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

Continue reading

Kansas City, Google Fiber and Economic Development

All eyes seem to be on Kansas City after Google’s announcement last Thursday with important details on their fiber network. A lot of those details address consumer-side issues. Google promises to address business apps at some later date.

In the meantime, KC stakeholders are addressing broadband’s impact on economic development, and in part through their Web site GoogleConnectsKC. I was retained to write a series of 12 articles for the site on different communities that are making economic development strides using wired and wireless broadband.

Five have been posted so far and each week one of the remaining seven are being posted. Check these out and add them to your broadband playbook. Economic development in its many forms will be one of broadband’s killer apps in KC and elsewhere. This series helps you reinforce that strategy.

Articles so far

Continue reading

National Broadband Strategy Needs A JFK, a Google That Delivers and Competition

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.” President John F. Kennedy, 1961.

In July of 1969, the first man walked on the moon and returned safely to the earth. This simple mission statement that galvanized the government, private sector and average citizens to produce awesome results is only 31 words. Where are broadband’s 31 words to move a nation?

This past week I engaged in a lively debate on GigaOm with the National Broadband Plan’s chief architect, Blair Levin. I disagreed with several of his comments in recent interviews I felt wouldn’t be good if adopted into national policy, as well as the Plan’s failure to address broadband competition.

Mr. Levin replied with a column of his own. It’s nice to know that people in D.C.’s circles of influence read my work, but I could see where my messages needed a little clarity as to where he and I both agree and disagree. So I followed up with a rebuttal.

Issues in this dialog are critical as DC tries to facilitate broadband reaching more people. I support the Plan’s core content and recommendation, but see several deficiencies in executing national broadband strategy that threaten the hard work of a lot of great people.

Continue reading

Craig Settles’ Broadband Question of the Day (August 13)

This question comes from an attendee of my Webinar “Finding the Right Business Model for Community Broadband

What is your take on the Google Fiber project?

In my Webinar on business models a couple of weeks ago, someone sent me this question that I didn’t have time to answer in the session. Right after ending that event I saw the first wave of the Twitter tsunami on the Google-Verizon deal before I even saw the question. I figure today’s a good day to tackle this given that a whole bunch of folks are over at Google protesting the new Evil Empire.

First here are my thoughts the day after the Google Fiber announcement in Ferbruary. But you probably want a take on GF in light of The Deal, right?  Ok, here it is.

Forget for a moment the pain of that perceived – ok, actual – knife in the back of net neutrality. Remember the scene from The Godfather 1 where the Mafioso who planned to whack Michael Corleone gets caught? Before they take him on his final ride, he says, “it’s just business…nothing personal. I like Mikey.”

Continue reading

Strengthen the FCC’s Hand through Third Party Validation

While it’s easy this week to get caught up in the Google-Verizon news and bemoan the end of the Internet as we know it (though I think the real news is that Verizon gave net neutrality advocates a HUGE boost), a little watched sub-plot is cooking in the FCC vs. incumbents Battle for DC Domination. The FCC may be waving the V sign soon, but for Validation. Here’s why validation can mean victory for communities wanting better broadband.

Implementation of the National Broadband Plan has kind of stalled in the face of a he-said/she-said argument of epic proportions. Communities, consumer advocates, a lot of policy wonks and a majority of the FCC have been vigorously stating that (summarized) “broadband in the U.S. sucks!” Incumbents and their allies have been stating just as vigorously “no it doesn’t suck and we’ll spend a ge-zillion dollars telling you it doesn’t. If the FCC issues a report, we’ll spend another ge-zillion telling everybody why the report sucks.”

Who’s right? More importantly, who is right enough to persuade the policy making machine in D.C. and influence broadband deployments locally. This is where the V-word comes in. Lack of independent validation (Connected Nation doesn’t count) is the Achilles heel of the broadband stimulus, those grants sent to states to develop broadband maps, the national plan, attempts at Congressional legislation and the role of the FCC as broadband regulator.

Continue reading

National Broadband Plan? Think Globally, Act Locally.

It’s been almost two weeks, and we’ve seen a couple thousand news articles plus an avalanche of blogs on the FCC’s national broadband plan. Heaven knows I don’t want to babble down the same worn paths as all those other folks, so I’m going to come at this thing a little differently than most.

I want to look at this plan from the perspective of the small town, an urban center, a rural county. What exactly does the NBP (we geeks need an acronym for everything, don’t we) do for these communities directly, in some real way that they can touch? More importantly, what can communities *do* (action steps) to derive some benefit from the plan?

Continue reading

Nat’l Broadband Plan – Too much, Too Little? Just Right?

Last week someone asked me if I thought, based on what I had seen so far of the FCC’s national broadband plan, the plan is too ambitious, or not ambitious enough.  Oh boy, that’s a nice open-ended one you can take in a dozen directions. But I’ll try to put a narrow point on this.

I believe the plan is too ambitious for many inside Washington to fully embrace in terms of executing legislation and making funds available. The average lawmaker, particularly with elections coming up this year, could care less about broadband. These are the ones most susceptible to lobbyists’ attempts to neuter the plan, which make no mistake, they are in full Destruct mode. The telecom and cable industry will mine the lofty rhetoric while trying to kill anything they feel threatens profits.

On the other hand, the plan is not ambitious enough for some when you consider one glaring vulnerability. In some people’s mind, they feel it does not grab by the throat the main source of our many problems with broadband – the lack of competition and the ease with which the incumbents can kill competition. As I read the executive summary, I worry that what steps are in the plan to tackle the competition issue may not survive the long knives of lobbyists and their industry-friendly Congressional allies.

Continue reading

Google’s Gonna Do what!?

Yesterday morning I was going to write about my new book I released, Fighting the Next Good Fight: Bringing true broadband to your community. Then the Google news about them jumping into the fiber-to-the-home business hit early on, and the rest of the day was spent talking to people wanting to know what it all meant. More to write about.

As the night eases into the a.m. hours, I figure I’ll cover both in one post. My book methodically lays out steps you should follow to effectively plan for a financially sustainable broadband network (see Table of Contents). And here comes Google with a bold proclamation to take action that happens to reflect many of the lessons presented in the book. Serendipity is a beautiful thing.

Is seeing believable?

The most common question I heard was, is this a real move by Google to become a broadband player, or just a feint, a jab-and-move kind of deal similar to Google’s efforts in muni wireless in 2006, or their play for spectrum soon after this. Because Google’s long-term fortunes are buoyed by there being blazing fast broadband everywhere possible, I don’t count out its extended involvement in these projects.

First, Google has the market clout and bankroll to be taken seriously, and so there will be a spotlight on Google’s broadband actions as long as they pursue them, subsequently giving the company the mantle of a leader in the space. It could become a long lasting distinction if, as one of their product managers expressed in a GigaOm interview, the company takes the learning from this test bed to the world. I have to believe this is good for some of Google’s other businesses. It’s a great deal, with a caveat or two, for the rest of us.

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: