I haven’t been putting out as much commentary lately, what with two trips to Dallas (one for Broadband Summit) and a broadband site visit to Chattanooga. Details on the Chattanooga trip should be out this weekend. But here are a few of the pieces I’ve written tackling broadband marketing and also broadband’s potential impact on economic development.

 Community Fiber Networks Succeed Through Marketing

The controversy that exploring community broadband generated had two positive outcomes: first, it generated much awareness through the resulting publicity, and second, the municipality and the utility had to prove its case to the public. By winning support from key stakeholders and elected officials early on, RUC built a stronger position from which to market its broadband services. The community understood and supported the network before it was a reality.

Google, Kansas City and the Nation’s Gigabit Economic Policy

Clearly network speed and quality heavily influence local communities’ ability to use broadband to recruit businesses, and the federal government must address this issue if it really wants broadband to be an economic engine for urban or rural areas. Global commercial real estate services firm Colliers International recently surveyed corporate real estate directors and senior portfolio managers to determine the importance Corporate America places on factors that can influence where businesses locate. On a scale from 1 to 10, fiber optics rated 9 or 10 across most industries surveyed.

In the queue

Besides highlighting some of the great things that are happening with gigabit broadband in Chattanooga, I have a few columns in the hopper that tackle: DC’s flawed fixation with adoption rather than how it is people use broadband; the need for communities to battle broadband foes in state legislatures; and the need continue focusing on broadband’s economic impact.

An Open Letter to N Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue: Support Community Broadband

I just called North Carolina Gov. Purdue’s office to explain why passing H129 – that abomination of anti-muni network legislation – would be bad for the state and the community broadband movement nationwide – 919-733-2391. It’s your turn.

Here’s an open letter from Harvard professor and legal scholar Lawrence Lessig to Gov. Purdue. It’s worth the read.

Dear Governor Perdue:

On your desk is a bill passed by the overwhelmingly Republican North Carolina legislature to ban local communities from building or supporting community broadband networks. (H.129). By midnight tonight, you must decide whether to veto that bill, and force the legislature to take a second look.

North Carolina is an overwhelmingly rural state. Relative to the communities it competes with around the globe, it has among the slowest and most expensive Internet service. No economy will thrive in the 21st century without fast, cheap broadband, linking citizens, and enabling businesses to compete. And thus many communities throughout your state have contracted with private businesses to build their own community broadband networks.

These networks have been extraordinarily effective. The prices they offer North Carolinians is a fraction of the comparable cost of commercial network providers. The speed they offer is also much much faster.

Read the rest here. Then take action!

Highlighting the Face(s) of Community Broadband Success: Chattanooga, TN

Kicking off my two-day broadband site visit in Chattanooga to experience EPB’s (the public utility) community broadband network.

This promises to be a pretty eye-opening experience, even for the guy who wrote the book on community broadband. You can hear about it, read about it, debate about it. But I’ve found that until you’ve spent time in a community that has broadband, particularly highspeed fiber, you don’t get the true feel of its impact.

You have to meet the people and witness the organizations using broadband to transform their communities and institutions. It’s a powerful experience talking to community leaders and just plain folks to understand the change from the days when they couldn’t get incumbents to deploy the kind of broadband that would give businesses a leg up. Or open the doors of opportunity for young people desperately wanting to be part of the new digital world order.

If your community is contemplating a broadband network, or are taking the first serious steps forward, you have to make one of these site visits. It will give you a major leg up getting your efforts off the ground. Communities such as Chattanooga, one of the over 130 cities and counties that are getting broadband done, have an incredible amount of knowledge, insight and experience to share.

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The World Wide Wait is Over in Pulaski, TN

Today I begin a two-day broadband site visit in Chattanooga, TN to check out the progress of their public utility’s (EPB) broadband network. One of the objectives of the visit is to put a face (well, several faces, really) on community broadband success.

Incumbent telcos, cable companies and their allies like to attack community networks by portraying them as failures. But in reality, over 130 of these networks are up and running quite successfully, thank you very much.

Chattanooga has done an excellent job promoting their successes, and the hits keep on coming. But they’re not the only superstars in Tennessee. I’ve interviewed Dan Speers a couple of times. He’s Executive Director of the Pulaski-Giles County Economic Development Council.

As I’m running around gathering all kinds of interesting stories and insights from Chattanooga, this is a good lead-in article for you to get a feel for what’s happening in this state.

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