A new venue awaits attendees and sponsors at the 2020 IAMU Broadband Conference.
The conference will be held on March 18 and 19, 2020 at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport, 6111 Fleur Drive in Des Moines. The new venue should allow for an even better experience for everyone and more "breathing room" for our Vendor Show.
The session agenda is still being developed and should be finalized by the end of January. If anyone has an session idea, please share it with Curtis Dean, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vendors and attendees can register online at www.iamu.org/events. A reminder for IAMU members (utility and associate members): remember to log into your account before registering so you pay the member rate.
CLICK HERE for the Vendor Flyer
CLICK HERE for the attendee flyer and tentative schedule.
Verizon Launches 5G in Des Moines
Verizon has announced that is has launched 5G service using millimeter wave spectrum in parts of the Des Moines metro area. Although actual coverage maps have not been released by Verizon, various media reports say 5G is live in in parts of downtown, East Village and West Des Moines. Additional 5G coverage is coming around landmarks including the Iowa state capitol, Hyvee Hall, Wells Fargo Arena, Pappajohn Sculpture Park, Principal Park, Jordan Creek Town Center and MercyOne West Des Moines.
As in other cities, the Verizon 5G will have very limited range due to the nature of the millimeter wave frequencies being used. As a result, coverage will be mainly outdoors in public areas where the device has line-of-sight to a 5G cell. Then there's the issue of whether you can actually USE 5G's capabilities. Only a handful of newer mobile devices have 5G-capable radios, so the rollout's impact will be limited for some time to come.
Verizon competitor US Cellular has also announced plans to start rolling out 5G in its service territory in 2020. Unlike Verizon, however, it will be using spectrum with better ability to provide indoor coverage, although not being able to provide the gigabit speeds that Verizon is touting.
The Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) has once again produced an excellent broadband report, this one focusing on the vital role that cooperatives are playing in the deployment of fiber networks.
The policy brief issued this fall is actually the third update of a report originally issued in 2017. "Cooperative Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model for the Internet Era" outlines the efforts of both telecommunications cooperatives and electric cooperatives in bringing fiber to rural areas across the country. As the report states, 72.7% of the fiber service available in rural areas is provided by a cooperative.
The importance of cooperatives in enhancing rural broadband will only continue to grow. And the fact that cooperatives are building fiber networks means that rural Americans will in many cases have access to better broadband facilities than people living in cities dominated by copper-based cable and telephone companies.
CLICK HERE to visit the ISLR web page that includes a summary of the cooperative report and to download a PDF.
The New Hampton fiber-to-the-home project is a go after the utility board awarded contracts for various elements of construction at their meeting December 16th.
MP Nexlevel, LLC of Minnesota was the low bidder on the outside plant portion of the project. Their base bid of $6.2 million dollars was under the engineer's estimate by approximately $770,000. Additional bids for fiber access equipment, routers, and miscellaneous equipment amounted to another $587,000. No bids were received for power and batteries so that portion of the project, estimated at $75,000, will be bid later.
Construction on New Hampton's GPON fiber network will begin as soon as conditions allow in the spring of 2020 and is expected to take one construction season to complete. If all goes well, New Hampton residents could be connecting to their community-owned fiber network in early 2021.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.