By Craig Settles
Municipal broadband networks may the fastest way for smaller communities — and those in areas without much competition — to bring better broadband to their businesses and residents. These networks aren’t generally popular with incumbent communications providers, which have a history of suing to stop them. However, their tactics have changed.
In 2005, the main goal of large incumbent telcos and cable companies was to try for an outright ban on municipal networks. As the public vigorously fought back, incumbents switched to creative assaults on communities’ ability to find or use money to pay for networks. Eighteen states have restrictive muni network legislation (see map) that makes building a community-owned network impossible or difficult, especially when it comes to funding them.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Wednesday that an $81 million broadband stimulus grant and a $35 million government backed loan to Springfield-based Vermont Telephone Company (VTel).
The $35,166,081 loan and $81,664,754 grant to VTel Wireless, Inc for their Wireless Open World (WOW) project is one of 49 broadband infrastructure projects announced nationally. The broadband investments will give rural residents in 29 states access to improved service that will expand economic, health care, educational, and many other opportunities to underserved rural communities. Today’s announcement is part of the second round of USDA broadband funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).
WASHINGTON July 22, 2010- Buried within the recent Broadband Deployment Report was the announcement that the Federal Communications Commission will publish a separate report comparing broadband services in the United States to the rest of the world. Section 1303 requires the commission include an international comparison in the annual report to congress but the commission has decided to separate the international section.
I applaud the Commission for actually being bold enough to state that 200 Kbit/s is not broadband, although I contend that 4 Mbit/s is not a substantial definition beyond this year. The point is that the FCC is actually trying to be a bit forward looking minus the two commissioners that seem bent on serving a different master. One of the reasons that consumers opt for lower speed is the cost of higher speed services is out of their budget range. The price per bit for broadband in many areas ranks as some of the most costly transport in the world.
After upgrading its standard definition of broadband to 4 Mbit/s, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says in its annual broadband deployment report that the prospects for getting high-speed Internet access to 14 to 24 million Americans in poor or rural areas that lack it are “bleak.”
When the FCC began issuing its annual broadband deployment reports in 2004, it set the standard for broadband Internet access at 200 Kbit/s. In the report it issued Wednesday, the commission says that it doesn’t consider a household a broadband-connected home unless it has a high-speed Internet connection with a minimum download speed of 4 Mbit/s and upstream speed of 1 Mbit/s. (See FCC: Up to 24M Lack Broadband Access.)
Mammoth Networks is picking up the slack for Internet services to rural ISP; thereby, bypassing large incumbent service providers and reducing the cost to the consumer. I bet that will spur a competitive response from the incumbents once Mammoth aggregates enough ISP. This business model is a great example of recognizing a market hole and filling it.
Gillette, and Wyoming in general, sometimes can be a little behind when it comes to getting new things.
Whether it is seeing a new movie, buying the newest cell phone or getting our first Starbucks, Gillette residents are prepared to wait.
More and more politicians realize that unfettered access to broadband services is the key to continued prosperity in this country. If they truly belief this, then they need to remove the regulatory and legislative restrictions that impede novel business models that can increase the deployment of broadband networks in rural areas.
TROY, Mo. | Access to broadband Internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity, and rural areas need more of it, Sen. Claire McCaskill and others said Friday.
McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, and Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski hosted a Rural Broadband Forum in Troy, about 50 miles north of St. Louis.
TelecomTV is traveling around the United States to assess the state of broadband deployment in America. Guy Daniels reports on the use of the Internet and wireless services in the most rural of rural America: Amidon, North Dakota. Although their use is limited, the Internet has impacted the lives of its residents. I would be curious to see how the Internet has changed their lives once they start taking advantage of the bandwidth their recently installed fiber will bring.
In the third of our weekly previews for the forthcoming “Connected States of America” documentary, TelecomTV’s Guy Daniels visits Amidon in rural North Dakota, which, with a population of just 20, is the smallest county seat in the whole of the USA. What impact has broadband, the Internet and cellular had in such an isolated part of America? TelecomTV is in the middle of an extensive filming schedule, driving across the US to collect case studies and interviews. Further previews will appear in NewsDesk each week.
Article continued on TelecomTV…