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

Government-financed broadband is a bad deal for taxpayers

On June 6, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler will be in Pikeville for the SOAR summit to discuss the future of broadband in Kentucky and across the United States. His remarks are likely to turn into a pep rally for government-owned broadband.

Taxpayers shouldn’t cheer.

Government-owned broadband already has harmed Kentucky taxpayers. A few years ago, a handful of lawmakers dreamed up a plan for a statewide “middle mile” network calledKentuckyWired. The network would largely be financed by taxpayers, but managed by an Australian financing firm. The total cost of the project is pegged at more than $300 million with the state issuing $289 million in bonds to finance the project. State taxpayers would be on the hook for $30 million while federal taxpayers will kick in another $23.5 million. Continue reading

The Challenges of Closing the Digital Divide

I prefer to leave politics out of the delivery of broadband services across the United States, but it is a topic that is highly politicized because of government involvement. The “New York Times” interviewed FCC Commissioner Mig Clyburn with a decidedly supportive position that there exists an ever increasing digital divide. Articles like this one are not surprising with presidential candidates playing up class envy and income inequality to drum up votes. The interviewer did not ask tough questions or challenge Mig’s responses. Apparently the editors did not feel the need to do any fact checking either.

This interview contains inaccuracies that lead readers to believe that broadband deployments are also subject to the “great divide” that the media is constantly touting. Actually the opposite is true. Every new broadband deployment has a plan to cover low-income areas and provide free or subsidized broadband for low-income residents. These plans are independent of whether a local municipality or commercial enterprise are building the networks. Rural communities are taking matters into their own hands in several places and building their own broadband networks when no commercial provider will serve their area. Urban areas are the easiest to cover due to their density and short loop lengths. Urban areas typically have multiple service providers offering competition and discounted rates to low-income housing that suburban customers do not typically receive.
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Siklu, the Urban Neighborhood Initiative and KC Digital Drive Announce Gigabit Project Using Fiber-Like Wireless

English: Picture taken from the Liberty Memori...

English: Picture taken from the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, MO. High Resolution. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


KANSAS CITY, Mo., May 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Following the 2016 Gigabit City Summit, Siklu Communications, Ltd, the Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI), KC Digital Drive, Next Century Cities and a host of other partners are excited to announce an innovative project to bring gigabit Internet speeds to local residents and institutions in the UNI footprint and in the city’s historic East Side. Using hybrid fiber-wireless technologies – connecting to the existing fiber backbone provided by KC Web – this project will bring wireless gigabit service to the community beginning this May.

This project is a continuation of Siklu’s commitment to bring communities online and, the partnership with KC Digital Drive and UNI will help revitalize the east side of the city. Consistent with Kansas City’s innovative approach to piloting multiple fiber solutions in search of the right fit for every neighborhood, the coalition is exploring how Millimeter Wave (mmWave) wireless technology can effectively supplement wireline connectivity. This technology extends the reach of existing fiber and will bring gigabit services to some of Kansas City’s oldest buildings and underserved communities.

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Tired of waiting, rich enclave may build fast Internet

By Dan McSwain

A flirtation with socialism in uber-capitalist Rancho Santa Fe could influence how telecommunications service is delivered to the rest of us in San Diego County.

On Thursday, the elected board that oversees land use in the wealthy rural enclave took a step toward building a super-fast, fiber-optic communications system that would reach each home and business. Here’s the twist: The system would be financed and owned by the public, with a telecom firm building and managing the network as a hired hand.

Internet speeds would start at 1 gigabits (1 billion bits) per second and top out at 10 gbps, or roughly 850 times the average U.S. connection of 11.7 megabits per second. Continue reading

Lakeland fiber optic broadband option still alive

By Christopher Guinn

Polk Theatre (Lakeland, Florida)

Polk Theatre (Lakeland, Florida) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LAKELAND — If the City Commission decides against starting a publicly owned Internet service utility, it won’t be because of a philosophical disagreement with the idea, commissioners agreed Wednesday.

Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs and Commissioner Don Selvage sought consensus from their colleagues following a brief discussion of the “gigabit” issue, in which the city would leverage its existing fiber optics assets to improve broadband connection speeds in the city. Continue reading