malarkey: Executive Director of the Technology Alliance, a statewide organization of leaders from technology businesses and research institutions dedicated to Washington’s long-term economic success.
Craig Settles: Municipal broadband expert for journalists at CNN, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time Magazine and a host of business, technology and local media outlets.
Mount Vernon's municipal open access fiber network serves public entities and businesses within the City, in nearby Burlington, and in the Port Skagit area. The community began the project in 1995 and developed the network incrementally. We spoke with Kim Kleppe, Information Systems Director, and Jana Hansen, Community & Economic Development Director, in episode 38 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.
For more on the event, contact Jana at (360)336-6214 or email her at: email@example.com.
"Localism Over Consolidation: An Exploration of Public Broadband Options" May 28th at New America Foundation in DC
New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute will host "Localism Over Consolidation: An Exploration of Public Broadband Options" from 9:30 - 11 a.m. on May 28th. Chris will be participating in the discussion; if you can't make it to DC, the event will be live streamed.
Conversation will focus on different approaches to improve connectivity and community strategies to make those approaches successful.
From the event page:
Today, more and more communities are thinking of broadband as a local issue. Even large cities like Baltimore, Seattle and Los Angeles have recently begun public discussions about ways to improve broadband services and what role the local government could play in that improvement. Current technology policy debates about net neutrality and the potential Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger mean it is more important than ever that local governments play a more active role in ensuring their communities do not get left behind in the digital age.
- Joanne Hovis,President, CTC Technology & Energy, @joannehovis
- Will Aycock, General Manager, Greenlight, Wilson, NC, @greenlightnc
- Catharine Rice, President, SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SEATOA), @seatoa
Sarah Morris, Senior Policy Counsel at the New America Open Technology Institute will moderate. You can sign up for the event and livestream on the 28th at the event page.
If you can make it to Vail in early June, you can enjoy more than the summer mountains. The Mountain Connect Rural Broadband Conference is scheduled for June 8, 9, and 10 at the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa.
From the conference website:
This year our conference theme is “Progress through Education” and it’s our hope that, through our conference topics and speakers, we explore lessons learned and alternative ideas to successfully implement rural broadband initiatives. For the first time in our MountainConnect history, we are soliciting voices from around the U.S. to broaden our knowledge base and, in some ways, take us down a path we have yet to travel.
Topics include economic development, fiber and wireless communities, telehealth, education, digital media consumption trends, and legislation.
Speakers include a long list of familiar names from private industry, education, and public policy.
Chris will be moderating a panel on community networks on June 9th at 4 p.m. You can check out the full agenda online to plan your visit.
"DIY Tools and Strategies for Communities Google Fiber is NOT Calling" Webinar from Blandin May 8th, 3 - 4 p.m.
The Blandin Foundation is hosting another informative webinar on May 8th from 3-4 p.m. central. This free webinar will focus on some of the most common issues facing communities that want to move forward with broadband initiatives. Ron Corriveau of COS Systems will offer his expertise. The webinar is titled “DIY Tools and Strategies for Communities Google Fiber is NOT calling.”
From the Blandin webinar announcement:
When community broadband advocates gather around the table to launch broadband initiatives with the ultimate goal of FTTH network deployment, many questions quickly emerge. Important considerations of cost, consumer demand, network design rise to the top of the discussion. Unfortunately, in most community initiatives, there is a shortage of engineers, marketing analysts and utility construction expertise serving on local task forces. How can a community get an initial understanding of the deployment and business opportunities without hiring a full slate of consultants? How can a community deal on more equal footing with prospective network provider partners? COS Systems has technology that can help communities through these initial stages and provide ongoing value through the stages of project development. Learn more about best practices in broadband project planning and design process.
Registration is easy. See you then!