Opinion: A broader look at broadband

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By Elizabeth Cook

Broadband industry consultant Craig Settles says municipalities like Salisbury that are developing fiber-to-the-home networks need to plan for the future with business customers in mind, not consumers with limited personal needs.

Settles, 54, of Oakland, Calif., spoke Feb. 11 at a luncheon that was part of Salisbury City Council’s annual planning retreat.

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The Flaw in Obama’s Wireless Plan

Main Street in Ten Sleep, WY

Main Street in Ten Sleep, WY

The President hopes an increase in Internet access will result in more economic development. Fiber networks would do that better than mobile broadband

By Brendan Greeley

The residents of Ten Sleep, Wyo., know the meaning of rural. They didn’t have phone service until the 1950s, when Tri-County Telephone Assn., a municipal cooperative, used federal subsidies to string copper wire to every home. In 2005 the co-op upgraded to fiber-optic cable, giving the town’s 300 residents Internet access at 20 megabits per second. For the technically unfamiliar, Chris Davidson, Tri-County Telephone’s general manager, describes this as “smoking fast.”

Even President Barack Obama is impressed. On Feb. 10 he rolled out a national wireless plan, pointing to Ten Sleep as an example of what he wants to replicate nationally: Because of the town’s high-speed fiber network, one company has been able to hire locals to teach English to Asians by video chat over the network. Obama hopes his plan will result in more such economic development by providing 98 percent of Americans with access to high-speed wireless Internet. “Ten Sleep,” Obama mused. “I love the name of that town.”

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Obama Likens Broadband To Electricity, Rails In Michigan Speech

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Jonathan Charnitski, Managing Editor, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, February 10, 2011 – President Obama drew comparisons between high-speed Internet, the railroads and the electric grid during a speech in Marquette, Michigan on Thursday afternoon, commenting on their essential nature to the economy and calling for a renewed investment in broadband infrastructure.

The administration’s Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative (WIII) comes on the heels of the President’s State of the Union address last month, during which he pledged to facilitate high-speed wireless networks that reach 98 percent of Americans.  The program also aims to free up radio spectrum to alleviate an impending spectrum crunch, create a nationwide interoperable wireless network for public safety and drive innovation in the wireless broadband sector.

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Connect America Fund Threatens Rural States’ Telephone Subsidies

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Jonathan Charnitski, Reporter, BroadbandBreakfast.com

WASHINGTON, November 29, 2010 – As the next phases of the National Broadband Plan draw near, states with significant rural area have expressed concern that they may lose funds vital to affordable telephone service.

The plan’s Chapter 8 outlines recommendations to provide affordable broadband internet access to all Americans. Part of that chapter recommends the creation of the Connect America Fund. The CAF would fund deployment of broadband to unserved and underserved populations, much as the Universal Service Fund provided the economic means to provide telephone service to all Americans.

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Shutesbury TM approves broadband proposal

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By Ben Storrow Staff Writer

SHUTESBURY — Shutesbury became the first town in western Massachusetts to act on a proposal aimed at bringing broadband Internet access to every resident in the region at a special Town Meeting Tuesday night.

Voters unanimously approved a plan that would allow the town to create its own telecommunications department and join with other municipalities to establish the fiber-optic network needed to provide high-speed Internet access.

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HickoryTech Achieves 10,000 Digital TV Subscribers Milestone

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MANKATO, Minn. – Oct. 18, 2010 – HickoryTech Corporation (Nasdaq: HTCO) announced today it has surpassed 10,000 Digital TV subscribers. This milestone demonstrates HickoryTech’s long-term commitment and success in growing its broadband services throughout southern Minnesota.   “We’re proud of our broadband expansion and excited to reach this Digital TV milestone,” said Damon Dutz, president of HickoryTech’s Consumer and Network Solutions Division. “On behalf of our entire HickoryTech team, we appreciate the loyalty of our customers and are committed to providing competitive broadband services and outstanding local support to our neighbors and friends in the communities we serve.”

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GAO Report Sees Tough Implementation of National Broadband Plan

BroadbandBreakfast.com Staff, BroadbandBreakfast.com

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WASHINGTON, October 13, 2010 – The United States plans to take actions to promote broadband similar to other nations, but achieving those goals will be challenging, says a new government report.

The Government Accountability Office looked at the plan offered by the Federal Communications Commission and how it reflects the experiences of leading countries on the issue. It found that the United States has a tough road ahead.

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