Governor Kim Reynolds will discuss her Empower Rural Iowa initiative and broadband grant program during the IAMU Broadband Conference. The governor will speak during the luncheon on Tuesday, March 17th at the 9th annual conference to be held at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport. Lunch on March 17th is from 11:50am to 12:50am.
Broadband has been one of Governor Reynolds priorities during the past two years. The Iowa Broadband Grant Program, which provides matching funds up to 15% for projects that provide services to underserved areas, continues to expand.
Registration for the IAMU Broadband Conference is open and all are encouraged to attend. Registration for both attendees and vendors which to sponsor the conference or have an exhibit table is online at www.iamu.org/events.
CLICK HERE for a PDF of the current Conference agenda.
The 3rd annual Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN) Summit will be held on Monday, March 16, 2020 from 12:30pm-6pm at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport. The event offers a half-day exploration of better broadband for communities and rural areas and is FREE to all CBAN members.
Here's a look at the Summit Agenda!
The CBAN Summit is FREE for all CBAN Members to attend! To register, go to: https://cban2020.eventbrite.com
Not a CBAN Member yet? Sign up at https://broadbandaction.com/join-cban/
CBAN membership is free for Community Members, Provider Members, and Advocate Members. Vendor membership dues are based on a sliding scale according to company size. Details are available on the membership page above.
The City of Fort Dodge, Iowa has joined CBAN as our newest Community Member!
Fort Dodge, a city of just over 25,000 in north central Iowa, is currently conducting research into the possibility of a community-owned fiber network. In November 2019, voters in Fort Dodge authorized the creation of a municipal telecommunications utility by a vote of 72% yes to 28% no.
Fort Dodge is the county seat and largest city in Webster County, Iowa and is currently served by Mediacom and Frontier. The rest of the county, including rural areas and small towns, have fiber-to-the-home service offered by small, community-owned telephone companies.
The Community Broadband Action Network (CBAN) is excited to welcome our newest Community Member...the City of Pella, Iowa!
Pella is a community of just over 10,000 in central Iowa. The City has operated a successful municipal electric utility since 1911. In 2018, voters approved the creation of a municipal telecommunications utility with 92% approval. Since then the City has conducted a feasibility study and created a business plan, and is finishing final design for a fiber-to-the-premise network. Construction of the fiber network is expected to begin in the late spring of 2020.
Hat's off to the people of Pella for taking charge of their technology future and securing better broadband for the future. And welcome to CBAN, City of Pella!
NOTE: Correct dates for IAMU Broadband Conference are March 17 & 18, 2020!
The schedule for the IAMU Broadband Conference on March 17 and 18, 2020 has been set, with 20 informational sessions as well as plenty of networking time for attendees. This year's conference, the 9th annual gathering of municipal broadband operators from across the Midwest, will be in a new venue - the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport.
Confirmed workshop topics include:
The Conference is just $130 per person for IAMU members (utility, associate, or affiliate members) or $180 for non-members. Register online at www.iamu.org/events (scroll down to find the link to the Municipal Broadband Conference).
As of today we have 25 vendors registered for our Vendor Show, including a great selection of companies that provide products and services for broadband providers ranging from marketing to FTTP engineering. If you company would like to be represented at the Conference, just register online at www.iamu.org/events. For a PDF of the Vendor Flyer, CLICK HERE.
LODGING: IAMU has a designated block of rooms available for the evening of March 16th and 17th. A standard room with a king-size bed is $105.00, with upgraded rooms available if you need one. To reserve your room, call 515-287-2400 and ask for the IAMU room block.
IAMU is accepting nominations for the 3rd annual Broadband Vanguard Awards, to be announced at the 2020 Broadband Conference on March 18th.
The Broadband Vanguard Award honors individuals or organizations that have advanced the cause of municipal broadband in Iowa. The inaugural awards in 2018 were given to Bob Borchers, Ivan Webber, and Cedar Falls Utilities. Last year Julie Smith, Larry Butler, and Sal Lobianco were honored.
If you would like to nominate someone for a Vanguard Award, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The nominees will be reviewed by the IAMU Broadband Committee and approved by the IAMU Awards Committee.
Phone giants Frontier and Centurylink received hundreds of millions of dollars through the Connect America Fund (CAF) to bring internet access to unserved rural Americans. Under the terms of the 2015 CAF awards, the companies were required to extend 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speeds to 80% of funded locations by the end of 2019 and 100% by the end of 2020. It probably comes as no surprise to most people that the companies are running behind on meeting these goals.
As noted in Ars Technica:
For CenturyLink, the states where the ISP seemingly failed to meet the deadline are Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
While it seems outrageous that these companies aren't living up to their obligations, what's even more outrageous is that they received federal funding for extending service that doesn't even meet the definition of broadband internet. Billions in federal subsidies are being spent to provide internet speeds more suited for consumer needs in 2005 than 2020. Granted, the very rural areas for which funding was received are very expensive to serve. But by setting the bar so low, the FCC is essentially guaranteeing those rural residents will always be second class citizens of our digital economy.
After several months of market assessment and measuring interest, Mahaska Communications Group (MCG) of Oskaloosa has announced plans to build fiber-to-the-home in Grinnell, Iowa.
MCG, a subsidiary of Musco Lighting, got its start in Oskaloosa and has since expanded with fiber networks in Sigourney, New Sharon, Montezuma, and Lake Ponderosa.
MCG says construction will begin when weather allows this spring, with the first customers hopefully hooked up by November. The total build out will take two years.
CLICK HERE to read an article about MCG's announcement at The Scarlet and Black online news site.
Locast, the New York-based non-profit organization that relies on a quirk of copyright laws to rebroadcast TV stations over the internet, has added Sioux City, Iowa as its 17th broadcast TV market.
To view local TV stations, persons living in the Sioux City market area (DMA) can use an app on their streaming device such as Roku. The Sioux City lineup will include primary network affiliates KCAU, KTIV, KPHH, and Iowa Public Television as well as their digital secondary channels.
Earlier this winter Locast also announced that it had launched in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota market, The organization relies on donations to fund operations as well as equipment needed to receive and process TV signals. Viewers who use the Locast app are also asked to make a donation to help fund the service.
The arrival of Locast for the Sioux City market may give cable operators in the area, including several municipal utilities, some leverage in the looming retransmission consent fight at the end of the year. Broadcasters are expected to ask for large increases in fees when existing agreements expire, perhaps up to 50%. If an operator decided not to pay those increases, it could ease the pain for consumers by educating them on Locast.
While Locast operates under their interpretation of US Copyright law that allows for non-profit translator services to rebroadcast local TV stations without receiving a copyright license, that interpretation is currently being challenged in court by the major networks.
We're excited to have a great lineup of sponsoring vendors again at this year's IAMU Broadband Conference on March 17 & 18 at the Holiday Inn Des Moines Airport.
Here's a look at the great companies that have already signed up to sponsor the event and have a display table:
PRESENTING SPONSOR: Power & Tel
GOLD SPONSORS: ADTRAN, Calix, Communications Network Engineering
SILVER SPONSOR: FARR Technologies
EXHIBITING VENDORS: CCI Systems, Clearfield, Moehn Electrical Sales, Mega Hertz, MP Nexlevel, Channell
We're expecting the vendor show to sell out again this year, so we encourage interested vendors to register early to secure a place!
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.