Telecom reps offer testimony at rural broadband hearing

Editorial: There is no question that opening up spectrum for rural access will help create more broadband access competition.  The problem is that they are still working within the current duopoly business models and regulatory structures.  Rural access will benefit from economies of scale.  If towns and counties build a common fiber infrastructure and lease it to the communications providers, then the economics of building rural wireline networks greatly improves.

Testimony

Mark Meyerhofer, the director of government relations for Time Warner Cable’s Western New York office, delivers testimony during the rural broadband field hearing. Meyerhofer testified that geographic isolation and topographic issues make it economically infeasible for Internet service providers to reach many rural areas.

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2014 12:00 am
By Jim Krencik jkrencik@batavianews.com

ALBION — Congress came to Orleans County Thursday, as a field hearing called by Rep. Chris Collins drew testimony on rural broadband from national, regional and community-level telecommunications firms.

The House Small Business Subcommittee hearing held in the Orleans County Legislative Chambers lacked the scale of a full Congressional panel, but not in importance.

Representatives of Time Warner Cable, Frontier Communications and Rural Broadband Association offered testimony on FCC regulations, service expansion challenges and the industry’s future opportunities.

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Mayors: Every classroom needs Wi-Fi

Highlighting Broadband Access at Kent Island H...

Highlighting Broadband Access at Kent Island High School (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

Editorial:  The USCM is asking the federal government to address a local problem unless they would like a federal takeover of education like Common Core has started.  Education is a local issue and should be addressed at the local level just like broadband access.  The mayors state that broadband access is just as important as a “chalkboard and textbooks” but the federal government doesn’t purchase those supplies either.  School districts should work with their city and county governments that grant franchises to telephone and cable companies to provide inexpensive broadband access to schools.  Instead of continuing the outdated concept of Community Access Channels, they should redirect that money to low-cost educational access.  Another alternative would be to build their own municipal broadband infrastructure, and build in the cost of educational use into the least price of the network.  There are several solutions that municipalities can implement without resorting to asking the FCC to add another tax on communication services.

A group of mayors is urging the Obama administration to bring high-speed Internet to more schools and libraries around the country.

Students at every U.S. school should have access to Internet speeds of 100 megabytes per second right now, and one gigabyte per second by 2017, the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) said in a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The mayors also called for each classroom to have Wi-Fi connectivity. 

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Broadband access gap in Iowa shrinking: Connect Iowa

Internet Access Here Sign

Internet Access Here Sign (Photo credit: Steve Rhode)

I am personally delighted to see my home state of Iowa increasing broadband penetration.  Like any big data gathering project, the results are only as good as the data put into the database.  I believe that some providers are a little over optimistic on their service availability especially just outside of metropolitan areas.  I honestly think that there are more than 2.3% of the households that are not served by wired Internet.  Just look at the number of households in Warren county outside of Des Moines with no service.  The next step should be to improve the quality of data.  In any case the numbers are very high which for a state that has very long loop lengths area-wise.

New research unveiled today by Connect Iowa shows that the broadband availability gap in the state is shrinking, with 93.5% of Iowa residents now having access to fixed broadband of 3 Mbps download or higher, compared to 92.5% last year.

Nonprofit Connect Iowa has been working since 2009 to ensure that Iowans have access to the economic, educational, and quality of life benefits derived from increased broadband access, adoption, and use.

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Hundreds facing financial losses from MN muni-broadband network

Lake Maria State Park, Monticello, MN

Lake Maria State Park, Monticello, MN (Photo credit: PugnoM)

By Tom Steward | Watchdog Minnesota

Bill McKenzie’s email was short and to the point.

“I am (an) individual bondholder.  Why doesn’t the city go to the reserve funds and pay the bond interest due on these bonds?  You are hurting bondholders who loaned the city this money,” McKenzie wrote in frustration.

The plea went out last week from the 70-year-Tucson retiree who with his wife lives more than 1,700 miles from the Monticello, Minn., City Council members he attempted to contact.

City officials’ response?  No reply— same as before, he said.

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Google fiber: Palo Alto loses out to Kansas City

Midwest community to get ultra high-speed Internet project instead of Silicon Valley

by Sue Dremann
Palo Alto Weekly Staff

The Official Seal of Palo Alto, CA

Image via Wikipedia

A Midwest city has beaten out all Silicon Valley contenders, including Palo Alto, to become Google’s first fiber-optics-wired city, executives announced Wednesday (March 30).

Kansas City, with a population of 145,786, was chosen out of 1,100 cities that applied in 2010 for the “Google Fiber for Communities” project, sponsored by the Mountain View tech giant.

The ultra high-speed fiber-to-the-home connections will provide Internet access at 100 times faster than typical broadband services, the company said. Fiber transmits light over fiber-optic cable — a strand of glass as thin as a hair — to send and receive data. It is far faster than electric signals sent over metal wires.

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Slow Internet Could Drive Away Nearly Two-Thirds of Student Residents

Dormitory at Pusan National University's Mirya...

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HOUSTON – Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of students would consider relocating if Internet speeds in their apartment didn’t meet expectations. This finding, from a survey by J Turner Research, confirms that access to fast Internet speeds is no longer an amenity in student housing – it is now an expectation. And it’s not hard to understand why – 56 percent of students said they spend between three and five hours a day on the Internet, and another 16 percent said they spend five to six hours a day online.

A majority (53 percent) of the 10,000 student respondents said the Internet connections in their apartments were slower than at their college or university; however, their satisfaction levels with Internet speeds remain high, with 43 percent of respondents ranking their satisfaction at a 7 or above, based on a scale of 0-10.

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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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