Will Your 2014 Broadband Strategy Embrace Multi-Dweling Units? (pt 1)

As economic development pros and others develop strategies for using broadband to boost their local economies, here’s one strategy you should consider that can achieve this goal PLUS increase the financial strength of the network. Are you selling owners of commercial multi-dwelling units (MDUs) on being anchor tenants of the network?

Analyze Santa Monica, CA’s execution of this strategy so you can repeat their success. The City of Santa Monica’s IT Department built its initial fiber network infrastructure in 2004 primarily to replace the city government’s aging data and voice communication networks, saving $750,000 in the first year. Then they discovered offering services to local businesses attracted new companies and jobs.

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What Would You Ask Econ Dev Professionals about Broadband?

Last year, I conducted my annual survey of International Economic Development Council (IEDC) members to get econ dev professionals’ take on how broadband impacts local economies. Here’s the final report from that exercise –  http://www.cjspeaks.com/msp/IEDC2012.pdf.

This year I made a few changes to the survey and distributed it to an audience that included local government staff, ISPs, consultants and others involved with broadband projects who aren’t economic development pros. The survey asked some new questions and tackled several different broadband policy issues. You can get that report here – http://cjspeaks.com/msp/BBC2013.pdf.

In a couple of weeks I’ll swing back full circle and survey IEDC members for 2013. I’ll present survey results I’d like the survey to be significantly different this time in terms of the kind of economic development issues it profiles. I’d like to get feedback from this blog’s readers to help shape the survey.

Should I probe how people are measuring economic success? Are there policy issues at the state and Federal levels that these folks who deal with local economies for a living should address? Are there questions that I missed with these last two surveys?

I need to have the survey designed and queued up by Monday (July 29), so anything you can suggest, add, etc. here over the next couple of days is greatly appreciated.

The Gigabit City and Economic Development

Those of you who’ve followed my writings regularly know that I conduct a survey every year to get a snapshot of how broadband impacts economic development. Usually I work with the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) to survey their members. This year I switched things up a bit and worked with Broadband Communities magazine to focus on local government staffs, service providers, consultants and others involved with broadband.

The primary purpose for expanding the scope of the survey is to bring additional perspectives into the discussion of broadband and economic development. I still highlight a core of six economic outcomes:

  • attracting new businesses to a community
  • making existing current businesses more profitable
  • reviving depressed business districts
  • increasing home-based businesses
  • reviving depressed communities
  • improving personal economic development

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Building the Gigabit City – My Latest Book Launches

Last week I released my first e-book, Building the Gigabit City. Enthusiasm for building broadband networks on their own or in public private partnerships is growing rapidly in communities across the U.S. But there’s so much that people need/want to know about community broadband, it’s almost impossible to bring it altogether in one place. Building the Gigabit City focuses on the needs assessment process. Do this part right and you significantly increase your odds for having a successful broadband project.

BGC smallerSuperfast broadband significantly boosts local economies, transforms education, improves healthcare delivery and increases local government efficiency. Building the Gigabit City helps you ask the right questions so you can do the same for your constituents.

Pulling valuable lessons from many of the 340 communities with successful broadband networks, this multimedia guide overflows with practical advice. Building the Gigabit City, produced in partnership with Gigabit Squared, helps rural and urban communities:

 

  1. ignore the hype surrounding gigabit networks;
  2. understand what super-fast access can and cannot do for your community;
  3. conduct effective needs assessment; and
  4. plan effective broadband strategy.

Here’s the Table of Contents

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Incumbents Try [Again] to Get Georgia State Legies to Kill Muni Broadband!

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! FCC Chair calls for a gigabit network in every state! Big telcos tell Georgia businesses and students 1.5 Mbps is plenty.

Wow.

You have to give it ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and their state legislative handmaidens. Last year they tried to pass a Georgia law restricting the rights of municipalities to find their own best solutions to pitifully poor broadband. The full-frontal assault failed. So they changed tactics and are back again this year.

ALEC’s decided, “let’s try weasel-worded bills instead.” Bills full of soothing, innocuous words such as “level playing field,” and supported with nice sounding subterfuge such as “it only restricts investment to areas that are most needing it.”

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Small Providers in the Big Picture of FCC Broadband Initiatives

Monday I stopped by Oakland Children’s Hospital & Research Center to catch up with FCC Chairman Genachowski who was announcing the Healthcare Connect Fund (HFC), and giving a shout out to those in California who are advancing telehealth initiatives. The purpose of the HCF is to expand broadband access to healthcare providers, as well as to patients seeking healthcare services.

FCC Chairman Genachowski (l) with Children's Hospital President & CEO Dr. Bert Lubin (c) and Alex Briscoe, Dir. Alameda County Health Care Services Agency

FCC Chairman Genachowski (l) with Children’s Hospital President & CEO Dr. Bert Lubin (c) and Alex Briscoe, Dir. Alameda County Health Care Services Agency.                   Photo by Erin Goldsmith

I was fortunate to score a two-minute walking (literally) interview on the Chairman’s way to a tech demo at the hospital after his remarks. I wanted his take on an issue that ISPs (WISPs) frequently bring up, such as during this Gigabit Nation interview.

The Wireless ISP Association (WISPA) feels that FCC regulations inadvertently keep WISPs out of the broadband financing programs, such as HCF and the Connect America Fund (CAF), by heavily favoring ILEC’s at least in the first phase of these programs. I asked Chairman Genachowski if there is a way to create rules that result in more WISPs becoming a part of communities’ broadband solutions.

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