Wireless Revolution Kicks Off the 2015 Summit
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Why Attend The Summit? | Volume 2015
He's Back! Chambers from FCC

Jonathan Chambers of the FCC has been the nation's top innovator when it comes to financing innovative rural broadband builds. He's been one of our most popular speakers. And why not? His unscripted observations on network economics, utility and competition have been profound.

Hear him this year at the Financial Workshop, Monday April 13.

Even though the stimulus program is over, broadband is still an important priority for federal government. Chambers will describe some of the most significant changes in federal broadband funding, including CAF, the Rural Broadband Experiment he's overseen, and the newly expanded E-Rate program – and what they mean for your network.

Also coming: A representative of the NTIA (which administered the BTOP broadband stimulus funds) will reveal which federal agencies have funding streams that can be applied to broadband projects. Click here for more info.

The Way to Santa Fe... Fiber

How does one plan for more broadband in an old, spread out development of mainly single-family homes? Carefully. For communities like Rancho Santa Fe in Southern California , broadband development has been slow to evolve even in comparatively wealthy areas because the low density doesn’t attract infrastructure investments from major providers. Providers have also discovered that wealth doesn't guarantee a great take rate. The wealthy have lots of distractions.

Now, the HOA is considering a new $14 million 1 to 10 Gbps fiber network that would boost cable, Internet and phone service speeds, a key need in a community where almost half the families work at least part of the time from home. Payback, if the community builds the system itself, would be 6 to 12 years. But the rise in property values in a sense makes the payback immediate.

The HOA hired Magellan Advisors ... Read the full story below.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Live and Up Close

When it comes to broadband, no one has made more news in the past six months than Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler. Net Neutrality. Internet fast lanes. Municipal-owned broadband systems. Title II. It ain't broadband if it can't deliver at 25 Mbps.

Whether you own or manage an MDU, regulate at the state or local level, work for a citizen group or a broadband provider, innovate and share new content, sell hardware or software, or conceive, design or build broadband networks, you can't afford to miss this!

Summit attendees will hear Wheeler unfiltered. They'll get a chance to ask him questions that directly concern them and the organizations they work for. They'll get an early glimpse of the year to come. Read the full story below.

Broadband Leaders Take Center Stage in Austin







Mike Smith Mark Strama
Google
Cheryl Barraco Tom Wheeler
Chairman,
Federal
Communications
Commission
Jim Baller Rondella Hawkins Lev Gonick
             

Kathleen Austin

Douglas Kinkoph
Elin Katz
Elin Katz

Fletcher Kittredge

Joel Mulder

Michael Slovin

Michael Render
             
             

Fred Cornwall

Keith Montgomery

Jason Whittet

Rollie Cole

Kendal Cornwall
Hauck

Richard Holtz

Christopher Mitchell
 
Metcalfe's Law and Lunch, Too
What does a state capital city do in a state where the legislature is only in session a few months a year? Well, they network. Robert Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor and investment adviser, highlights a high-level session on Austin's economic development program. The city, uniquely blessed with three competing FTTH operators (AT&T, Google and Grande) is in uncharted but exciting territory – a territory that other cities will soon enjoy. ... Read the full story below.

CLIC for local Choice
CLIC, the Coalition for Local Internet Choice, localnetchoice.org, includes hundreds of businesses, trade groups, cities and individuals that believe the decision of how local communities gain access to modern broadband networks is best made at the local level. The organization will be hosting a full day of sessions leading into the Broadband Communities Summit in Austin. ... Read the full story below.

The Wireless Revolution Hits Home
Think about it. No more expensive, time-consuming, disruptive construction to bring reliable, secure fiber-borne broadband t residences and small businesses. Much of the cost of FTTH has been for in-home wiring. Homeowners' objections to FTTH have often centered around in-home wiring. Now far-sighted industry leaders are asking: “What if in-home wiring were no longer needed?” ... Read the full story below.


Financing Fiber Networks
Attendees Will Learn The Newest Solutions In Day-Long Program On Financing Fiber Networks
Interest rates are down, availability of capital is up, banker interest in broadband is high. It all adds up to this: Network builders don’t need to wait for federal funding to finance new fiber. Attendees will learn about real solutions that have worked for real builds in normal situations. Join this FREE daylong pre-conference workshop April 13! Building owners, private cable operators, public and private network deployers and community officials and activists will ... Read the full story below.


Earn a Fiber-to-the-Home Certification
Light Brigade’s Certified Fiber to the Home Professional (CFHP) course on April 13-14 at the Broadband Properties Summit provides a broad base of knowledge in FTTH architecture, network design, deployment technology and operational skills. Network designers, network planners, supervisors and project managers responsible for deploying and maintaining FTTH and ... Read the full story below.


Rural Stakeholders Get the Secret Sauce
Broadband Is Like oxygen to rural America. It is also difficult to imagine the nation being well-off if rural regions are lagging. But few urban planners know, for instance, that farmers are data scientists, juggling information on soil moisture, nutrients, predicted weather and more. Few realize how important broadband is for delivery of rural health care and education.... Read the full story below.


Broadband for Business Tenants
Broadband decisions are no longer simply left for tenant fit-up allowances. Whether your tenant is a bank, an engineering firm, a sports bar owner seeking wireless connections to a dozen wide screen TVs or a medical clinic with a 2.5 Gbps gene sequencer, broadband usually leads the MTU amenity list. What does the business case look like? Who pays? What technologies are optimal in a given situation? This session covers the bases.

Businesses still need wireline phone trunks, of course, but they may be backed up with extra-strength cellular or Wi-Fi access. Today's businesses require multiple pathway redundancy, outside the building as well as inside. They require optical LANs to match Internet speeds and allow for mobile bandwidth hogs like sophisticated tablets.

Learn about it all, in a special session and in multiple contexts. And don't let it scare you; the language is business, not bits and bytes.


Legal Questions Answered, Free... But Ask Now
Are you an MDU owner or manager with a legal question to ask about broadband? Do you want to save real money in legal fees while getting the best possible advice? Do you have a nagging headache even thinking about all this? The Summit includes an MDU owners and managers-only breakfast with two of the sharpest minds in the business, Ian Davis, Founding Partner, Davis Craig & Taylor PLLC and Art Hubacher, Managing Member, Hubacher & Ames, PLLC.

They'll be taking questions at the event, of course. But registered attendees can jump to the head of the pack. Send your question to Editor-at-Large Steve Ross, steve@bbcmag.com. He'll pass them on to Art, Ian and session moderator Cheryl Barraco. No limit! But get them in as early as possible.

If you'd rather hear even more attorneys argue over the right strategy for you (and who wouldn't, if it isn't costing you), try the legal roundtable, open to all. And about that nagging headache: Aspirin may help, but expert advice may be just what the doctor ordered.


Gigafying the MDU: New Broadband Business Cases for Developers and MDU Owners
So... you're an MDU owner or manager and you looked at supplying ultra-broadband and better wireless to residents last year. But it didn't seem to make sense, even though broadband is the top amenity residents crave. Come to the Summit and look again. ... Read the full story below.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler To Keynote Summit
Net Neutrality. Internet fast lanes. Municipal-owned broadband systems. Title II. It ain't broadband if it can't deliver at 25 Mbps. When it comes to broadband, no one has made more news in the past year than Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler. At the Summit, you'll hear Wheeler unfiltered. You'll get a chance to ask him questions that directly concern you and your enterprise. You'll get an early glimpse of the year to come.

Commissioner Wheeler is scheduled to deliver his keynote at the Summit Tuesday morning April 14. His words will help set the tone for the week. That means you'll be discussing his remarks in the most sophisticated way possible -- in precise context, with your similarly informed peers.

Whether you own or manage an MDU, regulate at the state or local level, work for a citizen group or a broadband provider, innovate and share new content, sell hardware or software, or conceive, design or build broadband networks, you can't afford to miss this event!

At the Summit, get first-hand information on how the latest FCC initiatives affect you.

The Fast Lane leads to Austin and the Broadband Summit, April 14-16, 2015.


Economic Development to the Forefront for Public Officials, Private Stakeholders, Local Network Operators
When it comes to Broadband, the Summit will teach you how to resist taking no for an answer when it comes to broadband. Community broadband networks just have to break even or come close. National provider networks need huge margins to satisfy Wall Street. ... Read the full story below.


Bad 25 Mbps Broadband Equals Stagnation: What can providers and public officials do about it?
Catch up to the White House, which already has our published data files! Get the latest, expanding upon last year's Broadband Communities study showing a startling 10-fold difference in recent population growth between 25 Mbps haves and have-nots. Our latest adds USGS map ... Read the full story below.


Bring Your Questions: Audience is King at Summit for MDU Owners and Managers
For Internet Service Providers, content is king. But at the Summit, the audience rules! Feast on bounteous unstructured sessions where the audience truly is king. While all Summit sessions reserve plenty of time for Q&A, some MDU-oriented sessions are devoted entirely (or almost entirely) to the audience asking questions of the experts ... Read the full story below.


The Latest MDU Market Research
As always, the Summit features in-depth market research, commissioned by Broadband Communities. This year, renowned FTTH prognosticator Michael Render will revisit issues driving fiber adoption in greenfield and brownfield MDUs of all sizes, nationwide. As previous attendees know, we gather enough data to reliably segment by building type, region, tenant type and more.

Is the data fresh? As fresh as can be. The questionnaire was finalized February 20 and surveying started, by a professional survey firm, at month's end. Summit attendees get the information ahead of anyone else... and get a panel discussion by the experts, a chance to ask questions of their own, a good look at Mike so they can grab him in the meeting rooms... and breakfast! Doesn't get any better than that, does it?


Bring Your Technical Staff
Once again, the Summit is co-located with the CABA Intelligent Buildings & Digital Home Forum. There, you'll get the technical details behind some of the latest drivers of network installations. A sample:

Smart home technology is here and becoming more sophisticated every day. What will it take to get these high-tech devices adopted in homes – and to keep them safe and secure? ... Read the full story below.

Why Attend the Summit?
For broadband, the recession is over... but the landscape has been altered. Indeed, a perfect storm is brewing over the broadband industry:
  • Regulatory issues (net neutrality, fast lane... and more)
  • Massive data flows over myriad wireless devices in homes and businesses
  • The latest technological marvels such as DOCSIS 3.1, carrier-grade Wi-Fi, the "Internet of Things," and software-defined networking
  • New housing economics – a boom in multiple-dwelling-unit construction but for rentals , not ownership
  • Renewed government interest in (and incentives for) broadband at all levels for public safety (FirstNet), global climate change issues (smart grid, energy conservation), and economic development

It is no wonder that the availability of fiber-borne connectivity continues to increase – a 10% growth in premises passed by fiber in 2014 alone!

Sure, there are a few confusing highly technical events you could attend. But year after year, only the Broadband Summit puts everything into language everybody can understand. Only the Broadband Summit details the ever-changing business cases for all stakeholders, from MDU owners and managers to legal and technical specialists.

That's why Broadband Communities survived and thrived during the recession, while its competitors withered and died. That's why attendance at the Summit never faltered. Good times and bad, there are always worries, changes, reasons to find shelter and reasons to do business. 

Earn and learn at the next Summit, Austin, April 14-16, 2015.

Who Should Attend?

MDU owners and managers. Have you figured out where and how to provide the symmetrical, versatile and reliable broadband your residents need for entertainment, working at home, health care, education? What about their mobile phones and tablets? Is a distributed antenna system best for your situation? Or installations by cellular carriers? Or managed Wi-Fi? Or a few other tricks you'll explore at the Summit? How will all this change the legal contracts you sign? What's the regulatory risk?

Can you improve the business case with networks that need other needs? The 2015 Summit welcomes CABA, the building technology folks, with a day of sessions on making that all work. And of course, there's the totally updated MDU track. Last year's news won't help!

State and local officials. Considering a network of your own? Enticing and incentivizing a private carrier?

Your region's economic growth and quality of life depends on it. Two robust tracks – one on economic development, one specifically on rural issues run by the RTC – will get the juices flowing.

Carriers. Whether you represent a rural ISP or an urban CLEC or private cable operator, you'll get the business case for new technologies and the emerging regulatory and funding landscape. DOCSIS or end-to-end PON? firmware or software-defined networks? Public-private partnerships? MSO or PCO? WISP or ISP or campus IT partnership? Revenue strategies with staying power? Find it all at the Summit?

Don't miss the new "Wireless Revolution" general sessions. Good wireless depends on good fiber backhaul and local area networking. Today's fiber business cases depend on wireless revenue. See how, see the latest technologies and business cases.

Developers and Builders. Sure broadband is good and more broadband is better. But where do you get the funding? How do you structure the business case? Who does the work? What are the risks? In Summit panels, world-class talks by top officials and experts, workshops and the many opportunities for casual discussion, the Summit delivers.

Planners. Get the details your academic coursework never covered. Broadband infrastructure is perhaps the least expensive and fastest way to add to infrastructure, attract growth, and improve quality of life.

Consultants, contractors, designers, network planners. You already know about the Summit's business-creating opportunities. You know that most attendees are real customers looking for real solutions – they are not other vendors! Learn from the masters, too.


Bad 25 Mbps Broadband Equals Stagnation: What can providers and public officials do about it?

Catch up to the White House, which already has our published data files! Get the latest, expanding upon last year's Broadband Communities study showing a startling 10-fold difference in recent population growth between 25 Mbps haves and have-nots. Our latest adds USGS map info to Census and National Broadband Map data for all 3,144 U.S. counties. Those in the bottom half of their states’ rankings for access to 25 Mbps grew only 0.27 percent from 2010 through the end of 2013. The bottom-ranked 10 percent of counties actually lost population!

In actual numbers, counties in the bottom half of their state rankings added just 134,390 people, and those in the top half added 7.2 million.

"The entire country is affected as people migrate to where the jobs are," says study author and Editor-at-Large Steve Ross. "Stagnant counties lose tax base and jobs, hurting Main Street banks and utilities providers. Growing communities must pay more for new infrastructure, schools, and in time-wasting congestion."

Ross admits service providers cannot make a good enough business case in areas of low population growth. But communities, themselves and in public-private partnerships, just need to break even. They don't need the profits that Wall Street demands of publicly held companies.

To arrive at a strong conclusion in any one county requires considering many other variables. Get the details... and breakfast... at Summit 2015. Community leaders should also arrive a day early for the FREE pre-conference workshop on financing broadband networks.

Bring Your Questions: Audience is King at Summit for MDU Owners and Managers

For Internet Service Providers, content is king. But at the Summit, the audience rules! Feast on bounteous unstructured sessions where the audience truly is king. While all Summit sessions reserve plenty of time for Q&A, some MDU-oriented sessions are devoted entirely (or almost entirely) to the audience asking questions of the experts.

Your lawyer will charge you upward of $400 an hour to research and answer a complicated broadband question. For that kind of money you can attend the entire Summit and ask your specific questions free, in the hallways or at two legal sessions. One, strictly for MDU owners and managers, includes breakfast and two of the sharpest minds in the business, Ian Davis, Founding Partner, Davis Craig & Taylor PLLC and Art Hubacher, Managing Member, Hubacher & Ames, PLLC. If you'd rather hear even more attorneys argue over the right strategy for you (and who wouldn't, if they aren't billing you), try the legal roundtable, open to all.

Engineers don't come cheap, either. And they also like to give long-winded answers. That's why we have extra-length panels on the latest issues with wireless – both the new wireless gateways that reduce the need for in-unit wiring, and the options for hovering that wireless cloud inside your MDU or commercial space: DAS, DOT, Wi-Fi, cellular access... and more. And if the technology confuses you, plan on arriving early for Richard Holtz's 2-hour pre-conference technical/legal workshop.

Student housing is usually the leading edge of the demand curve. So what do real students want? And what do they absolutely hate about their broadband service? Ask them. We'll have a student panel taking your questions. Yeah, we're kinda nervous, too. You don't have to identify yourself, but they have ways....

The Vendor-Audience Q&A session is an enlightening and timely exchange between the audience and a vendor panel, no holds barred. Bring your questions about various broadband technologies, as well as warranties, operating and installation costs, accommodations for fiber in MDUs, technical trends, servicing, and more. No question is too "elementary," or too embarrassing for vendors. We're entering an age of in-building fiber and in-unit wireless carrying voice, video and data via DOCSIS 3.1, GPON and EPON. The building and customer equipment talks back through the network, too. So bring your questions. We know you have 'em.


Earn a Fiber-to-the-Home Certification

Light Brigade’s Certified Fiber to the Home Professional (CFHP) course on April 13-14 at the Broadband Properties Summit provides a broad base of knowledge in FTTH architecture, network design, deployment technology and operational skills. Network designers, network planners, supervisors and project managers responsible for deploying and maintaining FTTH and FTTB networks have found this course invaluable.

The goal of the CFHP course is to address job training skills for those who are interested in making the jump from legacy technologies to the FTTH technologies of today and the future.

For those new to FTTH, this two-day course will provide a solid foundation on which to build towards FTTH network design, planning and management responsibilities. For experienced FTTH professionals, the CFHP course will ensure your familiarity with the most current information and expand your scope beyond your areas of specialization today.

The FTTH Council Certification as a “Certified Fiber to the Home Professional” is available by taking and passing the CFHP exam at the conclusion of the course. Certification as a CFHP indicates a professional level of technical competence in fiber to the home technologies. It is not directed at specific vendor’s equipment.

Instead, certification consists of demonstrating knowledge and familiarity with FTTH architecture, network design, deployment technology and operational skills. Simply put, it is a third party endorsement of your FTTx knowledge. The CFHP certification will be entered into the CFHP database maintained by the FTTH Council for confirmation for prospective employers and others.

Taking the certification exam is simple. Information is available at CFHP Training Course or directly contact the Light Brigade at 800-451-7128 or jlinn@lightbrigade.com. You can register for the CFHP course and exam at Registration: CFHP Course and CFHP Certification Exam.


Rural Stakeholders
Get the Secret Sauce

Broadband Is Like oxygen to rural America. It is also difficult to imagine the nation being well-off if rural regions are lagging. But few urban planners know, for instance, that farmers are data scientists, juggling information on soil moisture, nutrients, predicted weather and more. Few realize how important broadband is for delivery of rural health care and education.

  Your house can call the plumber when there's a leak, share a diabetic's blood sugar values ... turn on the irrigation system.

As rural officials, utility operators, businesspeople, and residents know, the economic recovery has been almost entirely an urban one so far. Taken together, rural counties, for the first time in American history, have lost population since 2010. But do you know that building a broadband network is one of the least expensive and quickest ways to add infrastructure that attracts jobs?

Aside from sessions and workshops on economic development, broadband technology, financing and more, Summit attendees can also attend, at no extra charge, the entire Rural Telecommunications Congress annual conference.

THE RTC CONFERENCE

At the RTC sessions, you'll learn about real companies and real communities that have made real economic gains by building broadband networks.

You'll also learn about new financing options for network builds, both in a daylong pre-conference workshop and in the RTC track itself. There's some federal financing available, but you don't have to wait for it.

You'll also hear rural-specific strategies of successful broadband providers, including their efforts to educate potential users – residents, government agencies, and businesses.

Members and managers of rural electric and phone coops will certainly want to sit in on "Who Will Gigafy Our Rural Infrastructure?" It's a session led by Joel Mulder, Senior Director of Business Development at G4S Technology, that will focus on how the original rural electric coops and rural telephone companies are responding to broadband needs of rural communities.

TOP COMMERCE OFFICIAL

Anne Neville, Director of the State Broadband Initiative at federal Department of Commerce, kicks off the RTC sessions with a look at federal accomplishments and how they can be built upon, followed by a panel chaired by Drew Clark (of counsel at the law firm of Kirton McKonkie) that examines the needs of rural broadband users and offers data analysis and demographics in context for various providers.

Join this session to learn and discuss the state of rural broadband. Hear actionable details about innovative projects that are providing solutions in rural areas to create positive economic and community outcomes from broadband deployment.

Jason Whittet, former Deputy Director of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, moderates a horizon-expanding panel that includes Tony Wilhem, vice president at Affiniti, a company that connects rural providers nationwide; Mark Dzwonczyk, CEO at Nicholville Telephone; Brian Kiser, Executive Director of Kentucky's Broadband Office, and David Salway, Executive Director, NY State Broadband Program.

Keith Montgomery, Senior Program Director at ICF International and Jane Patterson, former director of North Carolina's broadband program and now President, The View Forward – Go Forward, anchor a panel devoted to the information tools and technology rural stakeholders need to leverage broadband access. The session includes news of hard-hitting, innovative corporate initiatives – from the companies supplying those tools – to assist rural stakeholders in persuading others about broadband access..

Another panel, including Mark Johnson, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Data Architecture at North Carolina's statewide network provider MCNC, explores the Internet of Things in a rural context. David Kirby, Project Director for the NC TeleHealth Network and Michael Keeling of Keeling Law Offices PC and lobbyist for ATIC / Arizona TeleHealth, will focus an entire panel on rural healthcare issues.

The bottom line: Your refrigerator can order groceries when you need them, your house can call the plumber when there's a leak, share a diabetic's blood sugar values with your doctor, turn on the irrigation system when the soil is too dry or wait if rain is forecast. Ubiquitous rural broadband with low latency and high capacity is critical to making it happen.


Earn a Fiber-to-the-Home Certification

Light Brigade’s Certified Fiber to the Home Professional (CFHP) course on April 13-14 at the Broadband Properties Summit provides a broad base of knowledge in FTTH architecture, network design, deployment technology and operational skills. Network designers, network planners, supervisors and project managers responsible for deploying and maintaining FTTH and FTTB networks have found this course invaluable.

The goal of the CFHP course is to address job training skills for those who are interested in making the jump from legacy technologies to the FTTH technologies of today and the future.

For those new to FTTH, this two-day course will provide a solid foundation on which to build towards FTTH network design, planning and management responsibilities. For experienced FTTH professionals, the CFHP course will ensure your familiarity with the most current information and expand your scope beyond your areas of specialization today.

The FTTH Council Certification as a “Certified Fiber to the Home Professional” is available by taking and passing the CFHP exam at the conclusion of the course. Certification as a CFHP indicates a professional level of technical competence in fiber to the home technologies. It is not directed at specific vendor’s equipment.

Instead, certification consists of demonstrating knowledge and familiarity with FTTH architecture, network design, deployment technology and operational skills. Simply put, it is a third party endorsement of your FTTx knowledge. The CFHP certification will be entered into the CFHP database maintained by the FTTH Council for confirmation for prospective employers and others.

Taking the certification exam is simple. Information is available at CFHP Training Course or directly contact the Light Brigade at 800-451-7128 or jlinn@lightbrigade.com. You can register for the CFHP course and exam at Registration: CFHP Course and CFHP Certification Exam.

The Wireless Revolution Hits Home

Think about it. No more expensive, time-consuming, disruptive construction to bring reliable, secure fiber-borne broadband t residences and small businesses.

Much of the cost of FTTH has been for in-home wiring. Homeowners' objections to FTTH have often centered around in-home wiring. Now far-sighted industry leaders are asking:

“What if in-home wiring were no longer needed?”

Yes, cellular operators are trying hard to get their customers making calls through their Wi-fi connections. That’s a recipe for trouble in MDUs. But solutions are here, now – building-wide wireless antenna systems and in-the-home “carrier-grade” gigabit wireless gateways that are about to make in-home network wiring obsolete – if you use the right wireless technology. Right now, that’s the Wi-Fi “802.11ac” standard with 4x4 MIMO antennas.

How would that impact your business case for fiber? At the Summit, the experts will tell you what it means to cash flow and to the bottom line, what it means to owners and renters, and what it means when you sign contracts with providers.

Find out about the Wi-Fi revolution that promises to make high-bandwidth home networks invisible, inexpensive and easy to manage from the network operations center.

You'll get the most timely, most understandable, and most in-depth look at this subject at Summit 2015.

Economic Development to the Forefront for Public Officials, Private Stakeholders, Local Network Operators

When it comes to Broadband, the Summit will teach you how to resist taking no for an answer when it comes to broadband. Community broadband networks just have to break even or come close. National provider networks need huge margins to satisfy Wall Street.

  Can small, local providers fruitfully cooperate with small local governments? Absolutely.

Those who care about jobs and economic growth – state and local officials, economic development professionals and community stakeholders (including broadband-starved businesses and local network providers) – will enjoy two full days of sessions that embrace the entire process, from initial planning to raising the money for a broadband network build, to actually running a successful network.

Start Monday April 13 with a daylong, in-depth workshop, FREE to registrants, detailing the myriad ways money can be found, aside from the ever-more-elusive federal grants. Experienced financial professionals will take you through such mechanisms as loans from local and specialized banks or bank consortia, infrastructure operating leases, capital leases, customer financing, venture capital, and more (details are on these pages).

The economic development track starts Tuesday afternoon with a blue-ribbon panel discussing what policy initiatives we can expect from the White House and Federal Communications Commission. The moderator is Lev Gonick, CEO of Cleveland's OneCommunity. Panelists include Rollie Cole of the Sagamore Institute, Doug Kinkoph from the Commerce department's NTIA, and Chris Mitchell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE

You won't want to miss Ashley Stelfox of CLIC, Joanne Hovis (President, CTC Technology & Energy), economist Michael Curri and market researcher Michael Render explaining how communities can make the business case – including revenue from new jobs – for community broadband.

Can small, local providers fruitfully cooperate with small local governments? Absolutely. On Wednesday, learn how public-private partnerships, typically at the municipal level, are responsible for about a quarter of all premises passed by fiber in Europe. But the idea has not been widely adopted in the United States. Time for a change. You'll learn about what works here, what hasn't, and what benefits you can expect. But what's the long-term survival rate for community and regional broadband? Great.

But it requires more than connecting anchor tenants and municipal offices (although we show you how to plan those). Successful local projects require careful marketing to all stakeholders, and a multiyear plan to stimulate demand. In-depth case studies from California, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Vermont will show the way.

Financing Fiber Networks

Attendees Will Learn The Newest Solutions In Day-Long Program On Financing Fiber Networks

Interest rates are down, availability of capital is up, banker interest in broadband is high. It all adds up to this: Network builders don’t need to wait for federal funding to finance new fiber. Attendees will learn about real solutions that have worked for real builds in normal situations.

Join this FREE daylong pre-conference workshop April 13! Building owners, private cable operators, public and private network deployers and community officials and activists will take a deep dive with real investors into getting loans from local or specialized banks and banking groups, and taking advantage of various leasing approaches.

  Some of the more intriguing new ideas come from investors looking to spread risk and increase their returns.

All that is in addition to more traditional state and local funding routes such as municipal bonds, revenue bonds, infrastructure development and more.

SELF HELP

Some network builders have gotten customers – business and residential – to participate in funding. In effect, they are investing in new networks and gaining the benefits of better broadband as well as a direct return on their investment.

This daylong workshop does not ignore such federal funding mechanisms as Rural Utilities Service loans, E-rate, Healthcare Connect, FirstNet, the morphing Universal Service Fund, and more. Nor does it ignore the prospect of public-private partnerships.

TIE IT ALL TOGETHER

For each financing mechanism, an expert will describe how it works, who’s eligible, what kinds of projects are appropriate, what funders/investors are looking for, how and where to apply, advantages and disadvantages, how and when to combine with other types of financing.

Got financing already? Cutting 1 percent out of the financing cost of a $20 million project saves you $3 million or more over the next 15 years, and gives you extra financing headroom if you should wish to expand. Is that worth a day of your time?

Click here for more details.

Metcalfe's Law and Lunch, Too

What does a state capital city do in a state where the legislature is only in session a few months a year? Well, they network. Robert Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor and investment adviser, highlights a high-level session on Austin's economic development program. The city, uniquely blessed with three competing FTTH operators (AT&T, Google and Grande) is in uncharted but exciting territory – a territory that other cities will soon enjoy. Rondella Hawkins, Austin's Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs Officer, moderates.

Metcalfe, now based in Austin at the University of Texas, has seen the process up close and personal.

Metcalfe's law says the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system. Add some users, and the network's value grows exponentially. Find out how Austin is doing just that... and spreading the word in one of the nation's most diverse communities.

Gigafying the MDU: New Broadband Business Cases for Developers and MDU Owners

So... you're an MDU owner or manager and you looked at supplying ultra-broadband and better wireless to residents last year. But it didn't seem to make sense, even though broadband is the top amenity residents crave. Come to the Summit and look again. Cheaper deployments, new technology, more interest in cord-cutting and from cellular carriers looking to you for backhaul ...

Whether your residents are students or seniors, young professionals or families with children, this is the year to commit to better broadband – and the Summit will tell you how.

Start with FREE pre-Summit workshops by Editor-at-Large Steve Ross on financial models for MDU builds, and by premier technology implementer Richard Holtz and his all-star workshop panel on leading-edge but practical deployment technology.

Get an exclusive first look at our exclusive survey of property owners and managers on how advanced broadband adds value to multifamily properties. The 2015 survey, by top market researcher Michael Render, asks MDU owners and managers in-depth questions about what they are doing – and NOT doing – to meet residents' increased ultra-broadband needs. Ask Render detailed questions.

Business cases? Learn about how new carrier-grade wireless technology can reduce or end in-home wiring and provide seamless mobility, from residents' units to elevator to pool and garage. Walls. No Holes. Barred!

Case studies? Come to the working lunch on Great Broadband for Great Communities.

Security? MDUs spend $20 billion a year on security and access control, but are the new ways best? Learn how access control and security justify fiber in your MDU.

Learn how cable, telecom and pure Internet providers are trying to earn your business... and how you can profit. Cable has begun to fight back with FTTH of its own, based on DOCSIS 3.1. But carriers say this is just preparation for all content on demand, all content over the Internet, and all mobile over cellular and Wi-Fi. Get the latest on real offerings – offerings in place now, at least on a small scale. You'll hear real details about cloud services, Internet of Things, 4K and more.

Benchmarking and SLAs: Learn what the providers are doing to help ensure positive resident experience – improved responsiveness, technical support, quick and glitch-free installation, advanced products and content delivery, and more.

Commercial Spaces: The days are long past that building owners can leave tenant networking as an afterthought, perhaps part of tenant office renovation allowances. What does the business case look like? Who pays? What technologies are optimal?

Bring Your Technical Staff

Once again, the Summit is co-located with the CABA Intelligent Buildings & Digital Home Forum. There, you'll get the technical details behind some of the latest drivers of network installations. A sample:

Smart home technology is here and becoming more sophisticated every day. What will it take to get these high-tech devices adopted in homes– and to keep them safe and secure? The Keeping Smart Homes Safe from Hackers session addresses solutions to reduce vulnerability of IP security systems and of the Internet of Things (IoT) specifically in residential and MDU/MTU buildings. This presentation will provide insight on how to protect homes and people from the many threats affecting today's open Internet and the connected home. Learn why in-home monitors such as baby monitors require special attention. Attendees will also learn about the latest efforts in cloud and biotechnology that will help enable the internet of Things.

Wireless Connectivity and Connected Homes
With options like WiFi, ZigBee, Bluetooth, Z-Wave and others, which is the best solution? Hear from industry experts explain how wireless has expanded its reach and which wireless technology is growing. More importantly what are some of the drawbacks to certain wireless technologies and therefore, which technology is better in certain applications?

Intelligent Buildings
In-building Internet of Things is expected to be an $85 billion industry by 2020. With 75 percent of the buildings in the US over 25 years old, there will be a tremendous spike of interconnectivity as old buildings upgrade and new buildings are constructed. The very first decision you make about what building controls platform to choose is critical, in avoiding stranded investments and benefiting fully from convergence, IoT, smart devices and analytics.

Data analytics are expected to generate savings, but savings is just one benefit these programs deliver. Case studies will highlight five benefit areas: energy savings, health & safety improvements, better directed use of maintenance resources, reusable strategies, and improvements to the design and construction process. For more details, see http://docs.caba.org/MarketingEmailer/ForumWebsite/Dreamweaver%20template/CABA%20Speakers.htm.

The Way to Santa Fe... Fiber

How does one plan for more broadband in an old, spread out development of mainly single-family homes? Carefully. For communities like Rancho Santa Fe in Southern California , broadband development has been slow to evolve even in comparatively wealthy areas because the low density doesn’t attract infrastructure investments from major providers. Providers have also discovered that wealth doesn't guarantee a great take rate. The wealthy have lots of distractions.

Now, the HOA is considering a new $14 million 1 to 10 Gbps fiber network that would boost cable, Internet and phone service speeds, a key need in a community where almost half the families work at least part of the time from home. Payback, if the community builds the system itself, would be 6 to 12 years. But the rise in property values in a sense makes the payback immediate.

The HOA hired Magellan Advisors to investigate FTTH feasibility. In this breakfast session Thursday morning, Magellan's President John Honker describes the steps Magellan took – slowly and carefully – to investigate the options. The proposed network comes after a community survey to which 500 neighbors responded.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler Live and Up Close

When it comes to broadband, no one has made more news in the past six months than Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler. Net Neutrality. Internet fast lanes. Municipal-owned broadband systems. Title II. It ain't broadband if it can't deliver at 25 Mbps.

Whether you own or manage an MDU, regulate at the state or local level, work for a citizen group or a broadband provider, innovate and share new content, sell hardware or software, or conceive, design or build broadband networks, you can't afford to miss this!

  It ain't broadband if it can't deliver at 25 Mbps.

Summit attendees will hear Wheeler unfiltered. They'll get a chance to ask him questions that directly concern them and the organizations they work for. They'll get an early glimpse of the year to come. And they will be witness to what may be a turning point in Internet history, a turning once again back to the public interest and to supporting innovative entrepreneurial content providers.

Commissioner Wheeler is scheduled to deliver his keynote at the Summit Tuesday morning April 14. His words will help set the tone for the week. That means Summit attendees will be discussing his remarks in the most sophisticated way possible – in precise context, with similarly informed peers.

Wheeler has led to FCC in approving multiple major policy decisions. If the courts agree, these decisions will affect the Internet for decades to come:

  • Broadband has been redefined as 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload. Last summer, Wheeler called this the minimum, "table stakes."

  • After a year in which network operators were accused of deliberately slowing the speed of content providers such as Netflix, Wheeler called for a ban on "fast lanes," for which providers would have to pay an extra toll.

  • To make the fast lane ban stick, Wheeler called for regulating – lightly – network operators under Title II of the Telecommunications Act; this had actually been suggested by the US District Court for DC when it overruled the FCC in an earlier case. As with telephone service providers (who have operated under Title II since 1934), broadband providers would have to act in the "public interest" and would be banned from "unjust or unreasonable" business practices. The FCC would not, Wheeler says, use Title II to regulate rates or to tax broadband communications. The FCC would, however, have to investigate pricing and service complaints from consumers and other broadband users.

  • Finally, the FCC made a first move to strike down state restrictions on municipalities that seek to build their own broadband networks after commercial service providers have refused to improve service. The  move came in favor of petitions from EPB in Chattanooga, TN, and the City of Wilson, NC, to ignore laws in their states that prevented them from extending their fiber service to nearby communities.

Lawyer for the petitioners was Jim Baller of the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC), who will be introducing Chairman Wheeler at the Summit. CLIC is offering a day of Summit sessions as well.

The Fast Lane leads to Austin and the Broadband Summit, April 14-15, 2015.

CLIC for Local Choice

CLIC, the Coalition for Local Internet Choice, localnetchoice.org, includes hundreds of businesses, trade groups, cities and individuals that believe the decision of how local communities gain access to modern broadband networks is best made at the local level. The organization will be hosting a full day of sessions leading into the Broadband Communities Summit in Austin.

CLIC does not advocate any particular approach, municipal network, partnership, or other involvement model. It is focused on ensuring local governments have the authority to make these decisions locally, free of artificial external barriers, to meet the needs of their communities. Membership is free.

According to the FCC, 75 percent of Americans have no competitive choice for Internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps, the minimum download speed the FCC currently defines as “broadband.”  Across the nation, a growing number of local governments have decided to ensure that local businesses and residents do have a choice.

What’s at Stake?

At the dawn of the age of electricity, as electrification became essential for jobs and quality of life in communities across America, municipalities filled service gaps left by private electric utilities. They played a critical role in America’s emergence as the world's leading economy.

Like electricity a century ago, advanced broadband connectivity to the Internet has emerged as a necessity for almost everything that is important to communities, including economic development, education, public safety, health care, transportation, energy, environmental protection, government services, urban revitalization, digital equity for rural and low income areas, democratic discourse, and much more.

  State barriers to local choice are bad for the communities involved, bad for the private sector, and bad for America’s global competitiveness.

As a result, communities across America are seeking to acquire affordable access to advanced communications networks through a variety of strategies, including:

  • Working with willing incumbents
  • Entering into public-private partnerships with new entrants
  • Developing their own networks
  • Pursuing other creative alternatives that may work for their communities.

Yet some 20 states impose restrictions on the ability of municipalities to provide or foster the provision of advanced communications capabilities.  State barriers to local choice are bad for the communities involved, bad for the private sector, and bad for America’s global competitiveness.

Examples

Hundreds of local governments have built their own broadband data or video networks, often using fiber-to-the-premises technology.  Some of the most often cited networks are Chattanooga, TN; Wilson, NC; and Lafayette, LA.  In each, a city-owned electric utility built a network that competes with existing cable and telephone companies.  In cities such as these, residents and businesses are free to choose between the city and national companies for high speed Internet access, television, and telephone services. These municipal networks were some of the first in the nation to offer citywide ultra-fast gigabit access.

There are many other models for community broadband. In some cases, the city has built a physical network and allows one or more independent companies to use it to offer services within the community. Danville, VA, and Mount Vernon, WA, have both seen significant job growth with this approach.  The City of Westminster, MD, and Ting Fiber have recently entered into a partnership in which Ting will provide a wide range of wholesale and retail services over the City’s open access network. 

In other cases, cities have partnered with private companies to get ultra-fast networks. Google has built networks after coming to agreements in Kansas City; Austin, TX; and Provo, UT. It is currently planning networks in nine additional metro areas.  C-Spire is following a similar approach in several cities in Mississippi.  GWI in Maine, a private ISP, is working with multiple cities to offer its services.

Why attend?

Local choice enables local self-reliance and accountability and fosters local innovation, investment, and competition. Local communities, through their elected officials, must have the right and opportunity to choose for themselves the best broadband Internet infrastructure for their businesses, institutions, and residents.  

Attendees at CLIC’s program do not need a series of presentations about the benefits of local choice.  Rather, what we need are effective strategies to preserve, protect, and advance local choice across America. 

To meet that need, the CLIC program at the Summit will serve as a day-long workshop in which attendees will join prominent national and local leaders to discuss the key opportunities and challenges that our communities face, developing together the strategies and action plans that will work best for our communities and our country in the months and years ahead.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in the rest of this year’s outstanding Broadband Communities Summit without additional charge.