There are just a few days left to register for the IAMU Fall Broadband Meeting on Wednesday, September 26th at the IAMU Office and Training Complex in Ankeny.
As a reminder, here is the agenda for this year's gathering:
Two northeast Iowa communities 20 miles apart are embarking on a common path to bring fiber networks to their citizens.
This week, the City Council in Charles City, with support from the Charles City Broadband Commission, approved an agreement with Lookout Point Communications and NewCom Technologies to design a fiber-to-the-home system. Lookout Point and principal Eric Lampland also conducted the feasibility study for Charles City that estimated a total project cost of $11.5 million.
Next door, the New Hampton Municipal Light Plant Board also approved a contract with Lookout Point/NewCom for their FTTP network design. The New Hampton network would cost an estimated $5.7 million.
As both communities move forward on designing their individual networks, they are also having discussions on how they can work together on other aspects such as operations.
The design process in the two towns is expected to be completed late this year or in early 2019, with a goal of going out for bids during the winter and breaking ground in the spring of next year.
he Iowa Heartland Chapter of the SCTE is presenting its annual Vendor Day and Golf Outing on Wednesday, October 3rd at Kirkwood Community College in Hiawatha and at the Airport National Golf Course.
During the morning at Kirkwood you can visit with vendors including Power & Tel, Communications Supply Group, and many others. The Vendor Show begins at 8:30am and goes until 11:30am. There is no charge to attend the Vendor Show at Kirkwood.
Following the Vendor Show, you're invited to join us for a fun afternoon of golf at Airport National Golf Course in Cedar Rapids. We'll begin with lunch at noon followed by a shotgun start at 1pm. Golf is $30 for SCTE members and $35 for non-members, and includes 18 holes of best-ball golf and use of a cart.
We'd love to have you join us! To register, visit the registration page on Iowa Heartland SCTE website at www.iowaheartlandscte.org/registration.html
You may have seen our earlier article here in Broadband Bytes about the Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN), a new organization focused on bringing communities, providers, and vendors together to help improve broadband. To help inform everyone about what CBAN plans to accomplish, we are going to be holding a "Lunch and Learn" webinar on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 from noon to 1pm.
During the webinar, CBAN founders Curtis Dean, Todd Kielkopf, and Jon Anne Willow will discuss how the organization plans to assist communities that are trying to solve their broadband issues by bringing them together with other community-based providers that can help, as well as vendor companies that provide expertise, solutions, hardware, software, and technology needed to build and operate networks.
The CBAN Lunch and Learn webinar is FREE and open to community based providers, vendors, community representatives, and broadband advocates. To register, fill out the form below and we will email you a link to the webinar before the day of the Lunch and Learn. We hope you can join us!
Don't forget to register for the 2018 IAMU Fall Broadband Meeting. The event will be held on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at the IAMU Office and Training Complex in Ankeny.
The schedule for this year's meeting includes the following topics:
In late August, city leaders in Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa signed agreements with Indiana-based MetroNet Fiber to build FTTP networks in the two communities.
Both cities have been working for several years on options to leverage existing city fiber assets to expand fiber coverage to more of the community. Davenport went through an RFI process three years ago to try to find a partner to develop a project, but that effort did not bear fruit. Under the agreement with MetroNet Fiber, the city will assist with expedited permitting and help with some tax credits but will otherwise not be an owner of the network.
CLICK HERE to read an article in the Quad City Times.
A recent report by the Institute for Local Self Reliance in Minnesota points out the problems with the FCC's National Broadband Map.
The National Broadband Map, based on Form 477 information submitted by ISP's, has come under fire across the industry as painting a much more rosy picture of broadband availability than actually exists. The ILSR report narrows its focus to a defined geographical area around Rochester, Minnesota to show just how bad the federal statistics are.
The report's findings are not at all surprising. Spend a few minutes on the FCC's map and you'll start to notice numerous discrepencies, likely caused by errors on Form 477 as submitted by ISP's or as inputted by FCC staff. For example, does anyone really believe that Lenox Municipal Utilities has fiber-to-the-home in a 4 square block area of Pella, Iowa (just one of the discrepencies your author has scratched his head about when looking at the map)?
Hat's off to Christopher Mitchell and his team at ISLR for their continued hard work at supporting community broadband and helping cut through the noise of self-promotion that large ISP's have created.
Vinton Municipal Utilities (VMU) has reached an important milestone in their efforts to explore a municipal fiber utility.
At a special Board of Trustees meeting on August 16th, Vinton approved a motion to hire FARR Technologies to conduct engineering and design of the fiber network and to prepare plans and specifications to seek construction bids. The design work will be completed around December 1st and Vinton is hoping to get bids on the project in December and January.
88% of Vinton voters approved a municipal telecom referendum in November 2015. After FARR completed a feasibility study in 2017, VMU continued their due diligence by conducting a community-wide survey and issuing an RFI for possble partners. Those efforts reinforced the feasibility study's showing that a project in Vinton is feasible. The preliminary cost estimate for a GPON FTTH network in Vinton was $8.9 million.
:The Federal Communications Commission recently released an Order and Report on pole attachments that may have an impact on municipal electric and telecommunications utilities. Included in the order were "One Touch Make Ready" rules designed to allow quicker deployment of new telecommunications cables on existing poles.
The second action taken by the FCC is a Declatory Order to prohibit express and de facto moratoria imposed by state and local governments on applications and permits to deploy wireless or wireline telecommunications services and/or facilities. According to Jim Baller with Baller Stokes & Lide, PC,
"The wireless industry has mounted a major campaign in Congress, at the FCC, in state legislatures, and at the local level to clamp down on traditional state and local management of public rights of way and facilities. We’re doing our best to push back in each of these arenas, and we’ll keep you informed of significant developments. "
Consumer Reports has released the results of its 2018 survey on satisfaction with telecommunications companies. And incumbent providers in Iowa are all at the back of the pack.
When it comes to cable TV companies, Mediacom came in last out of 25 providers with a customer satisfaction rating of 57/100. And according to CR, this is not .unusual
Joining Spectrum and Optimum at the bottom of the ratings were CenturyLink, SuddenLink Communications, Atlantic Broadband, Frontier Communications, and Mediacom, a perennial last-place finisher. (emphasis added)
The news was a bit better for Mediacom in the ratings for internet providers...but not by much. In fact, all of the large incumbent ISP's with a presence in Iowa fell toward the bottom of the rankings.
At the top of the Consumer Reports ratings for internet service providers? SURPRISE...the nation's largest municipal provider!
Top-rated EPB, a municipal broadband service run as a public utility in Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of the few bright spots for internet service. It was the only company to receive a top mark for value. It also got top marks for speed and reliability.
Of course Iowa has a sizeable quantity of municipal providers, but none are large enough to s
show up in the CR rankings.
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Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.