After years of advocacy by residents and careful study, a community-owned fiber network in Vinton, Iowa is finally moving forward.
On March 12th, the Vinton Municipal Electric Utility Board of Trustees, which also serves as the governing board for the communications utility authorized by voters in late 2015, voted 5-0 to approve bids totalling approximately $6.5 million for the FTTP project. Overall bids came in just under the original engineer's estimates.
Nearly 40 Vinton citizens attended the Board meeting, despite a winter storm that raged outside and closed major roads into and out of town. There were lots of smiling faces when the Board's unanimous vote was cast, followed quickly by excited determination to get started on all of the many tasks needed to bring the network online by the end of 2019 or early 2020.
The bids were accepted contingent to final financing details, which are expected to be wrapped up over the next several weeks. Central Cable Contractors will be the lead contractor for the outside plant. Construction is expected to begin in early summer, with the goal to have most of the feeder & distribution network completed by the end of year.
By the end of the year, the City of Rock Falls plans to complete the first phase of a multi-phase effort to bring fiber-to-the-home to the Illinois city of 9,266.
The first phase of the project was to build fiber in the city's business corridor and should be wrapped up this month. Already a number of businesses have connected to the network and are enjoying internet speeds of up to a gigabit.
Up next, the project will move to residential areas of the city. Adopting a process invented by Google Fiber and replicated in several other cities, the City has divided their time up into "fiberhoods" and will deploy the network in areas as they gain enough service committments to justify the expense.
CLICK HERE to read a story about the project at SaukValley.com.
The citizens group "Campaign for DBQ Municipal Internet" presented a petition to the Dubuque City Council on April 2nd, requesting that the city fully investigate a municipal fiber network.
The petition contained over 600 signatures of Dubuque residents, frustrated by the level of service provided in the community. Mediacom is the incumbent cable provider and CenturyLink is the incumbent telephone company."
Christine Darr, one of the grassroots group organizers, says the FCC's repeal of net neutrality was a primary driver of the effort that began in late 2017. During remarks to the Dubuque City Council, Darr and others pointed out other concerns that are driving their advocacy. In particular, Campaign for DBQ Municipal Internet is urging the City to conduct a feasibility study to fully explore the benefits and costs of a network in the northeast Iowa city of around 58,000. John Swift, (right in screenshot above)a Dubuque resident and professed "internet power user", works from home. "The internet is important for me, and 2017 was a bad year for the internet," Swift told the Council, referring to the net neutrality ruling. "There simply isn't enough competition in Dubuque for me to just choose another internet provider that will protect my privacy and guarantee my content won't be throttled."
Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligan says city staff will conduct additional research in order to provide information to the City Council before their budget planning session this summer.
The Iowa Heartland Chapter of the SCTE has a great training scheduled in November, and we'd encourage municipals and other broadband providers to send their technical staffs to learn more about "All Things Fiber".
The training will be held on Tuesday, November 7th at IAMU in Ankeny and Wednesday, November 8th at Kirkwood Community College in Hiawatha. On each day there will be a morning session and an afternoon session; attendees need only attend ONE session at ONE location.
To make it even more convenient, two Iowa municipals - Cedar Falls Utilities and Muscatine Power & Water - are hosting remote sessions on Tuesday, November 7th. Both the AM and PM sessions that day will be "broadcast" live from Ankeny and shown at CFU and MPW via webinar.
Morning sessions at each site (live or remote) are from 8:30am to 11:30pm and afternoon sessions are from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
The training will be led by Ron Grigsby with RDG Telecom. Here's the scheduled agenda:
The cost is just $10 for SCTE members and $15 for non-members. Even better, the Iowa chapter can directly bill your organization for the attendees you send so no credit cards are required.
To register, CLICK HERE or go to http://www.iowaheartlandscte.org/events--training.html for all the details. Managers, you can click the link multiple times if you'd like to register multiple employees. We'd love to see a great turnout for this, our final training session of the year!
The Indianola Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees has approved construction bids for a project to complete the community's FTTP network.
The low construction bid for the feeder and distribution network (not including service drops) from Excel Utility Contractors of St. James, Missouri was accepted by the Board, subject to financing. Excel's bid of $3.75 million was less than the engineer's estimate of $4.97 million from NewCom Technologies. IMU's FTTP network will be 90% underground and 10% aerial.
Also accepted were materials bids from several vendors for a total amount of $1.28 million, which was also below the engineer's estimate of $1.42 million.
Construction of the network is expected to begin this summer, with the feeder and distribution network completion late this year. The IMU Board will consider a combination of taxable and tax-exempt bond issues to finance the project at their June meeting.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.