FCC Officials Outline Plans for 100 Million in Funding for Rural Broadband Experiments

, Reporter, Broadband Breakfast News

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2014 – In a webinar on Thursday, July 17, the Fiber to the Home Council hosted a webinar with Federal Communications Commission officials on a $100 million fund for expanding broadband capabilities to rural communities. FCC officials encouraged companies to apply for the funds, but also cautioning them of the heavy commitment.

The FCC voted at its July 11 monthly meeting to authorize the experiments, and applicants have until Oct. 14 to bid for funding. The $100 million will be split into three categories, said Jonathan Chambers, Chief of the FCC’s Office of Strategic Planning & Policy Analysis. About $75 million will be used for testing networks that service plans at 25 Megabit per second downloads and 5 Mbps uploads. Another $15 million will go to testing delivery service at 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps upload speeds in high cost areas. The remaining $10 million will go to 10 Mbps down/1 Mbps upload service in remote rural areas.

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ESB, Vodafone Team for Irish FTTB Network

The big news in the story was that this network will be open access, but Lightwave glossed over that point.  Even though Vodafone will be one of the premiere service providers, other service providers can also lease capacity on the network infrastructure from ESB.  This model should be emulated in many other areas of the world to promote broadband competition.  It would reduce the chatter over net neutrality in the U.S. if we saw more open access broadband networks.

Lightwave Staff

ESB FTTH deploymentIrish power utility ESB has selected Vodafone as its partner on a €450 million project to deploy an open-accessfiber to the building (FTTB) network across Ireland. The fiber-optic network initially will reach 500,000 premises in 50 towns, leveraging ESB’s existing overhead and underground infrastructure.

The FTTB network will deliver download rates of 200 Mbps to 1 Gbps, the partners say. This will represent a significant upgrade for most subscribers, based on data from Irish telecommunications regulator ComReg that indicates 43% of fixed-line broadband users in Ireland receive speeds of less than 10 Mbps.
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Santa Fe Launches Municipal Broadband Project

Santa Fe, New Mexico is the latest city to support its own municipal broadband infrastructure. The city is launching a million dollar effort to build out its own fiber optic infrastructure with the goal of increasing both broadband access and competition among broadband providers.

Santa Fe has slower broadband than large surrounding cities like Albuquerque, which undermines local economic development, and frustrates residents according to city officials who have recently faced backlash from broadband providers. Incumbent providers in Santa Fe say they may consider litigation and that the project won’t drive up speeds. We’ve seen this movie before in municipalities where officials take action when providers fail to provide adequate services. Continue reading

Two Critics of Broadband Regulation Lament How Broadband Utility Advocates are ‘Taking their Case’ to American Public Net Neutrality

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and FCC Secretary Ma...

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and FCC Secretary Marlene Dortch (Photo credit: ALA Washington Office)

, Reporter, Broadband Breakfast News

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2014 – The best way to prevent the internet from “fundamentally changing” is to not “fundamentally change internet regulation,” according to Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai.

In a speech that attempted to rally the faithful to his “light touch regulation” approach, the commissioner was also joined by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., at the Free State Foundation last week. Both slammed approaches to net neutrality through public utility regulation under Title II of the Communications Act, or under the less draconian Section 706. While “the former is outdated and politically corrosive,” Thune said, “the latter is legally untested and potentially far too broad.”

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Colorado’s Gigabit March Continues

English: I took photo with Canon camera in Lon...

English: I took photo with Canon camera in Longmont, CO. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city of Longmont should be required to provide equal access to any qualified communications company with non-discriminatory pricing so it does not compete with commercial service providers.

by 

The city of Longmont, Colorado which voted in 2011 to build out its own gigabit municipal network is moving forward on this plan with Calix. Longmont Power and Communications will be the new municipal entity tasked with providing electricity and telecommunications services to residents. Calix will be providing voice and data fiber and network technology for the project.

CivSource has been following efforts in Colorado to work around a 2005 law made at the state level which made building municipal broadband networks challenging. In recent years, cities in Colorado have voted on provisions to go ahead with these networks and gigabit access as telecom companies have been slow to act. Boulder,Colorado most recently decided to move forward with two ballot initiatives that would let residents decide how to move forward on gigabit broadband there.

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Is municipal broadband more important than net neutrality?

I had high hopes for this article because the author successfully saw the link between the two concepts.  Maybe he read my tweets.  There is a definite correlation between municipal broadband and net neutrality, but I have only read one or two articles that actually get it right.  

Municipal broadband evolved from the concept that the cost of building these networks is prohibitive so it is a function that the government could provide.  That concept is fine when no service provider is serving an area but most of the municipal broadband deployments have one or two franchised providers.  This situation results in the government competing with private enterprise.  Granted that a duopoly does not create a competitive market, but the government has several advantages over private enterprise that makes it an unfair competitor.  Also, any subsidization of broadband networks by taxpayers creates an unfair advantage.

The reason that there are not more competitors for broadband network is that they are extremely expensive to build.  Investors do not like waiting almost 10 years to see if their investment is going to yield a profit which is what would happen with 3 or more competitors.  People seem to overlook that fact when accusing the incumbents of snuffing out the competition.  Economics have snuffed out the competition.

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New fiber optic line planned from Casper to Colorado

 

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead Joined the Line-Up ...

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead Joined the Line-Up of Speakers (Photo credit: USFWS Mountain Prairie)

By TREVOR GRAFF Star-Tribune staff writer

Gov. Matt Mead announced Tuesday the planned installation of a new fiber optics line that will run from Casper to the Colorado border.

Advanced Communications Technology, based in Sheridan, is installing the line as part of the Governor’s initiative to boost the expansion of broadband services in the state’s rural regions.

“Any time we expand broadband, it benefits people and business. ACT is one of many companies operating in Wyoming. This means more options for Wyoming people and more access points for communities from Casper to the Colorado border,” Mead said.

With the new line, ACT’s network will now service the entire state.

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