March 2022 Lunch and Learn
Wednesday, March 30, 2022 at noon CDT
Premieres live on YouTube and LinkedIn
In this edition of Lunch and Learn, CBAN co-founders Curtis Dean, Todd Kielkopf, and Jon Anne Willow will be discussing the practice of digital redlining and how the Federal Communications Commission is seeking public comments on the practice. We will also take a look at how the federal infrastructure funding for broadband deployment is expected to flow from the federal level, to states, and finally to broadband providers. During our interview segment, Jon Anne discussed the status of state broadband offices across the nation. Those offices will be in charge of distributing those federal infrastructure dollars within their boundaries, and some states are much better prepared than others. Jon Anne’s conversation focuses on the state of Michigan, which trails many other states in readiness to act on federal broadband dollars.
Starlink Raising Prices
One of the biggest criticisms of Starlink, the low-earth orbit satellite internet service has been its prices. Prepare for more grumbling now as Elon Musk's company says its increasing both the montly cost and the equipment fees for its standard product.
Initially, getting Starlink (which is only available in some areas) would set you back $500 upfront for the equipment and $99 a monthf or the service. Now, those prices are going to $599 and $110 a month respectively.
While the performance of Starlink has been solid, bringing 100+ Mbps download speeds to areas that had few choices before, the monthly cost was already a big lift for many rural residents. Raising the price another 10% could put it further out of reach for many homes and businesses in its target market.
It appears that prices for Starlink's recently-announced premium service will go unchanged - $2500 upfront and $500 for improved performance.
Charles City, Iowa
Charles City Considers Omnitel Broadband Expansion
Dickson Electric System holds town hall meeting about proposed broadband internet service
Jefferson County, Washington
Rural Jefferson County is building its own broadband network
FCC Asks for Public Input on Eliminating Digital Redliningwww.cnet.com/home/internet/fcc-asks-for-public-input-on-eliminating-digital-redlining/
CBAN is pleased to welcome Open Country to the ranks of our growing Associate Member community!
Open Country is a turn key solution for fiber and broadband construction across the Midwest, delivering safety, quality, professionalism and efficiency ensuring a superior customer experience.
Core competencies: FTTP/FTT/x and Fiber Network Construction, Installation, drop buries and Fulfillment Operations, Self-Performing Wireless Turn-Key Deployment
Industries served: FTT/x Industry, MSO’s, Tier 1 & 2 RBOC’s, Wireless Carriers, Rural and Independent Telephone Company‘s, Government and Municipal Services.
We encoruage CBAN members to reach out to Todd Gatzke, CEO of Open Country, and welcome him to our community! email@example.com.
ISU Extension Joins CBAN!
CBAN would like to welcome our newest Community Member, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Information Technology!
Anyone who lives in Iowa is likely familiar with ISU Extension. The organization's mission:
ISU Extension and Outreach builds a strong Iowa by engaging all Iowans in research, education, and extension experiences to address current and emerging real-life challenges.
We welcome ISU Extension to the CBAN family, now 115 members strong in 13 states!
Mediacom Boosting Download Speeds
Mediacom, which competes with many municipal broadband providers in Iowa, says its increasing its download speeds without changing rates.
According to a news release issued last week, the New York-based company will be bumping up the download speeds on all its tiers except for its gigabit tier of services.
The company is also doubling the download speeds for the Connect2Compete Plus (C2C+) tier from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps. C2C+ is available to qualifying households for $30 per month. The service is designed to work in conjunction with the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) which provides a corresponding $30 monthly benefit ($75 in Tribal Areas) to help eligible households pay for broadband access.
(content provided by CBAN Provider member Imon Communication)
(Iowa City, Iowa) – ImOn Communication, LLC, Eastern Iowa’s leading fiber broadband provider, announces an additional 3,200 residential addresses in Iowa City have been added to ImOn’s high-speed fiber network. Residents in neighborhoods including Oak Grove, Creekside, Longfellow, and Lucas Farms can now receive Internet, video, and telephone service delivered by ImOn’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband, the fastest and most reliable communication service in Eastern Iowa. The addition of these Iowa City neighborhoods marks the completion of the first phase of ImOn’s ambitious three-year expansion plan.
“We are off and running,” says Patrice Carroll, CEO of ImOn. “The completion of phase one demonstrates to us that we are well equipped to meet the needs of Iowa City and Coralville within the next twelve months. I’m very pleased with how well the ImOn team executed this first phase of our ambitious network expansion. Adding 3,200 addresses to the network in such a short time is a great start in fulfilling our commitment to building out all ImOn’s existing markets in the next three years.”
ImOn delivers a superior customer experience: the FTTH broadband solution uses the most advanced technology to deliver the fastest, most reliable broadband connection available; the advanced Wi-Fi solution allows customers to connect all mobile devices throughout their homes easily; and ImOn’s personal approach to customer care delivers fast, thorough solutions in hours vs. days or weeks. ImOn expects to bring FTTH service to all of Iowa City by the end of this year and complete significant builds in Coralville, Cedar Rapids, and Dubuque.
“The ImOn team has already begun the next phase of the expansion plan, at an even faster build rate. We’re looking forward to a long future of serving and supporting these communities in the ImOn way,” said Ms. Carroll.
5G: Now You See It, Now You Don't
I was recently at the Community Choice Credit Union Event Center (the former Veteran's Auditorium) in Des Moines for a meeting. After the meeting, I'm standing in the west entry area waiting for a ride and I look out the west facing windows to see what appears to be a small cell antennae on a streetlight pole about 150 feet away. I wonder to myself if that is a 5G cell and, checking my Verizon 5G-capable phone I see the 5G UW indicator on my screen. So I decided to conduct a little field test.
First, I took a speed test with the phone at the window in line-of-sight to the cell antennae. To my delight, I captured the results you see at left.
This was only the second time I'd been in the presence of 5G UW as Verizon calls their millimeter wave version of 5G. The first time was at the Des Moines Airport in January where I recorded an even more impressive 2,278 Mbps download (and much less impressive 36.1 Mbps upload).
As I mentioned, I was standing in the window with clear line-of-sight to the cell antennae to my west. Next I wanted to compare the speed without clear line-of-sight. So I simply took two steps to the south inside the atrium so that a supporting pillar was between me and the antennae. I was not surprised that the performance dropped exponentially just 5 feet away from the first test.
As I mentioned I was not surprised by this result because, like many of you reading this story, I understand how 5G works in the real world. Non-millimeter wave 5G does perform better in many cases than 4G, but it's nowhere near a replacement for a fixed broadband connection. However, the average citizen has no idea that this performance differential exists until they experience it for themselves.
As they have done over and over again, the wireless carriers have done a great job of creating consumer expectations that likely cannot be met, at least until the point where those 5G UW antennas are on every streetlight AND inside structures. A signifcant percentage of the population sees 5G as the savior, bringing gigabit speeds to everyone. Will consumers hold the carriers responsible for the over-promise, under-deliver strategy? That remains to be seen.
Speaking of 5G, we'll be discussing "5G - Fact And Fiction" at the IAMU Spring Broadband Forum on April 7, 2022. It's on the agenda along with other topics such as "Tools of the Trade for FTTP", a discussion the essential tools needed to operate a fiber network; "NOFA Stories" where IAMU members discuss their experience applying for funds under the Iowa Broadband Grant Program; An ACA Connects update with Matt Polka; and "Projecting Future Bandwidth Needs"
In the meantime, if you visit Des Moines or other metro areas, check you phone for that 5G UW symbol on the upper right of your phone's screen. If you see it, run a speed test and marvel at the possibilities for anyone lucky enough to have a window facing an antennae.
In November, voters in Holland, Michigan may be voting on a referendum to authorize the City to expand its open access fiber network to the entire community.
Holland already operates a fiber network in the city's central business district. A recent survey showed strong support from the community's 33,000 residents for a network expansion.
“Similar to public ownership of city streets, the proposed publicly-owned broadband network would be Open Access, encouraging internet companies to offer fast internet for less,” Holland BPW General Manager Dave Koster said in a utility statement. “Given the success of our pilot project downtown, we are confident we can manage the infrastructure reliably and pass along the savings to our customer-owners.” -- as reported by WHTC radio on their website
The Holland City Council has directed staff to prepare draft language for the general election ballot on November 8, 2022.
Join us for the CBAN Reception and 2022 IAMU Spring Broadband Forum on April 6 and 7 at Stoney Creek Hotel in Johnston!
We’re working our way back toward a post-COVID normal. Based on feedback from the 2021 IAMU Broadband Conference in October, we will be shifting the two-day conference back to the spring, with the next scheduled conference on April 5-6, 2023 at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center. For 2022 we’ll be holding 2 one-day meetings to keep IAMU broadband members up-to-date on industry developments, to share best practices, and facilitate networking among members. In addition to the Spring Forum on April 7, 2022 we will be scheduling a 2022 Fall Forum that will be held at a member community in October!
Topics to be covered during the IAMU Spring Broadband Forum include:
CBAN Reception on April 6th
Attendees are invited to join us the afternoon/evening of April 6th as the Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN) hosts a reception from 4pm to 7pm in the Northwoods Room. There will be an opportunity to network with vendors as well as fellow broadband advocates, providers, and communities. The reception is free of charge to attendees and includes a cash bar and appetizers.
There is no charge to attend the CBAN Reception, but registration is required. CLICK HERE to RSVP for the CBAN Reception
Sponsorships are Available!
As a sponsor, your company will receive a tabletop inside the Northwoods Room where all sessions will be held and 2 registrations. Also includes a tabletop at CBAN Reception from 4pm to 7pm on April 6, 2022 in the same location!
A block of rooms for the night of April 6, 2022 has been set aside. Rooms are $99 per night and include a full breakfast on the morning of April 7th. To secure your room, call Stoney Creek Hotel at (515) 334-9000 and ask for the IAMU block. OR book online by following these instructions.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.