The “Game of Gigs” Continues at the 2016 Summit

April 5-7, 2016
Renaissance Hotel
Austin, Texas

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Why Attend The Summit? | Volume 2016

Join Us for Broadband Summit 2016!

After a decade of steady growth right through the recession, Summit attendance exploded in 2015 – and every market segment looks even stronger in 2016. New technology, new money, new realities have aligned to power new success.

What's New for MDUs – Multiple Dwelling Unit Building Owners and Managers?
Storm warning! DOCSIS 3.1. New in-unit wireless gateways. The mobile revolution. Internet of Things. A reshuffled deck of broadband suppliers. It all comes down to this: There’s more power than ever in the hands of consumers, who are choosing not to pay for services they don’t need but are stepping up to pay handsomely for things they can’t be without. In the same building, owners will find cord cutters, gigabit users, sports and online gaming addicts, families with kids needing access to their school networks. All these fronts are experiencing massive growth in 2016:

Broadband Technology. Learn about cable companies overbuilding old coax with fiber. Hear how some property owners are adding fiber and expecting cable companies, telcos and others to share—and supporting building access control, fire safety, energy management and more. Attend deep-dive 2-hour MDU-focused financial and technical workshops (FREE to attendees) that can challenge your business plan. When might it be best to start with G.Fast rather than fiber or coax for instance? What does DOCSIS 3.1 allow cablecos to promise, and what won’t work, at least not yet? How do you market gigabit service? And what the heck is it, anyway?

Wireless Worries and Opportunities. Building networks are becoming more and more reliant on wireless gateways, especially the 802.11ac routers that appeared a year ago. There’s a new router generation about to be unleashed, too. Do you join in? Coordinate all gateways with a box in the basement for better security and reliability? If so, how do you control tenants that bring their own gateways? New energy-efficient building materials are quite inefficient when it comes to allowing cellular signals to reach building interiors. How do cellular and landline providers handle that? And what can you do if they don’t? Hint: The answer is different from prevailing thought just a year ago! Does your building need great broadband service, but not at the price of 3000 feet of fiber through difficult terrain? Millimeter wave wireless might be a great temporary solution. What are the costs and the benefits?

What Do Tenants and Unit Owners Want? Just a few years ago, they judged owners and managers on the video lineup and Superbowl viewing quality. Now they want reliable, low-latency, symmetrical broadband. They don’t know they want it, they don’t even know what the terms mean. But they know how to complain when they service doesn’t meet their expectations... and so you should know as well. Find out at the Summit from the best in the business.

Your Stake in Corporate Upheaval. Right. DirecTV and AT&T. TWC and Charter (coming at Summit Time!). Comcast/Xfinity. Verizon spinoffs, especially Frontier, get fatter. Cablevision and Altice. A rebirth of what used to be called “private cable operators.” HBO, CBS and so many others offering over the top. ESPN losing dominance and pricing power. FCC finally getting tougher—maybe—with rapacious local “must carry” broadcasters. Cellular phone companies expecting landline competitors to carry tenants’ cell calls and data downloads. The blurring of cellular and Wi-Fi. If you think your buildings won’t need technology upgrades, think again. At the Summit you’ll interact with top MDU owner and manager execs like Cheryl Jordan of AvalonBay, Kathleen Austin of eqr, Chris Acker of Lennar, top technical consultants like Henry Pye of RealPage, Richard Holtz of Infinisys, Richard Sherwin of Spot On, top MDU-focused business consultants like Bryan Rader.

Who Pays? That depends on owners, managers, and developers. Know your options. Know the risks. The Summit offers multiple sessions with all-new business models and financing ideas. There’s only one magazine that makes sense of it all... and there is only one conference. Join a thousand others at the Broadband Communities Summit this April 4-7. You can’t afford not to be there.

Economic Development — Facts, not Platitudes

Take a deep dive into the latest data and the latest strategies for using ultra-broadband to create jobs, attract businesses, and keep the businesses you have. And best of all, broadband is the one amenity business wants that can be served at low cost — and even a profit. A few snippets from the great lineup:

Lev Gonick, CEO of OneCommunity in Illinois, moderates a spirited blue ribbon panel on public-private partnerships. The panelists: Chris Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self Reliance; Nicol Turner-Lee, VP and Senior Research and Policy Officer, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council; Rollie Cole – Senior Fellow, Sagamore Institute for Policy Research, Doug Kinkoph, Associate Administrator, NTIA; and Andrew Fuller, principal, Fuller Apartment Homes.

Another panel PPPs is chaired by Joanne Hovis, who heads CTC Technology & Energy. She's joined by Elliott Noss, CEO, Ting Fiber/Tucows and Bill Vallee, Connecticut Broadband Policy & Programs Coordinator.

Ashley Stelfox, General Counsel at the Coalition for Local Internet Choice will explore what the numbers do and don’t tell us when it comes to the releationship between broadband and economic development. His panelists include Michael Curri, president of SNG Networks; Michael Render, president of market research firm Render Vanderslice Associates; and Jim Ingraham VP-Strategic Research at the gigabit broadband provider, Chattanooga EPB.

There's a special panel on what's needed and what's working with regard to serving vulnerable populations, and how such service improves the customer base and business case for ultra-broadband. Panelists include Debra Berly, executive director at Project GOAL (Getting Older Adults OnLine). Maria Alvarez Stroud, director at the Broadband & E-Commerce Education Center, University of Wisconsin-Extension, will be on a panel exploring these issues for people of all ages.

Is there life after the economic stimulus bump? Yes, indeed. John Honker, president of Magellan Advisors, chairs a panel exploring how Stimulus projects drive and support economic development, what didn't work, and what's coming. His panelists include a representative of NTIA (which awarded about half of Stimulus funds), Bruce Abraham, senior broadband consultant at ECC Technologies, and Paul Belk, president and CEO, North Georgia Network.

Network providers and community leaders will gain new insights on working successfully with economic development professionals, from a panel that includes Aaron Deacon, managing director, KC Digital Divide; Mark DeFalco, manager, Appalachian Regional Council; and Frank Shap, senior analyst and economic development for small and medium-size enterprises at CTC Technology & Energy.

Don't miss the case studies, with Deb Acosta, CIO, City of San Leandro; Mitsi Herrera, special assistant for planning, policy, and special projects, Montgomery County, MD, and James Benham, CEO, JBKnowledge, Inc.

See the complete lineup here.

There's an entire, separate track specifically on rural development as well!

Back to Class: Ride the Student Housing Boom

Looking to take advantage of the demand for student housing? Looking to catch an early glimpse at what young adult householders will be demanding everywhere in a few years? Do you know how to place and manage multiple Wi-Fi access points into one apartment? Bill both bulk and per-service to the same student/customer? Cache campus distance learning content for easy student access on any device?

Summit 2016 features a full Monday workshop and two Tuesday panels on the MDU track. The free two-hour workshop, moderated by Korcett CEO David Daugherty, concentrates on the technical and financial needs of on-campus housing developers and broadband providers.

One Tuesday panel, chaired eminent consultant and former MDU cable operator Bryan Rader, showcases the major vendors wide array of products to satisfy the most sophisticated and demanding customers of all: The Kids. The other, moderated by Henry Pye of RealPage brings vendors, owners, and builders together for a deep dive into off-campus housing.

Aside from the three sessions devoted entirely to student housing, many others will spend significant time on this important topic. On workshop day alone they include Richard Holtz's Monday workshop on MDU broadband and Steve Ross's financial modeling workshop. On the main MDU track, several legal panels will spend time on student housing issues, as will sessions on cord-cutting, accommodating cell coverage, MDu security and access control, and more.

Can't spend more than two days at the Summit? Monday and Tuesday are for you.

Build The Network – And Get Them To Come
Mike Curri and his Strategic Networks Group will be bringing new data and new insights to their popular economic development workshop. This year, they will focus on the importance in getting states, regions and local economic development agencies to put programs and technical assistance in place now to help small businesses take advantage of the broadband they have, or could have. Otherwise the network investments will not see the returns they expect to be sustainable, nor will they realize the full economic benefits if only a fraction of small to medium sized businesses move their operations online. 
The broadband economists at SNG develop strategies for most effectively leveraging broadband investments. The goal is to help make the most broad-reaching and transformational impacts that broadband can bring to businesses, communities and regions. “Our goals are economic development, social advancement, increased productivity and competitiveness,” Curri says.
Curri and his colleagues base their advice in part on data they have collected from 31,144 small- and medium-size businesses across eight states. This is by far the largest database on the subject. 
Owners and managers of multiple dwelling unit properties will be hearing about how the changed carrier lineup, new technology, new regulations, expanding needs to accommodate in-building cellular reception, and yes, new ways to make deployments profitable, have changed things for the better in 2016 — but have set new traps for the unwary. Kept up with emerging agreements on home run wiring and net neutrality? Thinking of succumbing to entreaties of one locally dominant cellular provider to handle your building? Planning to serve that new college dorm just as you did the last one? Realize that cable companies are expanding fiber deployments in 2016?

Checked the new advantages many providers using the “private cable operator” model can offer property owners of all sizes?

We’ve already been discussing this exciting new environment with our team of MDU experts — staff working for owners and managers, people that sign or review contracts with providers every day before breakfast. At the Summit, the legal, technical, and financial experts we’re lining up will give it to you straight: What works best for today’s tenants and unit owners, in various diverse situations.

Can you afford NOT to be in Austin this April?

Rural Telecommunications Congress Explores New Funding Opportunities and New Needs

State, Federal and private funding opportunities for broadband to enhance rural healthcare, small businesses, and education highlight this year's Rural Telecommunications Congress annual meeting, held in conjunction with Summit 2016.
The sessions will also focus on building resilient rural communities by enhancing rural healthcare, small business and education.

The best source of funding for rural broadband might be at the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, Housing and Urban Development, Department of Energy or Justice Department. On the agenda are two panels explaining how to identifying potential partners and best practices for broadband spending by federal agency programs. The Broadband Opportunity Council, which put forward regulatory revisions scheduled to be finalized in 2016, highlights how these agencies spend $10 billion a year on activities that could be enhanced with broadband, but that have typically ignored funding broadband up to now.

 “The Rural Telecommunications Congress will explore both the deployment and the use of broadband infrastructure throughout America,” said Drew Clark, President of the RTC. “The Broadband Opportunity Council co-chaired by the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture offer a number of promising areas that are only now  being fully explored.”

There's also a panel on leveraging the evolving Connect America Fund rules of the Federal Communications Commission, and another on extending middle mile networks to homes in rural areas. Two panels focus on how to ensure successful broadband deployment and use with in tribal areas.

Mark Johnson, Chief Technology Officer of the North Carolina middle-mile network MCNC, will moderate a panel on how the emerging “Internet of Things” that will impact rural America, both financially and socially.

Summit registrants can attend all RTC sessions free! There's no extra charge.

Meet the Mayors With Deb Socia

Next Century Cities founder Deb Socia will host a panel of mayors who have made broadband access a reality in their communities. Get all the details of how their leadership led to success – how they involved stakeholders, educated (and listened to) other officials, residents and business owners, lobbied state and regional power brokers, and explored all the alternatives. The panel is selected from among mayors from communities of all sizes, in all parts of the country. You don’t have to be an elected official to benefit from the mayors’ insights on regulation, marketing, finance, and the potential for cooperation with incumbents.

Catch the Wave!
  • New buildings to Gigafy: Greenfield housing construction has recovered, with MDU builds leading the way.
  • New Fiber-to-the-Home and Fiber-to-the-Basement technology: Better DSL, clever, the cable industry's impressive DOCSIS 3.1, 10 Gig Ethernet and GPON...
  • New Interconnections: Fiber to cell towers, Stimulus- and now state-funded middle-mile support network builders offering gigabit access.
  • New Deployment Tricks: Modern software-defined networks (SDN) make it easier to serve new giga-hungry business customers and flexible intermixing of fiber with copper and point-to-point wireless.
  • New Services to Offer: Tele-medicine, health care, education, security and entertainment offerings continue to expand, driven by giga-nets, new technology, and demographic trends. Now add data centers to the mix. They scale small – small enough to add to a central office or network operating center.
  • New Management: Organizations are emerging to guide deployers and property owners from concept to construction to financing to ongoing management.
  • New Money, New Business Cases: It is easier than ever for even small operators and communities to fund new projects.
MDU Deep-Dive Workshop
Multiple Dwelling Unit construction and greenfield broadband opportunities are at a 10-year high, while MDU residents craving gigabit access and seamless cellular have continued to grow in number as well. MDU broadband is not just for students and employees of high-tech companies anymore! MDUs now must accommodate cord-cutters, work-at-home professionals in fields ranging from medicine to teaching piano, and even 4K TV watchers. Building upon his wildly acclaimed Summit workshops over the past years, Richard Holtz and a panel of innovative deployers and technical experts will take you on an enlightening journey. They're prepared to answer your toughest questions, too. No holds barred
We've got your back!
No one covers it all like we do at Broadband Communities. So of course we'll be bringing the latest to Summit 2016. Detailed workshops. Wide-ranging panels. Super-star keynoters. Plenty of time to ask questions and connect with your peers!
Student Housing Workshop
It will take a 2-hour deep-dive workshop to get through all the new technical and financial challenges faced by developers of on-campus student housing. David Daugherty will lead a table full of experts who have been walking the walk at colleges and universities across the country. From large institutions to small, public and private, students need – and demand – more broadband, in more ways, and with more reliability than ever before. Colleges need to be, well, educated about what student fees might be necessary to pay for the infrastructure and why various features are needed. Not doing student housing now? Consider attending anyway. Student housing is the canary in the broadband coal mine. It's an early warning system for what everyone will want in a few years.
Property owners and managers, Financial experts, Network deployers, Municipal and state officials, Economic development specialists
Our staff, our original research, and our blue-ribbon user (not vendor!) advisory committees will make sure you get the legal, technical, and financial information you need. You'll hear the best advice, from people who are already in the swim.
Greenfield Opportunities Multiply
US housing starts rose to 1.2 million in 2015, best since 2007. But what's really exciting is that annual multiple dwelling unit starts are running well over 600,000 with another bump expected in 2016. That's an all-time high! Before the recession, MDUs were less than a third of new housing. Now they are more than half. Most are rental units, most are being occupied by broadband-savvy tenants under 30, and most are well-positioned to fatten franchise broadband providers' bottom lines or to attract CLECs, traditional private cable operators, and current cable franchise operators (MSOs).

More opportunities and choices for property owners and managers, even as MSOs and RBOCs consolidate! More care needed when writing the service contracts! More ways to differentiate buildings on what our surveys say is the number one amenity tenants and owners want: Great Broadband.

Summit 2016 will cover all that, of course. But what about the financing options? New companies (and plenty of evolving old ones) that can manage – and even build and finance – projects? Deep dives into regulatory and contract issues? New services such as security, energy management, and cellular access? We've got your back there as well!

Workshop on Broadband Business Modeling
Step your use of our free business modeling and cash flow analysis tools up a notch – or more – by attending our free pre-conference workshops. Editor-at-large Steve Ross, the models' author, will take you through the process, concentrating on use of our tool for determining the return on various broadband investments in a subdivision or multiple dwelling unit environment.

Attendees get free thumb drives with all five models, documentation, and real-world use examples as well. Join hundreds of property owners and managers, ISPs, private cable operators, consultants and investors who already use these tools to build a business case or track monthly cash flow.

One example pursued by a 2013 attendee at this 2-hour workshop: An owner of four MDU properties got bank financing to install fiber-to-the-basement with Ethernet delivery over copper in the building with the best wiring. He's been using the great cash flow to bootstrap full fiber-to-the-tenant unit in the other MDUs, intending to swing back and upgrade the first building in about 5 years. This year, that strategy looks better than ever, with DOCSIS 3.1 or in the mix.

Bridging the Digital Divide
No wonder you can't define it. The divide and its cures vary from community to community. But aside from the moral issue – it is not a bad idea to use broadband access to raise living standards, to improve job and educational opportunities, and deliver health care – there's a great business case, too. Network providers get more customers! And better take rates make better networks possible.

Summit 2016 will offer examples and success stories in rural and urban settings nationwide. But it boils down to this: Bridging the digital divide – often with educational outreach, custom services, and special product packages – is worthy of a bit of your marketing budget whether you operate on a Native American reservation, an urban neighborhood, or a community that skews elderly.

Cable is In the Gigabit Game!
Cable companies now have a clear upgrade path for fiber all the way to customers. DOCSIS 3.1, out of the box, ups available bandwidth by 50 percent. Deployments started in 2014, as we first announced. They'll be mainstream in 2016. But wait! There's more! DOCSIS 3.1 has an FTTx option – fiber to customers or to equipment rooms in multiple dwelling unit buildings and commercial or office complexes. It's already being deployed, with customers getting as much as 2 Gbps downloads and 1 Gbps upstream.

Split a DOCSIS node to serve 32 or 64 customers, supply it with fiber running on new 10 GB switches, and it begins to look like a passive optical network as far as bandwidth is concerned, although with generally higher latency and a tad less reliability.

What does it mean for cable companies? Customers? MDU owners and managers? Old municipal hybrid fiber coax systems? Telco competitors? Those questions and more will be discussed in depth at Summit 2016.

New Options for Municipal Builds
No one says muni broadband is easy. But it is becoming easier. There are now more than 200 municipalities served by more than 165 Fiber-to-the-Home systems alone. The secret: Muni systems just have to break even in the long run. Much of the payback is in economic and population growth, quality of life, and "insurance" from the vagaries of a global economy that can put single-industry towns out of business in a heartbeat.

Our Summit and our regional economic development conferences always give municipal and state officials as well as local activists the latest on how to detect what is pie-in-the-sky and what might be a real business plan. And options are exploding in 2016. There's new technology, a new regulatory outlook with interest by the FCC and the White House, new financial players including state funding, and a revitalized public-private partnership model that many may find attractive.

It all makes Summit 16 a "can't miss" for state and local officials and broadband activists, existing operators (especially Tier 3 incumbents), electric coop operators, economic development experts, and corporate site selection consultants and staff members.

Strategies For Muni Electrics and Electric Coops
Seems easy enough. You already know your customers. Your community needs broadband. You have assets to pledge. Hah! Korcett CEO David Daugherty will lead a group of experienced coop managers and engineers on a blow-by-blow trip through the technical, regulatory, political, managerial and financial paths that must be navigated.

His blue-ribbon experts – your electric coop peers – will show you how to look ahead to emerging technologies and financial options, and to ways to compete or partner with others in your footprint.