CBAN is back with Lunch and Learn webinar series, including our postponed conversation with Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne about propsective broadband legislation!
Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 @ Noon CST
Presenter/Guest: Representative Cindy Axne (D-Iowa)
The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act would provide significant investment in broadband across the nation and significant subsidies for low-income Americans to help them get online. During this edition of Lunch and Learn we'll chat with one of the architects of the bill, Representative Cindy Axner of Iowa. Join us for the discussion!
Legal Issues in Broadband Public-Private Partnerships
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 @ Noon CST
Presenter/Guest: Jim Baller, Baller Stokes & Lide PC
A growing number of local governments are coming to see fiber broadband networks as essential infrastructure for the 21st century, infrastructure that is capable of driving and supporting simultaneous progress in just about every area of significance to their communities. Several major legal issues may arise in a broadband public-private partnership project, including confirmation of authority, pre-negotiation project planning and finding potential private partners, and negotiation of the agreement.
During this edition of CBAN's Lunch and Learn, Jim Baller with Baller Stokes & Lide PC will walk through those legal issues and take your questions.
Municipal Broadband Financing Update
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 @ Noon CST
Presenter/Guest: Michael Maloney, DA Davidson
During this edition of Lunch and Learn, Michael Maloney with DA Davidson will discuss trends in municipal broadband financing and lessons learned from the most recent projects his firm has helped across the financing finishing line.
Osage Municipal Utilities is losing its General Manager, but the Iowa Utilities Board is gaining a strong municipal presence.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has announced the appointment of Josh Byrnes to the Iowa Utilities Board effective December 14, 2020. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Iowa Senate when it convenes in January.
Byrnes joined OMU in 2016 after serving three terms in the Iowa House of Representatives. A former educator, Byrnes was instrumental in helping Osage successfully seek state and federal funding to build new fiber-to-the-home in underserved areas in rural Mitchell County, Iowa.
Congratulations to Josh on his new adventure!
You may have read the news earlier this fall that CenturyLink has decided to rebrand itself.
According to a news release on the CenturyLink website, the name CenturyLink will be retained for the company's traditional residential and small business customers. Lumen will be used for enterprise services.
What about that other name, Quantum Fiber? The news release indicates that Quantum will be the brand for CL's fiber-to-the-premise services. However your intrepid reporter, who is served by CenturyLink FTTP in Grimes, Iowa can attest that - as of today - they are still calling his services CenturyLink.
What's in a name? Well, a lot over the years with CenturyLink...I mean Lumen...I mean Quantum Fiber...at least here in the upper Midwest.
Northwestern Bell --> US West --> Quest --> CenturyLink --> ???
After more than a year of study, the Fort Dodge City Council has indicated their preference for a municipally owned and operated fiber utility over a public-private partnership.
The City's research into fiber has been operating on parallel tracks over the past several months. They hired HR Green to conduct a feasibility study that included cost estimates and a business case for two options: a full municipal build and a public-private partnership where the City would build and own a conduit network and work with a private company to provide service. At the same time, the City issued a Request for Information that received responses from two individual companies and a consortium of local independent companies in NW Iowa. Each of the three indicated a willingness to partner with the City on a project.
At a Council workshop last week, the Council was polled to see which way they were leaning, and all seven council persons indicated a preference for the full municipal model. City staff was directed to develp a plan to move along those lines.
CLICK HERE to read a story about the Fort Dodge fiber discussion at the Fort Dodge Messenger.
CBAN's latest Community Member is the City of Webster City, Iowa. Webster City has operated a fiber loop in the community since the early 2000's and is now in the process of evaluating options for expanding that fiber to reach more of the community.
Webster City, the county seat of Hamilton County, currently has a municipal electric utility. The existing fiber loop was built to provide connectivity to the electric substations but has since been used in conjunction with a private partner to serve a limited number of businesses and institutions. The City's current pre-feasibility study is examining the costs and benefits of a community-wide fiber network and consumer attitudes toward exisiting providers.
Welcome to the team, Webster City!
CBAN would like to welcome our newest vendor member, ISPN!
ISPN has proudly partnered with rural broadband providers for over 25 years. ISPN offers a complete back-office ISP solution to keep subscribers connected and networks healthy. Partners utilize ISPN’s subscriber management platform to track, provision and manage all services the subscriber utilizes on the network. These services include:
Whether you are a provider just deploying broadband or one with an established subscriber base, ISPN will provide resources that improve the subscriber experience.
Mediacom held an event in Ames, Iowa on September 17, 2020 designed to highlight their efforts to bring faster speeds over their hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) network. And Light Reading has a fairly exhaustive article highlighting the company's "10G Smart Home" project. Here are some highlights from the Light Reading article:
While calling it a "10G Smart Home" demonstration, the article hints that the terminology is more aspirational than fact at this point.
"Walden (Mediacom CTO JR Walden) estimates that the setup enables the network to deliver about 5 Gbit/s downstream and 1.2 Gbit/s upstream to the back of the modem (a DOCSIS 3.1 model, in this case) outfitted with a 2.5 Gbit/s port. Today's D3.1 modems can't process more than 5 Gbit/s, but next-gen DOCSIS 4.0 modems will be able to do more."
The article also discusses some of the cool technology that Mediacom demonstrated at the September 17th event.
Two key takeaways based on the reporting (I wasn't there so I'm going by what Light Reading is telling us):
1. Download speeds continue to be a challenge for DOCSIS. Until full duplex DOCSIS is fully baked and ready for field deployment, symmetrical speeds will be a challenge (although Mediacom said the upgraded nodes in Ames are capable of 1 Gbps symmetrical speeds now)
2. Mediacom (and many other large cable companies) are all-in on DOCSIS and its evolution. Yes, the technology will be capable of 10 Gbps symmetrical speeds sometime in the next few years. But as fiber networks such as Cedar Falls and others have shown us, 10G is already here for fiber (XGS-PON and NG2-PON) and for customers who want/need it.
CBAN's newest community member is using a public-private partnership to bring fiber to every home and business in their community. The City of Fort Morgan, Colorado has built a fiber network capable of serving every home and business in the eastern Colorado town of just over 11,000. The City has partnered with CBAN member ALLO Communications to lease the City's network for 20 years and use it to provide services.
For Fort Morgan, it all started with a vote. In 2009, citizens approved a referendum to opt out of Colorado Senate Bill 152, a state law that prevents a municipality from owning and providing service over its own telecommunications network. Construction of the network backbone began in 2017, and ALLO began hooking up customers this year.
We want to welcome Fort Morgan to the CBAN family and look forward to hearing more about your broadband story in the future!
Mediacom, one of the nation's largest telecommunications providers, is bullish on new versions of DOCSIS that will allow up to 10 gigabits per second download speeds over coaxial. They've talked about being one of the nation's first operators to deploy 10G (the marketing name devised by Cable Labs for the iterations of DOCSIS capable of higher downloads). Now, the company is holding a demonstration of 10G this week.
As reported in Light Reading, Mediacom will hold a field demo of 10G on Thursday, September 17th in Ames, Iowa. Details about the demo are listed in the article. The demo is being held in conjunction with Cable Labs and NCTA-The Internet and Television Association, which represents large cable operators.
The choice of Ames is not surprising in many ways. Not only is Ames the home to Iowa State University, one of the nation's leading engineering research centers. Ames also JUST HAPPENS to be one of several Mediacom service areas that are currently being overbuilt by a new provider, in this case Metronet, with fiber-to-the-home.
Cable operators see the next generations of DOCSIS as a way to hold off the competitive threat from fiber networks, especially those deploying GPON and 1 gigabit speeds. CableLabs is apparently working on two iterations of 10G. One version, called DOCSIS 4.0, is theoretically capable of up to 10 Gbps download and 6 Gbps upload speeds, and allows the operator to still have a small number of amplifiers between the node and the user. The other version, Full Duplex DOCSIS (FDX), requires an N+0 architecture (no amplifiers) and is capable of 10 Gbps symmetrical speeds. It isn't clear from the Light Reading article which version Mediacom is planning to demonstrate.
CBAN is excited to welcome a new Community Member to the growing organization. Ringgold County (Iowa) Development Corporation!
It is our mission to strengthen the economic well-being of Ringgold County through a commitment to business and industrial recruitment and retention; fostering a teleworking community that encourages professional growth and success; promoting recreation and tourism; and collaborating with local, regional, and state governments, as well as with our local schools and other area resources.
One of the goals of organization is to help identify ways to bring better broadband to the rural areas and small communities in Ringgold County in southern Iowa. Mount Ayr, the county seat, is already a CBAN Community Member.
To find out more about Ringgold County Development Corporation, visit their website at https://ringgolddevelopment.org/
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.