On Wednesday, some of us joined Broadband Breakfast to talk about the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Community Broadband Network approach to infrastructure funding. It was a lively and fun conversation, touching also on the new Treasury Final Rules for the Rescue Plan funding, affordability challenges, the value of competition, and how we hope these funds shape up.
On the panel was DeAnne Cuellar, Sean Gonsalves, Ry Marcattilio-McCracken, Christopher Mitchell, and Drew Clark. Watch the session here, or below.
Join us live on Monday, October 25th at 5pm ET for Episode 23 of the Connect This! Show, where co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by Neil Mylet and Deb Simpier (Althea Networks) to talk about grassroots networking. They'll dive into into the hardware and software considerations made in building hyperlocal networks, and bringing together people passionate about returning knowledge and control to build more resilient communities.
Join us live this Thursday, October 14th at 5pm ET for Episode 22 of the Connect This! Show, where co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by Dennis Pappas (Longmont, Colorado) and Christy Batts (Clarksville, Tennessee) to talk about large municipalities successfully deploying broadband infrastructure for an array of community benefits.
Longmont, Colorado's Nextlight has been wildly successful during its first five years of life in uncommon ways. Clarksville, Tennessee's CDE Lightband has overcome early challenges to bring significant savings to the public, especially to members of the municipal electric utility. Christopher, Travis, Dennis, and Christy come together to unpack how they got there and what it means for the future.
This week, don't miss a very special episode of the Connect This! Show, streaming live from the Minneapolis headquarters of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance for the very first time!
Co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be broadcasting with most of the Community Broadband Networks initiative team watching from the peanut gallery. They will be joined virtually by Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) to dive into the nitty gritty of broadband infrastructure and talk about permitting, rights of way (ROW), and all the day-to-day minutae of turning a network design into physical reality.
They'll talk about building good relationships with local government, planning ahead, overcoming unanticipated challenges, and finding creative solutions to permitting and right of way issues. We'll see some entities that have done it well, and others that have done it poorly.
A week from today, the Schools, Health, and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB) is hosting a fireside chat on Tuesday, September 29th at 12-12:30p ET with SHLB Executive Director John Windhausen and Christopher Ali.
Before the pandemic-driven surge of public investment in broadband networks, the federal government had subsidized rural broadband by approximately $6 billion a year. So why does the rural-urban digital divide persist? Why are we looking to the new infrastructure bill to solve a problem that should have been solved a decade ago? Author of "Farm Fresh Broadband" Dr. Christopher Ali argues that rural broadband policy is both broken and incomplete, proposing a new national broadband plan. Join SHLB Coalition Executive Director John Windhausen for a virtual fireside chat with Dr. Ali, to pick his brain on where the U.S. is going wrong and how to course correct rural broadband policy moving forward. And of course, they’ll discuss where community anchor institutions fit into it all.
The undertaking, which works towards connectivity solutions in support of "identifying and prioritizing unserved and underserved areas; funding, designing, building and operating networks to serve these areas and; ensuring that network access is affordable and that the devices and skills needed to benefit from that access are accessible to all" works with "partners throughout and beyond the state to help develop and implement strategies that move Michigan closer to the goal of providing universal access to pandemic- and future-ready 21st Century Communications Infrastructure, and the benefits it can support."
The webinar will provide a project update in the context of the anticipated federal funding for initiatives all over the country, and include experts who will speak to the advantages of separating the infrastructure and service delivery layer on broadband networks. From the registration page:
This webinar will examine a promising approach to Building Broadband Better: Community Empowerment Networks that utilize Automated Open Access (AOA) technology. As you will learn, these networks provide unique benefits, including reduced cost of operation; increased competition and innovation among ISPs; lower prices, increased choice, security and ease of use for customers and; an open platform for innovation and value creation by community service providers (CSPs), including organizations operating in the healthcare, education, public safety, government, public utility and nonprofit sectors.
Bruce Patterson (who recently joined EntryPoint Networks as Solution Services Director after 15 years as the city of Ammon's Technology Director), Jeff Christensen (President), and Mitch Shapiro will be the featured speakers.
With an estimated 22 percent of Americans in rural areas and 28 percent of indigenous Americans on Tribal lands living without access to broadband that meets the federal minimum definition of 25/3 Mbps, the Wireless Communication Alliance is bringing together a panel of experts to explore how broadband deployment will transform rural America and Native Nations in the years ahead.
On Tuesday July 27, the Wireless Communication Alliance will host the virtual event – Broadband in Underserved Rural Areas 2021. It will feature a panel discussion and Q & A session, which is open to the public, that will cover present challenges, the various technologies being deployed, and the promise of what high-speed Internet connectivity can deliver.
Our own Chris Mitchell will be one of four feature panelists. The other panelists are: Richard Bernhardt, National Spectrum Adviser with the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA); Samantha Schartman-Cycyk, Executive Director of the Marconi Society; and Chris Frost, Director of Technology and Infrastructure at Cruzio.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Mohammad (Mo) Shakouri, Chairman of the WiMAX Forum, Director of the Community Broadband Initiative at Joint Venture Silicon Valley, and Founder and CEO of Microsanj.
Participants must register in advance of the event and will then be sent a confirmation email along with a Zoom invite. As an added bonus, the Wireless Communication Alliance will raffle off a Steampunk Retro Rocket Lamp.
The hour-and-a-half long event will start at 1 p.m. PST on July 27.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has partnered with Southeast Nebraska Development District (SENDD) and the Nebraska Economic Developers Association (NEDA) to present a broadband seminar series to provide education to local elected officials, economic developers and other stakeholders. The series covers everything from the basics of broadband infrastructure and technology to financial models to the longterm benefits of investing in fast, reliable Internet access.
The series was developed by Christopher Mitchell, in collaboration with SENDD and NEDA, and produced and edited by ILSR Senior Researcher and Multimedia Producer Maren Machles.
In the first episode, Christopher introduces broadband technology and terminology, including network basics, infrastructure development, and business models.
In the second episode, Christopher is joined by Brent Comstock (CEO and Founder, BCom Solutions), Thomas Magnuson (Geriatric Psychiatrist at University of Nebraska Medical Center), Kyle Arganbright (Mayor of Valentine, NE and Executive Vice President and co-founder of Sandhills State Bank), and Brook Aken (Economic Development Manager, Omaha Public Power District) to discuss the longterm benefits of fast, reliable broadband on everything from economic development to telehealth.
Christopher is joined by David Young, Chief Information Officer for the City of Lincoln and Lancaster County in the third episode of the series. The two give guidance on state and federal broadband programs as well as barriers, challenges, and solutions for broadband infrastructure deployment.
In the final episode of the series, Christopher interviews Brad...
ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative Director Christopher Mitchell recently joined Drew Clark, Editor and Publisher of Broadband Breakfast, for a live discussion centered on the “Investment Implications of a Federal Broadband Infrastructure Bill.”
During the discussion, Christopher breaks down the various pots of money the federal government has dedicated to expanding Internet infrastructure and access to date. He points to the shortcomings of current federal programs, among which are provisions that set aside funds in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for the Emergency Broadband Benefit and the Emergency Connectivity Fund going to short-term, incumbent-friendly solutions.
Christopher noted that while the Emergency Broadband Benefit has helped income eligible households by providing $50 to $75 a month subsidies for home Internet subscriptions, it leaves uncertain what the future holds for these communities when the funds run out. Similarly, he points to restrictions placed on the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which limit the ability of schools and libraries to use the funds to build their own networks. Throughout the discussion, Chris maintains that public dollars should be spent on more sustainable, long-term solutions.
Christopher and Drew also discuss what states are planning to do with the windfall from the federal government by way of the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund. Each state is receiving a minimum of $100 million for broadband projects enabling remote work, education, and health monitoring. Mitchell highlights the plans Maryland and California developed to use the incoming federal funds as leading examples in contrast to Idaho which is set to funnel the money entirely to private...
Merit Network, owner and operator of Michigan's research and education network and source of many wonderful resources for communities looking to improve local Internet access through its Moonshot initiative, is running a webinar on June 16th from 12-1pm CT on the benefits of the open access model:
Digital networks are long past the point where it’s sufficient to merely provide internet access. Having a sustainable network provides the freedom of information exchange, fosters a competitive ecosystem, and enables digital innovation essential for growth and long-term affordability, making it the best option for residents, institutions and businesses.
Experts from Merit Network, ETI Software Solutions and EntryPoint discuss the benefits of implementing an open-access network-a strong alternative to the pervasive single-service provider model used today.
Panelists include Jeff Christensen (President, EntryPoint Networks), Jeffrey Denham (Broadband Specialist, ETI Software Solutions), Bob Stovall (VP of Infrastructure Strategy and Research, Merit Network), Peter Pizzutillo (Vice President, ETI Software Solutions), Devin Cox (EVP of Business Development, Entrypoint Networks), Pierrette Dagg, Director of Marketing and Communications, Merit Network).
Read more about open access at our Learn page, or listen to Jeff Christensen talk more about the open-access model on Episode 424 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast below.