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 8th annual IAMU Broadband Conference is in the books.
Over 140 people (attendees and vendor representatives) enjoyed two days of learning and networking at the Holiday Inn and Suites in Urbandale.
Broadband Vanguard Awards
IAMU honored two individuals and one organization for outstanding support and service to municipal broadband during the inaugural Broadband Vanguard Awards held on Thursday, March 22, 2018. IAMU Executive Director Troy DeJoode presented each of the winners with a certificate during the awards ceremony.
A new study conducted by Pew Research shows that a large majority of Americans believe that communities should have the right to build municipal broadband networks if their needs are not being met. 70% of survey respondents said municipal broadband should be an option for communities while just 27% said no.
CLICK HERE to read a summary of the study.
The City of Decorah has selected Uptown Services of Boulder, Colorado to conduct a feasibility study for a possible fiber-to-the-home project in the northeast Iowa community.
The study, which has a completion date of July 31, 2017, will give Decorah leaders direction on whether or not a community fiber broadband network in Decorah would be feasible, including a cost estimate and business case. Voters in Decorah approved a municipal telecommunications utility in November 2015 and the city has been taking steps to move toward a feasibility study since the election.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.