Bridging the Broadband Availability Gap

At Broadband Communities’ 2019 economic development conference, held in October in Alexandria, Virginia, participants shared stories about how communities are improving broadband access to facilitate economic development, digital literacy and consumer choices. Following are some of the highlights of the conference sessions.

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Rural Broadband and the Next Generation of American Jobs

Rural broadband providers are leveraging their networks and working closely with educational institutions to provide the training necessary for jobs in industries ranging from health care to technology.

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Fiber Provider Strategies for Bridging the Digital Divide

Broadband is essential to a community’s survival, but building out service to rural areas comes with financial challenges. Service providers have several options to help.

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Let’s Make Internet Access Affordable And Accessible for Everyone

At the Broadband Communities economic development conference in October, FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks delivered a powerful call to make internet inequality across the United States a thing of the past. A data-driven review of what has and hasn’t worked over the past 10 years will help determine the path forward, he says.

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Private Investors Take Interest in Open-Access Fiber Networks

As open FTTH networks emerge again in the United States, investors dedicate capital to community networks that will support an array of traditional internet, telehealth and building management services.

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Municipal Fiber in Sweden

In Sweden, municipal broadband is the rule rather than the exception. That changes everything.

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Ocala Fiber Network Finds Its Residential Service Identity

Ocala adds residential internet-only FTTH services to a multipurpose fiber network that will help it become a smart city.

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Wireless Services Abound in the Multifamily Space

5G, CBRS and Wi-Fi wireless services all have a place. Building owners and developers can choose one that best meets their specific needs.

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Planning and Design Strategies for 5G Evolution

Building out a 5G network will require a new set of network standards and operational methods. Operators should establish a set of best practices around planning, cost-to-revenue analysis, and architecture choices.

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Q&A with Evan Marwell, Founder and CEO, EducationSuperHighway: EducationSuperHighway Prepares to Sunset

With school connectivity goals accomplished, the program prepares to end, leaving new programs in place to make sure the classroom gap stays closed.

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TikTok: Friend or Foe?

Individuals and government alike worry about TikTok’s foreign ownership.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Stop Buying Huawei Equipment?

National policy is muddled, contradictory and almost certainly more drastic than security needs require. But facts don’t really seem to matter these days.

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Editor's Note: The US Needs A Community Broadband Policy

Every community shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel.

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$20.6 Billion Rural Development Opportunity Fund Auctions Take Center Stage at the FCC

The agency looks to deliver on rural broadband promises.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Needed: Easier, Accurate Checks on Deployer Subsidies

At least 28 states now offer some form of subsidy for broadband deployers serving rural or disadvantaged areas. But high costs of validating business plans often make the funds hard to get.

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Problems With FCC Broadband Funding Endure

The proposed rules favor grant bidders who least need the money and are unlikely to bring permanent, high-quality broadband to rural areas.

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Healthy Competition Is The Way to Go

Independents set stake in the growing MDU broadband market by focusing on providing good customer service and doing things the right way. Their approach benefits property owners and residents alike.

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Bandwidth Hawk: FCC Commits to Better Broadband Data Collection

There’s evidence, but no promise, that a usable National Broadband Map is on the way. It will be awhile. We’re watching – and using artificial intelligence (AI) software to check.

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Editor's Note: Ending the Digital Divide

The digital divide is widening. Without public and private policy changes, we’ll lose the battle for universal access.

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Broadband Mapping Is a Mess. No One Knows What To Do About It.

As Congress and the FCC look for solutions to fix the problem of broadband mapping, they should consider a variety of factors, including speeds, prices, availability and reliability of service and competition.

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Good Broadband Needs Good Maps

Insufficient government maps, plant records and marketing are a few of the challenges to accessing accurate data.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Huawei: So Many Pronouncements, So Little Change

Hobbled by lack of technical insight on telecom trade, government policy remains muddled – and dangerous for network deployers.

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Three Myths of Fiber Cleaning

Here’s what’s not a myth: Keeping fiber clean is critical to the long-term reliability of a network.

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Border to Border 2.0: Minnesota’s Broadband Reboot

Minnesota’s state broadband grant program has been praised as one of the nation’s best – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, according to the bill’s author.

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Community Connectivity Is Threatened

Proponents bill it as a win for apartment residents and owners, but apartment owners say the recently enacted San Francisco MDU ordinance ultimately creates more hurdles for delivering high-quality connectivity.

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USDA ReConnect: Expensive Money

For many small communities, the USDA’s latest grant program may be too complex to be worth applying for.

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FCC Proposed Expansion of the OTARD Rule

Providers should explore the possible implications of the rule change and share comments with the FCC.

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Bandwidth Hawk: To Protect Network Security, Regulate Software, Not Hardware

Worried about political opposition to buying from Huawei? Here’s a short guide and a possible solution.

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Thinking Creatively About Broadband Infrastructure

To encourage new, local broadband providers, consider easing the regulatory burdens that make starting a new broadband venture costly.

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Why Broadband Should Be a Utility

Delivering great broadband to everyone in a community requires thinking about broadband in a new way. Some cities have already made that shift.

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Q&A With Jannine Miller, Senior Advisor for Rural Infrastructure, USDA: USDA Supports Rural Broadband

The Department of Agriculture experiments with new ways to drive rural broadband deployment.

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Bandwidth Hawk: 5G, Poles and Local Controls

Lesson learned: It does not pay to run roughshod over local concerns. The FCC finds out the hard way.

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Editor's Note: Previewing the Summit

This issue of the magazine offers an advance look at 2019 Summit program highlights.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Rural Broadband: Dividing The Spoils

Do you hope to serve a rural area that already has some broadband service?  Work around it. Literally.

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Q&A With Lisa Youngers, President and CEO, Fiber Broadband Association: Advocating for Fiber Broadband

Why every 5G discussion turns to fiber infrastructure: The new head of the Fiber Broadband Association shares her vision of the industry.

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New Funding For Rural Broadband

The passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act and the opening of a funding window for the ReConnect program will help narrow the rural digital divide.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Electric Co-ops Embrace Fiber

Hundreds of electric co-ops are considering deployment of residential or business broadband – and almost all want to use fiber.

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Google Fiber Helps Drive National OTMR Policy

Pole attachments have long been a problem for fiber overbuilders that need access to utility poles. With its new one-touch-make-ready rule, the FCC weighed in on their side.

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San Francisco’s MDU Ordinance Is a Win-Win-Win

Under a new city ordinance, renters in San Francisco can request internet services from providers of their choice. The legislation appears to be a win for ISPs, property owners and consumers.

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Impact of CAF II–Funded Networks

Two typical rural exchanges are likely to remain underserved even after upgrades supported by the Connect America Fund. This study, conducted by the Blandin Foundation, concludes that CAF funding is insufficient to support rural economic development and that more transparency is needed if states and localities are to supplement CAF funds strategically.

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Proving a Negative

The RUS has new funds to spend on connecting unserved areas. But how can applicants prove an area is unserved?

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Bandwidth Hawk: CAF II Reverse Auction Heads for (Modest) Success

Auction winners will likely serve between 200,000 and 400,000 rural households and businesses – at best, about 40 percent of those eligible.

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News From Fiber Connect

The Fiber Broadband Association’s annual conference, held in Nashville in June, offered many fiber community success stories.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Show Me the Rural Money

Regulations for spending the $600 million appropriated in March for rural broadband will be slow in coming. Here’s why.

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What Is the ‘Ammon Model’?

Ammon, Idaho, is treating fiber network infrastructure as a utility – to the benefit of residents, providers and the municipality itself. Is this small town demonstrating the future of broadband?

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Federal Funding For Rural Broadband

If you’re wondering which rural broadband funding programs to apply for – or which will solve the rural broadband problem – here’s a brief primer.

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Putting the Gigs to Work

Highlights of the 2018 Broadband Communities Summit held in May in Austin, Texas

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Editor's Note: An Issue for All Seasons

The Broadband Communities Summit brings together participants in the multifamily, rural, economic development, technology and policy worlds. This issue of the magazine has something for all of them.

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Bandwidth Hawk: BBC Financial Models Tackle New Questions

Use Broadband Communities’ free financial modeling tools to navigate the startling changes in broadband’s financial environment. And don’t trust Wall Street.

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A Path Forward To Address the Digital Divide

The FCC and a congressional committee are wrestling with recommendations to overcome the digital divide. Meanwhile, several innovative proposals before the Kansas House of Representatives offer simpler approaches to fund rural broadband.

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5G Technology: Smart Decisions for Smart Cities

5G wireless technology promises many benefits for cities and their residents, but cities need clear, well-thought-out policies for deploying the new infrastructure.

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Local Governments Are Not Barriers To 5G Deployment

In March, 36 local elected officials from Next Century Cities member communities sent the following letter to the FCC in defense of local decision-making for 5G investments, small-cell deployment and the use of public rights-of-way.

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Will Cable Companies Become Fiber Companies?

The evolution of technology is enabling cable companies to transition gradually to all-fiber networks.

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Rural Utilities Service Sees 12-Fold Increase In Broadband Funds

Springtime was especially good to rural broadband hopefuls, with new money and potentially more flexible ways of disbursement.

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Editor's Note: The Bandwidth Problem

What will it take to solve the problem?

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Bandwidth Hawk: Playing by New Rules: A Very Special Summit

Technology, economics and political change are driving a very special Broadband Communities Summit this year.

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Fiber Is on the Rise, Reports Fiber Broadband Association

Deployments of fiber to the home in North America reached record levels in 2017, and according to all indications, they will continue to increase in 2018.

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Building Fiber to Schools

Here’s a good-news story: The drive to provide high-quality internet service to U.S. schools has made tremendous progress, and the goal of universal connectivity is within sight.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Broadband for Rural Areas and the Poor? Fuggedaboudit!

Economic development in rural areas depends on broadband access – but the FCC’s current initiatives won’t help.

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The Connect America Fund Reverse Auction

The FCC’s Connect America Phase II reverse auction gives competitive providers a shot at getting USF support to build broadband networks in unserved rural areas where incumbent providers have chosen not to build. The process is complicated – at best.

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FCC Should Focus On Broadband Experience

In its annual assessment of the state of advanced telecommunications capability, the FCC should forget about speed and focus on the capacity to provide an excellent broadband experience.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Broadband Have-Nots Beware

The FCC stacks the deck against broadband in rural and poor urban districts.

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A View From the Summit

At the 2017 Broadband Communities Summit, held in Dallas in May, fiber deployers shared their experiences and vendors displayed their new technology.

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The FCC Looks At Multifamily Housing

Bulk billing is in the crosshairs of the FCC’s most recent broadband notice of inquiry.

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State Legislators And the Gigabit Desert

How can state legislators help spread the gigabit wealth to more constituents? That’s not a rhetorical question – this legislator is looking for new ideas.

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Georgia Tackles the Digital Divide

Rural Georgians were falling ever further behind their metropolitan neighbors in terms of broadband access. Now the state legislature is preparing a comprehensive initiative to address the problem.

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Bandwidth Hawk: Driving The Digital Highway

The United States needs two regulatory roads – one for urban areas and one for rural.

 

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Broadband Forecasts for 2017

What’s ahead for the broadband industry in 2017? Growth – and preparation for more growth.

 

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