Mark your calendars for the next edition of the IAMU Broadband Conference! IAMU has scheduled the event for April 5-6, 2023 at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Johnston. This will shift the annual event back to its traditional spring slot.
Click the link below to add it to your calendar. Details and registration will be posted in 2022.
The next edition of CBAN's Lunch and Learn webcasts will take place at Noon Central on Wednesday, December 1, 2021. We're excited to have Jim Baller, a partner at Keller and Heckman LLP in Washington as our guest.
Baller is a long-time advocate for local internet choice through public-private partnerships and municipal broadband networks. We will discuss a broad range of topics related to the role of nation policy in broadband deployment, including:
The View from Washington, D.C. will be streamed live on the CBAN YouTube page. CLICK HERE to access the page and the webcast. During the webcast, you are encouraged to make comments or ask questions using the comments section. We'll address those during the webcast.
The Waterloo, Iowa City Council has unanimously approved a $2.5M contract with Magellan Advisors to design a city-wide fiber network.
The engineering project will be paid for out of the city's allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Broadband is one of the investments that the law allows.
Waterloo has been considering a municipal broadband utility off and on since 2005, when a referendum to authorize a utility was approved. After lying fallow for several years, the issue came back to the forefront a few years ago as a top priority for Waterloo's mayor. They hired Magellan to conduct a feasibility study, then to design a fiber backbone consisting of 40 miles of fiber to connect city facilities. The full design will include over 300 miles of fiber routes.
If Waterloo succeeds in funding and building a fiber network, it would become Iowa's largest municipal telecom system, pushing its neighbor to the west - Cedar Falls Utilities - to second largest.
CLICK HERE to read more about Waterloo's latest developments in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.
Over 30 people attended the 3rd CBAN Summit on October 19th in Johnston, Iowa. It was the first time together in person for CBAN members since before the coronavirus pandemic.
Attendees participated in a wide range of discussions on community broadband issues, learned about the overall state of community broadband in America, and heard a presentation about how one community in Iowa managed to bring the dream of a community-owned broadband network to reality.
Thank you to everyone who participated, espcecially the Associate Members who sponsored the event and had tabletop exhibits:
Voters in Harlan, Iowa have approved a public measure that gives the Harlan Municipal Utilities (HMU) the authority - but not the obligation - to sell the city's municipal telecom utility.
Shall the following public measure be adopted? “Shall the Board of Trustees of Harlan Municipal Utilities, City of Harlan, in the County of Shelby, State of Iowa, be authorized to discontinue and dispose of the municipally-owned communications utility by sale?”
The measure received 63.3% yes votes and 36.7% no votes. It is uncertain what the next steps will be, however the HMU board is not forced to sell the utility at this time.
Unofficial results of the public measure were obtained at https://westerniowatoday.com/2021/11/02/shelby-county-election-results-3/
Voters in Alta, Iowa have soundly rejected an effort to transfer governance of the city's municipal utilities from the indepenent utility board to the city council.
Public measure CJ, on the ballot in Alta yesterday, read as follows:
SHALL THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC MEASURE BE ADOPTED? To have the Alta Municipal Utilities be governed under the Alta City Council with the discontinueance of the Alta, Iowa Utility Board of Trustees?
The vote wasn't even close. Only 7.1% of the voters approved of the measure with 92.9% voting no. Alta's municipal electric, water, and broadband utilities will remain under the governance of the Alta Municipal Utilities board of trustees.
Iowa OCIO will distribute up to $200 million in federally-sourced funds through the next round of the Iowa Broadband Grant Program.
After announcing $97.5 million in awards to 39 recipients just weeks ago, the Iowa Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) this week says another $200 million is coming in the next round of funding, NOFA007.
Unlike NOFA006, which used money allocated by the Iowa Legislature from the state's budget, NOFA007 funds are flowing from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress earlier this year and signed by President Biden. Under ARPA, states, counties, and municipalities were given allocations based on population. One approved use for these funds was broadband infrastructure. Governor Kim Reynolds directed that a total of $200 million from the state's allocation go into the new NOFA announced this week.
The timeline for NOFA007 is shown below:
From an initial review of the program rules, it appears that the funding will be targeted exclusively to areas without 25x3 access. That's the same criteria as "Tier 1" areas on version 4 of the Iowa Broadband Availability Map. The reason for targeting these areas is simple - that's what the ARPA legislation allows for. The OCIO is currently revising the Iowa map to include a new layer showing areas that will be eligible for NOFA007. It is expected that the new map will remove the areas where funding was just awarded under NOFA006.
Two great events coming next week...there's still time to register and participate in the disucssion. We'll see you there!
Two new provider members joined the CBAN family this week!
Mahaska Communications Group (MCG) is based in Oskaloosa, Iowa and provides fiber-to-the-home in Oskaloosa. MCG is a subsidiary of Musco Lighting, also headquartered in Oskaloosa. In addition to its hometown, Oskaloosa has expanded its footprint to provide services in Montezuma and Lake Ponderosa, New Sharon, Sigourney, and several rural areas. MCG is currently building its network out in Grinnell and has announced plans to serve Ottumwa and Newton in the next several years.
Casey Mutual Telephone is based in Casey, Iowa but has been steadily growing its footprint to bring fiber to underserved rural areas and communities in west central Iowa. Casey Mutual has several fiber projects underway, including in Adair, and was the recipient of $2.6 million from NOFA006 of the Iowa Broadband Grant program for rural fiber builds in Adair, Audubon, Cass, and Guthrie County.
CBAN salutes community-focused providers like MCG and Casey Mutual for bringing better broadband to more Americans. If our nation's broadband gaps are to be filled and close the digital divide, it's companies like theirs that will do the job.
If you are part of a forward-looking community-focused broadband provider (independent telecommunications company, municipal utility, or cooperative), we'd love to have you as part of the CBAN family, which now has over 110 members. Provider Membership is FREE...visit our membership web page to find out more.
Mediacom was a successful bidder for CBRS radio spectrum in states across its cable system footprint. Some details are starting to emerge about what they plan to do with that spectrum.
As reported in Light Reading, Mediacom has six towners activated in six states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota), utilizing fixed wireless products from Casa Systems and Ericsson.
Mediacom Bolt is the brand name for this new fixed wireless product. As shown on their website, the company is marketing three tiers of service (25x3, 50x5, and 100x10 or 20 depending on location). The company is accepting pre-registrations now, but is not revealing exactly where and when its service will be available.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.