How much "broadband" does a business need?

Submitted by acohill on Mon, 03/09/2015 - 14:06

The Blandin Foundation has a must-read letter from a relatively small business that illustrates very clearly the problem that "not enough broadband" has on economic development.

The whole letter lays out numerous problems, but this is one of the most striking:

"I find many candidates that are excited to raise a family in a rural community, but they do not want to live in the digital equivalence of the 1980’s."

This is the challenge rural communities face in a single sentence. How do you continue to attract and retain young workers as your broadband capacity falls farther and farther behind? Read the whole thing.

Frontier signs on the City of Eagan open access network

Submitted by acohill on Thu, 05/23/2013 - 13:14

Frontier Communications has signed a master network agreement with the City of Eagan, making Frontier the first service provider on the City's AccessEagan fiber network. Design Nine has worked closely with the City over the past several years to help plan, design, build, and manage the high performance network. Eagan is now a "Gigabit City," with a Gigabit standard fiber connection on the network. The nearly seventeen miles of Metro Ethernet, carrier class fiber passes thousands of businesses, including companies like Blue Cross and Delta.

Blandin Broadband conference and workshops in Minnesota

Submitted by acohill on Mon, 10/20/2008 - 14:29

The Blandin Foundation is hosting their annual Broadband Conference - Connected Communities: Making the Net Work for Minnesota on December 3 - 4, 2008 in Eden Prairie.

This year the Blandin Foundation will also be hosting a Minnesota Intelligent Communities Award. The Blandin Foundation along with DEED will be partnering with the national Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) to recognize the top Intelligent Communities in Minnesota. Conference Highlights include:

Note that I will be doing an extensive "Planning for Broadband" workshop just before the conference. If you want a thorough introduction to the challenges and opportunities of creating a community broadband project, my workshop will cover financing, technology, infrastructure, operations, and management.

St. Paul, Minnesota looks at fiber to the home

Submitted by acohill on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 16:18

The City of St. Paul is taking a serious look at fiber to the home as part of a community broadband effort for the city. A local group has started a Web site that has a lot of good information on it.

Monticello, Minnesota telecom lawsuit dismissed

Submitted by acohill on Thu, 10/09/2008 - 13:15

A lawsuit filed by the incumbent telephone company in Monticello, Minnesota sought to stop the city from building its own fiber to the home (FTTH) network. The project was designed as a public/private partnership, with Hiawatha Broadband Communications, another Minnesota telecom firm, signed up to operate the system and provide services.

Yesterday, the 10th District Court in Minnesota dismissed the case, finding that the city had the right to issue bonds for a telecom utility and that the city had the right to operate a telecom utility.

The Court went into some detail about the meaning of a "public convenience," as there is a Minnesota law on the books that gives municipalities the right to own and operate a "public convenience." Part of the lawsuit alleged that a fiber network was not a public convenience, but the court has said that it is.

This ruling applies only in Minnesota, but it still may have some influence in other states. Monticello was particularly lucky, as the case was resolved in less than a year. Courts have generally found in favor of municipalities, but the cases often drag on for years.

Missed opportunity in Minneapolis

Submitted by acohill on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:58

The city of Minneapolis negotiated a deal with the wireless provider US Internet last year to provide a citywide wireless system. As part of that deal, the city is receiving about a half a million dollars a year for ten years. The funds will be used to support community portals for neighborhoods in the city. Planning for those portals is taking place right now. It is a great idea, but the city left a lot of money on the table.

Over the next thirty years, the residents and businesses of Minneapolis (Minneapolis only, not St. Paul) will spend 8.4 billion dollars ($8,403,268,500.00) on telecom services, and so there is plenty of money to build not just wireless but the world's best, full integrated fiber and wireless system, to every home and business in the city. Over thirty years, such a city-managed multi-service open network, designed with end to end automated Layer 3 provisioning, could put nearly 600 million dollars in city coffers ($594,041,030.00). That's a bit more than the projected $11 million from wireless.

St. Paul to look for the common good

Submitted by acohill on Sat, 01/15/2005 - 07:57

The City Council of St. Paul, Minnesota has approved a study to consider the feasibility of citywide wireless broadband.

The three month study will look for "the common good" that might be gained from community-managed telecom infrastructure. This is, as far as I know, the first time the common good has been explicity acknowledged in this kind of study. It has been implicitly part of many other community telecom projects, but it's about time we started this particular conversation in more earnest.

What has dominated the discussion so far has been the "unfairness" of community telecom projects, all viewed through the lens of monopoly telecom providers. Using that yardstick, community water systems are "unfair" because someone might want to build their own, private water system. Public sanitation would be "unfair" because someone might want to get into the sewer business. Our legislators and government officials need to start thinking more clearly about these issues.

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