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/
In a new edition of his always-excellent blog "Pots and Pans", Doug Dawson with CCG Consulting discusses recent speed tests (measured by Ookla) for beta test customers of Starlink, Elon Musk's satellite-based internet delivery service.
As Dawson reports, there are only a limited number of speed tests available as bet customers are just starting to be activated for Starlink. But reported download speeds ranged from 35 Mbps to 60 Mbps and upload speeds of 5 Mbps and 18 Mbps. Latency, always a concern with satellite services (and a big problem for geosynchronous orbits) are reasonable, between 31 milliseconds and 94 ms.
I call these results disappointing because the speeds are so much slower than Elon Musk’s hype about providing gigabit data speeds from the satellites for the average customer. Unfortunately, a lot of rural Americans let themselves get sucked into that hype and they’ve been talking about satellite broadband as the solution that would solve rural broadband issues forever. There are communities putting broadband plans on hold since they think that the satellites will solve all of the local broadband problems. - Doug Dawson, CCG Consulting, Pots and Pans
While Starlink speeds are far better than what many rural citizens have access to, they do not match the speed and performance of fiber optic networks. Hopefully as the full constellation of Starlink satellites is deployed performance will improve.
Shifting schedules in the 116th United States Congress has forced a postponement of CBAN's Lunch and Learn on the topic of the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act. Representative Cindy Axne (D-IA), one of the architects of the Act, will be joining CBAN co-founders Curtis Dean, Todd Kielkopf, and Jon Anne Willow for a discussion of Act and how it intends to help bring better broadband to rural America.
The webinar will be held on Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at Noon Central.
Like all of our Lunch and Learn webinars, participation is free but registration is required. CLICK HERE to register and we'll see you on October 7th!
Another week, another MetroNet announcement in Iowa. The Indiana-based company continued its aggressive growth into Iowa with news that Johnston, Iowa is its next new market for fiber-to-the-home.
Johnston is part of the Des Moines metro area and situated just north of Urbandale, where MetroNet has also announced expansion plans. Like other metro Des Moines communities, Johnston has been experiencing rapid growth over the past 20 years, growing from under 9,000 in population to over 22,000 according to 2019 Census estimates. The community is currently served by Mediacom and CenturyLink, with several smaller providers offering service to MDU's.
According to a news release by the City of Johnston, MetroNet plans to begin construction in early 2021 and have the network completed within a year. Like Urbandale, MetroNet is pledging to cover approximately 90% of the premises in the community.
Frontier Communications, which filed for bankruptcy in April, can now move forward with its restructuring plan after the US Bankruptcy Court in the southern district of New York signed off on the plan.
The company, which has suffered significant customer losses due to neglect of its network over the past two decades, will now see its debt reduced by $10 billion. Company leaders say the debt reduction will allow them to make needed investments and become competitive.
CLICK HERE for a story on the Frontier Bankruptcy plan at Telecompetitor.
Paso Robles, CA
After launching fiber-to-the-premise projects in Davenport, Bettendorf, and Ames Iowa during the past year, Metronet Fibernet LLC is expanding to the Des Moines metro area.
At their August 11, 2020 meeting the Urbandale City Council approved a letter agreement with Metronet that commits the Indiana-based telecommunications company to building a fiber network to serve not less than 90% of Urbandale that isn't already served by fiber. The City is providing Metronet with accelerated permitting for Metronet, permission to attach to exisiting poles, and installation of new poles where needed. The agreement indicates that Metronet will bury fiber lines in areas where the electric service is already underground.
While Urbandale (population 44,379 according to 2019 estimates) is the first Des Moines metro suburb to attract Metronet, it may not be the last. It is reported to be eyeing at least two other suburbs for the coming year, although agreements have not been announced. Metronet has also announced that it intends to serve Nevada, Iowa (east of Ames) and LeClaire, Iowa (north of Bettendorf) as extensions of their larger projects there.
Although Metronet does not seek significant public investment from the communities in its expansion plan, there have been concerns raised about its coverage area. For example in Ames Metronet is not building in some areas of the city due to lack of financial return. The 90% commitment in Urbandale is higher than the approximately 70% coverage intention in Ames.
It's been four years since Google Fiber has expanded into a new market. Most industry experts though that the Google Fiber "experiment" was likely over. But Google Fiber is back, and its coming to West Des Moines, Iowa.
Last week the City announced that Google Fiber will be the first tenant in a city-wide conduit network that will be built over the next four years. The $40 million city-owned conduit network will be financed using General Obligation Urban Renewal Capital Notes. Google Fiber will pay the City $2.25 per month for each fiber connection on the network and would be responsible for placing the fiber in the conduit to serve consumers.
In some ways the arrangement is similar to what has been done in Lincoln, Nebraska. In Lincoln the City built a conduit network and is leasing that conduit to CBAN provider member ALLO Communications so it can provide fiber-to-the-home services. But it's a new model of operations in Iowa where most city investment in broadband has come through construction and operation of a complete network, fiber and all.
City officials say that while Google Fiber will be the first occupant of the conduit network, it's arrangement is not exclusive.
There's been plenty of press about the announcement. Click on the links below to read more.
Des Moines Register: West Des Moines Set To Become Iowa's First Google Fiber City
Telecompetitor: "Google Fiber Awakens, Coming To Iowa"
Light Reading: "Google Fiber Returns to Expansion Mode Through City Pact"
It's interesting to note that despite the big media splash, West Des Moines residents will certainly not be among the first in Iowa to have gigabit fiber access. In fact, parts of West Des Moines and Waukee already have FTTP from Mi-Fiber, a subsidiary of GRM Networks. Other Iowa communities with access to gigabit+ fiber networks from municipal providers:
In addition to these, CBAN member ImOn Communications is building FTTP in Iowa City and Dubuque; MetroNet Fiber is building fiber networks in Ames, Davenport, and Bettendorf. And numerous small communities in Iowa are already served by fiber as a result of investment by independent telecommunications companies such as cooperatives and mutuals.
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Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.