WiMAX World USA Cliff Notes

WiMax World was held last week. I wasn’t there – but I have been digging around to bring us up to snuff. It’s kind of a cliff notes for conference – I’m not saying it would get you an A – but I think it would at least help you pass a test – should you be given a pop quiz on it.

WiMx World was held in Chicago on September 25-27.

Keynote speakers included: Continue reading

FCC Commissioners at US Senate Session

Earlier this week (it’s been a busy week!), two members of the FCC spoke out in favor of a national broadband strategy at a meeting held by the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

OK I read through the the testimony (and I’m going to try to pulled together the highlights (as I read them) below): Continue reading

St Paul is Thinking Fiber

Thanks to Christopher Mitchell (of ILSR) for sending me the heads up on the recent FTTH meeting in St Paul.

According to an article in the Pioneer Press (St. Paul wants its Net built for speed), “On Wednesday [Sep 26], the City Council unanimously approved an advisory committee’s proposal to seek partners for a publicly owned fiber-optic cable network for high-speed Internet access that could carry everything from e-mail to video to phone calls.”

So from the article I read some good news – it looks as if the plan is to build an open network, which opens the door to a choice of providers down the road.

And I read some not-so-good news – it isn’t clear how this would be financed, which isn’t always a great sign.

But it looks like the plan is to get the St Paul Schools and the Ramsey and state government to join in before it moves head. I think getting those guys on board will definitely help. First they will wire the government offices then branch off into residential and commercial customers.

The cost has been estimated at $150-200 million.

Currently big providers in the area (Qwest and Comcast) are understandably negative about the idea citing 2 typical reasons: 1) government shouldn’t get involved in an existing market and 2) it’s a big risk for a government to make.

You can see the Report on the Future of Broadband [in St Paul] online.

If you’re interested in more information – Andrea, Director of Technology and Communication for the City of St. Paul is talking at the Rondo Community Outreach Library from 5-7pm on October 9th. (Learn more on the MN COGI web site.)

(Sadly the commute to St Paul is too much for me. I have someone who was going to try to make the meeting for me and take notes – but if any readers out there want to stop back with notes of their own from the meeting that would be great!!)

Chattanooga approves FTTH

Just a very quick update (thanks to the Baller list!) on Chattanooga… The City Council voted 8-0 on Tuesday night to approve a $210 million Fiber-To-The-Home venture by EPB.

You can read the whole article from the Chattanoogan (City Council Votes 8-0 To Approve EPB Fiber-Optic Venture) and/or read our more detailed earlier blog post.

Their next steps are (quoted from the article above):

The EPB board is expected to approve a bond issue for the program at its meeting next month, and the City Council must also approve the bond issue before it is launched.

Ideas Primary on Broadband

Ideas PrimaryAccording to its own web site, Ideas Primary is “a clearinghouse for new policy proposals. We’ll keep track of ideas the candidates put forward, offer some of our own, and invite elected officials from around the country to weigh in on what works.”

I think it’s safe to say they represent the progressive point of view.

Yesterday they ran a piece on broadband – A New Federal Broadband Policy

The author (Laura Spining) reports on the beauties of broadband especially in rural areas, the economic development boosts, access to education and healthcare, and entertainment. She goes on to suggest that we close the digital divide by:

    1. Promote partnerships between state governments and industry to develop mapping programs to identify the availability and gaps in broadband access.
    2. Support Tax policies that encourage investment and innovation
    3. Require that all new publicly-financed affordable housing includes broadband ready infrastructure.

I think this is a great start. The third reminds me of something that was in the news in Dublin last week. The Minister for the Environment recently released building regulations (draft form I think) that insist that new homes built in Ireland are much more energy efficient. (Ireland is much more conservation-focused than we are at home. One example I don’t love is that you have to pay for bags at the grocery store; most people remember to bring their bags.)

Anyways – I was struck by the fact that they (seemingly) just decided to upgrade the building regulations and yes it was going to cost more but it was going to make things better for the long haul. It was great to see a policy that weighted the need to systemic change over short term cost saving.

I think we need some of this focus back home and requiring new housing to be broadband ready is a good start.

Also it was nice to see the broadband policy on Ideas Primary, a resource that doesn’t necessarily focus on technology or telecommunications. I think the perspective they represent and the info is probably not new to readers here – but it may be new to general policy wonks – and policy-interested lay people.

Bangor gets Fiber

More areas are getting FTTH – at lest this one is closer to home…

According to Bangor News Daily, Bangor area (Maine) businesses are to receive fiber-optic broadband Internet service. Locally-based Oxford Networks invest more than $4 million to install a 34½-mile fiber-optic network in downtown Bangor and Brewer, offering business customers fiber-to-the-premises, or FTTP, service.

Since 2001, Oxford has been constructing a redundant 600-mile fiber network connecting Bangor, Waterville, Augusta, Lewiston, Auburn, Portland, Biddeford, Sanford, Portsmouth and Boston. Services are expected to be available in May, 2008.

Open Networks Australian Style

AustaliaOK I know Australia is a long ways away – but this article (Internet economy ‘needs open networks’) from Australia caught my eye today. Apparently Buddecomm, which touts itself as the “world’s largest telecommunications research site, just released a report that “warns that large telecommunication companies must be made to let go of their traditional business models if the rollout of new next generation networks (NGNs) is to be successful.”

Sometimes I think it’s easier to look clearly at someone else’s problem/situation. This article states pretty point blank that Australia needs an Open Network to get and sustain the technology they need and that the telecommunications monopolies aren’t going to buy in without government intervention.

The article suggests that Australia look at Optus Elders’ (OPEL) Network as a model. OPEL is a joint venture between Optus and Elders. They secured $958 million in funding from the Australian Government to deliver affordable broadband services to rural and regional Australians at metro comparable prices.

OPEL will create a competitive wholesale market that will reform the regional telecommunications market enabling retail competition to flourish, empowering consumers and businesses to choose broadband services that suit their particular needs.

It looks as if they just secured funding in June (2007) and the goal is to have the network built by 30 June 2009.

OPEL has a “comments from Industry page” that I think is fun to peruse.

I’ll have to keep my eye on Australia. Actually my husband’s brother lives there and we will be seeing him in about a month so I’ll ask him about access to broadband.