Annette Meeks: Municipal broadband puts taxpayers’ dollars in jeopardy

Although I do not paint as dire picture as Annette Meeks on municipal broadband. There are still several cautionary tales out there that need to be seriously considered by localities when embarking on a municipal broadband project. Most of them have been failures due to poor planning and optimistic projections including the miscalculation of how their commercial competition will respond. In some cases there are no other alternatives than a city to offer their own services, but those are few and far between. There are many creative alternatives that municipalities can implement that increase broadband penetration and offer competition. Continue reading

Google targeting Boulder, 23 other cities to test new wireless network

BOULDER — The city of Boulder has so far been passed over for coveted Google Fiber broadband Internet service as the company has set up shop in cities such as Kansas City; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. But it appears the company might be targeting the city for some form of next-generation wireless broadband network.

According to a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission, Boulder is one of 24 cities where Google Inc. is seeking to test wireless broadband technology in the 3.5 GHz band. Continue reading

Study: Rural Areas Lack Broadband

Local governments and communities are faced with a dilemma when it is not commercially feasible for one or more companies to serve suburban and rural areas with competitive broadband services. Communities recognize that broadband networks contribute to their economic vitality so citizens ask them to pick up the ball where commercial enterprises will not go. Should local governments compete with commercial enterprises where they may have an unfair advantage? No. Government should facilitate the growth and creation of businesses; not compete with them. Local governments can do this by only deploying the fiber infrastructure and selling access to the fibers to any communication services provider that want to offer services in a community. This open access infrastructure promotes business in a community and gives consumers a choice of what services they want to purchase. The state of Tennessee should amend its’ law to allow communities and local governments to deploy fiber infrastructure and promote public/private partnerships when necessary to encourage competition for broadband services.

Kelly Lapczynski

The results of a study commissioned by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) to evaluate broadband access throughout the state may encourage state lawmakers to rethink long-stalled legislation when the 110th General Assembly convenes in January. Continue reading

Google adds fixed wireless to its Fiber unit with Webpass purchase

By Caroline Gabriel
English: 5.2 GHz 'Canopy' wireless internet an...

English: 5.2 GHz ‘Canopy’ wireless internet antenna with passive ‘Stinger’ antenna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Broadband wireless is a time-honored way to fill gaps in a wireline network and improve the overall economics, and emerging LTE-A Pro and 5G technologies will enhance those capabilities. Google is acquiring a US ISP called Webpass to add a wireless element to its Google Fiber platform and accelerate roll-out in some urban areas.

Until now, Google Fiber has mainly built its city networks from scratch, harnessing close relationships with municipal authorities. Webpass expands Google’s deployment options in some interesting locations – primarily Greater Miami, Chicago, Boston and several Californian cities (San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley and San Diego). Google Fiber is live in Atlanta; Kansas City; Provo, Utah; Nashville, Tennesee; and Austin, Texas; and the company is working in San Francisco. It has also said Chicago and San Diego would be potential “fiber cities”, so Webpass could provide it with an earlier entry point. Continue reading

North Carolina Shoots For Universal Broadband Access By 2021

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North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has released North Carolina’s updated State Broadband Plan, which sets the goal of universal statewide access by 2021. The governor claims that to date nearly 65 percent of classrooms are connected, and has committed to connecting 100 percent of classrooms by 2018.

According to FCC data, 93 percent of North Carolina is connected through a combination of anchor institution networks, private providers, and municipal broadband. However, the plan shows that more work needs to be done to connect rural communities. Continue reading

Municipal fiber network will let customers switch ISPs in seconds

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Most cities and towns that build their own broadband networks do so to solve a single problem: that residents and businesses aren’t being adequately served by private cable companies and telcos.

But there’s more than one way to create a network and offer service, and the city of Ammon, Idaho, is deploying a model that’s worth examining. Ammon has built an open access network that lets multiple private ISPs offer service to customers over city-owned fiber. The wholesale model in itself isn’t unprecedented, but Ammon has also built a system in which residents will be able to sign up for an ISP—or switch ISPs if they are dissatisfied—almost instantly, just by visiting a city-operated website and without changing any equipment. Continue reading

This city’s leaders look to build a broadband network even as Comcast expands 

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Savannah city leaders are moving forward with a plan that could create a municipal broadband network in the coastal Georgia city.

What’s curious about the move is it comes on the heels of an announcement by Comcast that it will bring a super-high-speed network to Savannah beginning later this year.

The company’s Comcast Business division revealed in March that it will begin construction of a fiber-optic network in the third quarter of the year to bring download speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second to businesses, colleges and government agencies. Continue reading