WiFi a Serious Technology in the Broadband Mix?

Money may or may not be the root of all evil, but it is certainly the tail threatening to wag the dog for many communities’ broadband planning teams. At the California Emerging Technology Fund’s Rural Connections workshop last week, a number of people representing communities expressed concern they can’t move broadband forward until they can find money.

Make no mistake; you can’t build a network without a passel of dead presidents to fund it. But you can mitigate the money hurdles you face, particularly if you don’t put extra ones in your way.

During the broadband stimulus mania I noted people polarizing around either wireless or wired technology as the “one true broadband.” Reviewing Round 1 stimulus grant winners, NTIA/RUS apparently were heavily wired in their thinking. Then Google jumped into the pond with its gigabit fiber splash, and that definitely increased the “wired way or no way” disciples.

This, I have a problem with. Not the goal of gigabit speed, but the thinking that “real” broadband is fiber and anything else is a failure.

Continue reading

Join N Carolina Again in Fight Against Anti-Muni Network Laws

Like a bad rash, Time Warner is back this week trying to stifle municipal networks in North Carolina. Not only that, our less-than-competent-broadband-provider Fairpoint is trying to kill a bill this week in New Hampshire that will make it easier for municipalities in that state to pursue the broadband option of their choice. This is the same Fairpoint, with one foot over the bankruptcy grave and the other on a banana peel of abysmal service, that is fighting a broadband stimulus grant awarded to Maine. Oy!

There comes a time when we supporters of broadband have to throw down, as we say in Oaktown. Get front and center with opponents in the legislative arena by flooding e-mail boxes, phone lines and literally the halls of government to push back against incumbent efforts and push forward the rights of communities to make their own choices for broadband.

Be clear with the message

A little further down I list the names and numbers of legislators on the committee that will vote on the N. Carolina bill Wednesday. Not much time, but broadband activists in that state have a track record of rallying troops in a hurry to descend on the state house. Click here for the particulars of the N. Carolina bill.

Continue reading

New Report Preps You for Broadband Grant Gauntlet

I’ve been nose-to-the-grindstone the past couple of weeks writing my next Muni Broadband Snapshot Report. While you’re waiting, biting your fingernails wondering what the final NTIW/RUS guidelines will be for the broadband grant app process, there’s a lot you should be doing. This report lays it out for you.

Check it out – Fighting the Next Good Fight: A planning guide.

Rather than try to create an insider’s cheat sheet on what the rules will be and how to beat them, this report gives you a solid foundation for writing a strong grant proposal once we know what the rules are.

Ten representatives from rural and urban areas share their experiences and insights as to what significant impacts you should expect a funded network to achieve, as well as how you can sustain a network after it’s built. They address the importance of partnerships to network success, and offer advice on ways to tackle the grant applications process.

Based on this feedback and insights from the many public meetings on implementing the broadband stimulus bill, I offer recommendations for developing your broadband strategy and the business plan that should shape your grant application. To round things out, I present some useful tips from a couple of Washington, D.C. insiders.

%d bloggers like this: