Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
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Presented by IAMU and CBAN Associate Member ISPN
Business continuity and disaster recovery planning should be the forefront of every business during 2021. Specifically relating to issues of the current pandemic around customer support, operations and the associated lessons learned. How has the increased network traffic influenced customer installs now that customers are working from home, schooling and teaching from home and telehealth sessions increased? How should you think about redundancy from a back-end support and operations standpoint? How can your company better plan for this in the future? This session will discuss the key areas of business continuity, disaster recovery and focusing on moving forward in 2021.
After working around the edges of the Des Moines metro area, Indiana-based Metronet has announced it will build fiber-to-the-home to the capitol city of Iowa itself.
Local media had previously reported that the City of Des Moines had been in discussions with Google Fiber, which has already signed a deal to build fiber using city-owned conduit in West Des Moines. But Friday's announcement appears to close the door on Google Fiber in Iowa's largest city.
When announcing expansion into other recent markets, Metronet generally promised to deliver fiber to a high percentage of homes, but not 100%. The Des Moines announcement does not mention what, if any, areas of the city will not receive service.
11 counties in central Iowa, in coordination with the Greater Des Moines Partnership, are conducting a comprehensive study of broadband availability, adoption, and consumer attitudes in the region. The Central Iowa Broadband Internet Study was launched last month and is being led by CBAN member HR Green. CBAN members SmartSource Consulting and Kielkopf Advisory Services, along with Baton|Global are performing the work for the consortium.
The 11 counties are: Adair, Dallas, Guthrie, Jasper, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Story, and Warren.
The current phase of the project is designed to gather data about broadband in the region. A key component of the data collection is the Central Iowa Broadband Internet Survey, which asks a series of questions about residential or business internet experiences and captures speed test data for analysis. A series of public forums are also being held to gather input from citizens on the rural broadband experience, remote learning, remote health care, and remote work.
If you are a Broadband Bytes reader living in one of the counties listed above, we strongly encourage you to take the survey and spread the word to your neighbors, friends, and family. The survey will be open through May 14th.
After a L-O-N-G absence due to COVID-19 precautions, CBAN is planning to hold its 2021 Community Broadband Summit on October 19, 2021 at Stoney Creek Hotel in Johnston. As with past events, the Community Broadband Summit will be held the day before the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities annual Broadband Conference. Both events were originally scheduled for March 2020 but cancelled due to COVID-19.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be putting together the agenda for the Summit, linking up speakers, and reaching out with registration members. For now, please mark it on your calendar and plan to attend!
For our next edition of Lunch and Learn, we'll turn our focus to one of CBAN's newest provider members that's blazed a lonely trail in the state of Wisconsin.
Reedsburg Utility Commission has operated a fiber-to-the-home network since 2003. As Wisconsin's only municipal broadband utility, RUC, LightSpeed has a great story to tell! And that's exactly what we'll do when we feature RUC on our Lunch and Learn on May 12th at Noon Central.
The Reedsburg, Wisconsin Story
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
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Hosts: Curtis Dean, Todd Kielkopf, and Jon Anne Will with CBAN
Guest: Brett Schuppner, RUC General Manager
CBAN would like to welcome our newest associate member, The Mike Thissen Group.
Michael Thissen is the Founder of the Mike Thissen Group (MTG), A strategic planning firm using innovation and agile facilitation for communities and organizations who want to exist in the future. MTG has a nationwide footprint however the business is focused on the midwest to address the gaps and needs a community might have in going forward. "Communities and organizations sometimes need that outside resource to convene and blend a strategic plan with the realization that THEY are the ones they've been waiting for." Says Thissen. "We pull in the necessary collaborators to complete a living and breathing document for the client to utilize. We assign timelines and ownership and then we follow up so plans do not collect dust as they do so often".
Aside from the strategic planning department, MTG is also heavily engaged in start-up innovation and new infrastructure such as broadband and alternative energy to build a sustainable future. Michael has been pivotal in partnering with honest brokers to deliver rural broadband to residents most in need, recently landing a $5.7M project in Southern Indiana. "It is always a team approach as no one person can accomplish the sheer magnitude of the private, public, partnership. We have structured this model to benefit all involved." Michael also works very closely with local SBDC offices to help in business planning and judges entrepreneur pitch competitions as a "hobby". Previously Michael has worked in the public and academic sectors and was the lead part of teams that have won two national awards for innovation & community development. MTG is thrilled to be a member of CBAN and is available for free pre-consulting calls at Thissen@earthlink.net
Drumroll please.....CBAN is now 100+ strong and growing!
With several new members joining in the past few weeks, CBAN now has 103 members! We now have members from 12 states from California to Virginia!
Check out our updated membership roster below. And if you notice a community, provider, advocate, or company missing that you think should join CBAN, please let them know about us and encourage them to join the team! Membership details are at www.broadbandaction.com
1. Beaver Island (MI) Association
2. City of Belmond, IA
3. City of Carlisle, IA
4. City of Charles City, IA
5. City of Denison, IA
6. City of Fort Dodge, IA
7. City of Fort Morgan, CO
8. City of Ionia, IA
9. City of Johnston, IA
10. City of Lone Tree, IA
11. Clinton County, IA
12. Crawford County, Indiana Economic Development Partnership
13. Madison County (IA) Economic Development Group
14. Madrid (IA) Area Chamber of Commerce
15. Mapleton (IA) Community Development Corp.
16. Montgomery County (IA) Development Corporation
17. City of Mount Ayr, IA
18. New Hampton Municipal Utilities (IA)
19. City of Pella, IA
20. City of Randolph, IA
21. Ringgold County (IA) Development Corporation
22. City of Solon, IA
23. City of Tipton, IA
24. City of Treynor, IA
25. City of Van Meter, IA
26. City of Webster City, IA
27. City of Williamsburg, IA
28. City of Winterset, IA
29. City of Woodbine, IA
1. Algona Municipal Utilities (IA)
2. Allo Communications
3. City of Bellevue (IA)
4. Cedar Falls Utilities (IA)
5. Grand Mound Cooperative Telephone (IA)
6. Harlan Municipal Utilities (IA)
7. ImOn Communications, LLC
8. Indianola Municipal Utilities (IA)
9. Lightspeed (Reedsburg, WI Utility Commission
10. Manning Municipal Utilities (IA)
11. Miles Communications (IA)
12. Osage Municipal Utilities (IA)
13. Ottumwa Fiber LLC (IA)
14. Reinbeck Telecommunications Utility (IA)
15. Rocket Broadband
16. Router12 Networks
17. Spencer Municipal Utilities (IA)
18. iVinton (Vinton Municipal Communications Utility, IA)
19. Waverly Utilities (IA)
Advocate Member - Organizations
1. Iowa Area Development Group/Ripple Effect
2. Iowa Finance Authority
3. Technology Association of Iowa
4. Makanda Township Citizens Broadband Group (IL)
5. City of Newport News, VA
Advocate Member - Individuals
Communities of residence
1. Ames, Iowa
2. Arlington, Virginia
3. Burlington, Iowa
4. Charles City, Iowa
5. Davenport, Iowa
6. Decorah, Iowa
7. Des Moines, Iowa
8. Des Moines, Iowa
9. Des Moines, Iowa
10. Dubuque, Iowa
11. Elllison Bay, Wisconsin
12. Elgin, Iowa
13. Erie, Pennsylvania
14. Garden Grove, California
15. Harlan, Iowa
16. Indian Head Park, Illinois
17. Johnston, Iowa
18. Madrid, Iowa
19. Maquoketa, Iowa
20. Westminster, Colorado
21. Woodstock, Illinois
22. Gravois Mills, Missouri
23. Savannah, Georgia
As special thank you to these businesses whose support helps CBAN tick!
1. The Bill Menner Group
2. Broadband Development Partners, LLC
4. Consortia Consulting
5. Crystal Clear Communications
6. D.A. Davidson & Co.
7. eX2 Technology, LLC
8. FARR Technologies
9. HBK Engineering
10. HR Green
11. Huntel Consulting
12. ICAN, Inc.
13. Innovative Systems LLC
14. Institute for Local Self-Reliance
16. Kielkopf Advisory Services
17. Midwest Video Solutions
18. The Mike Thissen Group
21. Ovation Networks, Inc.
22. Patriot Communications, LLC
23. Power & Tel
24. SmartSource Consulting
25. Tii Technologies Inc.
26. UltraVue Satellite & Security
27. WIN Technology
Have you heard of Clubhouse? It's a social networking app that lets people gather in audio chat rooms and discuss various topics. CBAN co-founders Curtis Dean and Todd Kielkopf have been participating in various Clubhouse activities for the past several weeks, and we'd love to see CBAN members join the conversation!
One of the things we noticed when we started using Clubhouse was the lack of any broadband discussion. There are Clubhouse "clubs" on about any topic you can imagine, but none that really focus on broadband. So, we have created one! Our club is called Broadband Action and we're in the process of growing the club as THE place to go to talk about better broadband on Clubhouse.
Clubhouse is still technically in beta right now, and while an Android version is on the way, as of today it's Apple only. It's also by invitation only for now, but Todd and Curtis have invitations to share if you decide to give Clubhouse a try. Here's how to do it:
1. Drop CBAN an email at email@example.com to let us know you would like an invitation. We'll need your cell phone number in order to send the invitation to you
2. We'll send you an invitation to join Clubhouse. You'll follow the instructions to install the app and set up a free account. You can also download the app and set up an account before you receive an invitation, but you won't be able to do anything.
3. Once you are in Clubhouse, search for the Broadband Action club and ask to join. We'll let you in and you can start participating.
CBAN will be hosting rooms about various topics as we move forward. A room is a place where people gather to discuss issues. You can come into the room to just listen or the room hosts can invite you "on stage" to be a speaker if you'd like.
Join us for our April edition of Lunch and Learn, and help us spread the word!
Technology Challenges for Rural Broadband
Thursday, April 29, 2021
CLICK HERE to register
Session Description: Fiber networks are the most future-proof broadband infrastructure we know of, but they are expensive to build and sometimes they aren’t feasible. That’s why businesses that rely on broadband connectivity and internet providers need to get creative. In this Lunch and Learn we’ll talk with Chuck Pauk, IT director for Landus Cooperative, about the steps they’ve taken to connect their facilities to each other and the internet. And CBAN Provider Member Ryan Malek with Router12 Networks will discuss his company’s strategy for reaching rural homes and businesses.
Personal observations from CBAN Co-Founder Curtis Dean.
When Metronet first began their rapid expansion into cities in the Midwest (and later, seemingly, everywhere), I had a lot of questions about just HOW they were going to do it. For example, when they announced that they were planning to build FTTP to approximately 90% of Ames, Iowa (heading off growing momentum for a possible municipal project there), the price tag they mentioned publicly -$20 to $30 million - seemed low for a city with over 22,000 households. My concern was that they were going to have to cut major corners to build a network so inexpensively. To say the least, I was skeptical.
I also did a bit of research into Metronet projects in other cities, and my fears seemed to be justified as problems during the construction phase were reported. Lack of communication and shoddy restoration seemed to be common complaints.
Then Metronet announced further expansion into my own neck of the woods - the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa. Urbandale, Johnston, Ankeny, Clive. And yes - my own sleepy 'burb of Grimes.
The interesting thing about Grimes is that it's already a hodgepodge of providers and technology. Mediacom has their DOCSIS 3.1 cable plant throughout the rapidly growing town of 14,000 (nearly double its 2010 Census count). CenturyLink is the incumbent telephone company and offers mostly DSL service of varying capabilities. On the high-growth areas of north Grimes, Mi-Fiber began building FTTP a few years ago.
And in my own humble neighborhood on the south side of Grimes? Well, the homes here were all built around 2014, and so when CenturyLink extended service, they put in fiber. That's one of the primary attractions I have for the area, and I've been a CenturyLink gigabit customer since I move here a few years ago. So when Metronet announced intentions to come to Grimes, I though they would bypass areas like mine that already had fiber.
Soon after the snow had melted, I got a letter in the mail from Metronet announcing that they were going to begin construction soon in my area. Surely that was just a mass mailer to all Grimes homes, I thought. Then a week later, a bright green postcard arrived with similar messaging. Were they REALLY going to overbuild another fiber provider?
I went online and entered my address on the Metronet site and, indeed, it told me that fiber was coming. I filled out a no-commitment form saying I was interested in services. I have been happy with my CenturyLink service, but one of their limitation is that they only offer two tiers: 100 Mbps and 1 Gig. 100 Mbps is less that I would like to have, and 1 Gig is more than I really need, but I chose the larger package anyway. Metronet's service tiers are 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps, and 1 Gig. If I switch, I might choose the 200 or 500 package to save a little money.
One morning in early April I noticed a cute little yard sign in front of my house saying tha construction was underway. (By the way, I'm totally stealing this idea for the next new fiber project I'm involved with!). A few days later, boring crews began moving into my neighborhood from the south. Last week, it was my turn to be a first hand witness to Metronet's construction. Here are a few snapshots of their work in my neighborhood and around my house.
And I have to say, I have been impressed. While I had concerns about them cutting corners, the work they did in back of my house was clean. The entire feeder network running in the ROW was bored in. They used underground vaults rather than above-ground pedestals like Mediacom and CenturyLink. They did an excellent job of restoration. Watching their boring crews, they even maneuvered large plates to cover the ground where their boring rig's treads were going to prevent ruts. They installed two ducts with their boring, one orange and one blue. Now all I need now is a drop!
I will be curious to see how they install drops in my area. For example, at my house they will have to go under a chain link fence, so I am assuming they will bore the drop in. Will they use vibratory trenching where they can or bore everything? Stay tuned.
Lunch & Learn
June 16, 2021
State Broadband Grant Programs
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.