Holyoke Gas & Electric has been connecting community anchor institutions and local businesses in Western Massachusetts with fiber networks for years. Rather than using exception access to the Internet as a competitive advantage over more poorly connected neighbors, the Municipal Light Plant (in the parlance of Massachusetts law) is helping nearby towns to establish their own networks.
I met Senior Network Engineer Tim Haas in a lunch with people building community owned networks in Leverett and Princeton in late August. He joins me for episode #65 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast.
We discuss the Holyoke approach, its network, and enthusiasm for assisting others in the region to improve access to the Internet.
Click headline to listen to the podcast of the interview--
We continue to see more and more of what we might call "gigabit fever." This is not just a "me too" bubble centered around superfast Internet access. It is a recognition by more and more communities that the refusal of their cable and DSL duopoly to invest in next-generation networks is materially harming their future.
Shortly after Cedar Falls announced it was the first community in Iowa with universal access to a gigabit courtesy of the municipal utility, the Ames Tribune made the case for a gigabit there also.
Ames is home to the excellent Iowa State University (as is Cedar Falls, with U of Northern Iowa). I can praise them as long as I don't say anything about the Hawkeyes, rivals to my beloved Gophers.
Unfortunately, the municipal utility in Ames is less than enthusiastic about following the Cedar Falls approach.
The Roanoke Valley, nestled in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, grapples with the same connectivity problems facing many communities in rural Virginia. Private providers have few incentives to invest in next-generation Internet networks because the low density population promises too little profit.
Like Danville, Bristol, and the Rockbridge area, communities in the Roanoke Valley are taking matters into their own hands. A February 2013 Roanoke Times news article reported that local businesses and regional governments collaborated to fund a $50,000 study. The study recommended creating a broadband authority to investigate the possibility of building an open access network. The Roanoke Times has more recently reported that public hearings are on the schedule for August:
Forget the iPhone 5s. Don’t bother looking at Microsoft’s Surface 2. Ignore software defined networking. They’re all important in one way or another, but to my mind, the biggest, most important development in the tech world right now is the beginning of fiber-based Internet service for home users.
I’m reminded of this by this week’s news that good old AT&T is jumping on the gigabit Internet bandwagon to vie with Google to bring fiber to the home in Austin, Texas. AT&T says it will begin offering 300 Megabit service in December and ramp up to 1 Gigabit per second service in 2014. Google is already working on bringing gigabit fiber to Austin, as well as Kansas City, Missouri, and Provo, Utah.
This week’s announcement follows a long and somewhat bumpy history for fiber to the home. Although lots of companies and public/private partnerships have promised it for places like Seattle and Omaha, Nebraska, many have yet to deliver. Back in 2011, for example, Sonic.net promised to bring it to San Francisco, but so far the $70 per month service hasn’t made it out of Sebastapol, California. (Earlier this year, Forbes quoted analysts predicting that Google Fiber will reach just 8 million homes by 2022. That’s almost 10 years away!)
Frankly, though, I don’t care which company does it. I just want it. And I want it not just for me, or for a few test markets here and there, but for the whole country. Heck, I want it for the whole world.
The Network Insight Institute is an independent non-profit centre of ideas and information, focused on communications. Wetake a broad, cross-platfrom view of the future - drawing together television, platform technology, the press, broadcasting, new audiovisual media and e-commerce.
TechnoBuffalo Improving Your Home Network New York Times NETGEAR is best known as a company that makes the routers that direct Wi-Fi traffic on home computer networks, but its fastest growing product isn't a router.
The apartment market has always been a bit of a quandary for many integrators. These inhabitants are unlikely to pay for expansive audio and video systems or home theaters because they typically don’t plan to stay in the residence on long-term basis. Integrators generally ignore the market, even though apartment dwellers need their TVs mounted and hooked up, and need to have their home networks in place, just like homeowners.
However, new research might change that trend, especially when it comes to dealing with apartment management.
A new study from research firm RVA LLCC in Broadband Communities magazine reveals exactly how much apartment dwellers value these electronic systems compared to other amenities. It’s data that integrators should bring to apartment management/ownership.
The debate around the technological transition of our phone system to an IP-based network is now well underway at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and among state and local regulators across the country. Public Knowledge has argued that we must guide this transition according to five fundamental principles: service to all Americans, interconnection and competition, consumer protection, network reliability, and public safety. These principles lie at the heart of the reliability, efficiency, and consumer-friendly aspects of the phone network that we often take for granted.
This post is going to focus on the first principle I listed: service to all Americans. First and foremost, the benefits of the phone network must reach all Americans – regardless of “race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.” In the U.S., we have long held to the conviction that the phone network should reach everyone.
The U.S. can’t become the first industrialized nation to retreat from the goal of making basic voice service available to 100% of our population. Even if we haven’t met this goal yet, it is crucial that our actual goal continues to be complete coverage for everyone in the country. Users depend on the phone network to call for help in emergencies, conduct business, and communicate with their loved ones. It is simply a service that is so important to the fabric of our commerce and culture that we cannot now turn back from the goal of making sure every potential user in the country has access to the network.
Part of committing to service for all Americans is committing to overcome the obstacles that some users face in accessing phone service. If you live in a rural area, we will require phone carriers to build out to you. If you can’t afford phone service, we require carriers to offer reasonable prices and/or we subsidize your rates. If you have a physical disability that interferes with communications, we make sure you have access to technologies that let you meaningfully use the phone network to communicate.
Bell today announced the launch of next-generation Fibe TV service in Ottawa, bringing consumers superior choice in television and unprecedented new competition for traditional cable TV.
"Bell's unmatched investments in next-generation broadband networks and services are bringing the best communications innovations the world has to offer to Canadians. With an investment of $155 million in the new Ottawa Fibe network, consumers in our nation's capital now have access to the best TV and Internet experience available," said George Cope, President and CEO of Bell Canada and BCE Inc.
Fibe is growing fast. Bell gained 50,555 new Fibe TV customers in the second quarter of 2013 - 31.4% more than the year before and the best quarterly growth since the launch of Fibe TV in late 2010. At the end of Q2 2013 (June 30), Fibe TV subscribers totalled 346,316, more than double the number a year before.
HomeGrid Forum Targets Asia Home Network Needs at Broadband Taiwan Event Marketwired (press release) Fueled by a growing number of service providers in Asia who are performing tests and ongoing field trials and by system manufacturers -- a vibrant...
If there's one thing AT&T loves to talk about, it's how government regulations designed to protect consumers are really annoying.
In particular, the company says that century-old rules designed to spread phone service to all Americans should be eliminated as the country moves from traditional phone lines to all-IP (Internet Protocol) networks, a transition AT&T wants to see happen by 2018 or 2020.
The company's latest attempt to sway public opinion toward its anti-regulation views comes in the form of research by the Internet Innovation Alliance, which is bankrolled in part by AT&T and consistently pushes AT&T's agenda. The group previously extolled the "positive effects" for consumers of an AT&T/T-Mobile merger, a deal blocked by the federal government's antitrust authorities. This week, the group pushed out a report titled "Telecommunications competition: the infrastructure-investment race," by Georgetown professor Anna-Maria Kovacs. The report's findings are proof that regulation is bad for the broadband market, the Alliance argued.
"In the report, Dr. Kovacs finds that outdated regulations that force companies to build and maintain obsolete copper-based legacy telephone networks are unnecessarily diverting investment away from modern broadband networks and services that 95% of U.S. households prefer, desire and use," the group's press release says (emphasis theirs).
Most US consumers "rely on the use of smart wireless devices, cellphones, wired Internet-enabled VoIP services, and over-the-top Internet-enabled applications (i.e., Skype), far more than on traditional telephony to stay connected in today’s digital age," the alliance continues. "99% of all US communications traffic is now carried over these platforms in Internet Protocol, while legacy circuit-switched traffic is now less than 1% of traffic and likely to further decrease to a small fraction of 1% by 2017. Additionally, at year-end 2012, 38% of Americans relied on wireless exclusively, 4% relied on VoIP exclusively and only 5% relied on traditional plain-old-telephony (POTS) exclusively. Another 53% relied on wireless in combination with either POTS (29%) or VoIP (24%)."
More than half the $154 billion spent on communications networks between 2006 to 2011 went to "maintaining fading legacy networks, leaving less than half to upgrade and expand their high-speed broadband networks." The upshot is that "outdated regulations are unnecessarily diverting investment from broadband."
The AT&T-funded group's report comes down heavily on copper-based networks, saying the regulations designed for them are often "technologically inapplicable" to fiber-based IP networks.
Expanding fiber access is a worthy goal, of course. But many Americans still rely on copper-based DSL for Internet access, and telecoms have proven themselves uninterested in replacing copper with fiber in all parts of the country. After Hurricane Sandy wiped out phone service in parts of Fire Island, Verizon's solution was to abandon its traditional phone lines and replace them with wireless-only service that residents complained was worse than what they had before the storm. After complaints from the New York Attorney General that the company was trying to "depart from a century of telephone service regulation," Verizon caved in and agreed to deploy fiber.
The victory for consumers demonstrated the importance of regulatory oversight. But the concerns about reliability and battery life of wireless replacements for copper were dismissed by the Internet Innovation Alliance report.
Open access networks and the NBN – the winners and losers IDG News Service Current legislation for the NBN prevents companies from building broadband networks that offer speeds greater than 25 Mbps unless they make them open to access on a...
ArabianBusiness.com Batelco hires Ericsson for next-gen network expansion ArabianBusiness.com Bahrain's telecoms industry regulator on Tuesday said it had awarded radio spectrum for next-generation networks to the kingdom's three mobile operators...
John Tebbutt's insight:
international development of next gen networked home technology
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