Monticello moves forward with Gigabit Squared

Tonight the Monticello City Council met to talk about next steps with Monticello FiberNet. The managing partners (Hiawatha Broadband aka HBC) decided to step down from the project – leaving Monticello with the opportunity to find a new managing partner. Tonight the City Council approved a proposal for the project to continue with Gigabit Squared as a partner at least on an interim basis.

Taken from their marketing material, here’s a little about Gigabit Squared …

Gigabit Squared is an open source digital economic development corporation, helping communities across the globe plan, develop, capitalize, implement and leverage sustainable infrastructure investments for civic and economic transformation. Its core business strategy is built around a simple concept: Public-private partnerships and the investment in large-scale digital infrastructure programs drive remarkable social benefits and economic development returns. Gigabit Squared brings to communities seeking transformative change community and regional assessments, strategic business development, engineering, operational capacity and the financing roadmap to realize ambitious
infrastructure plans and projects.

Here are some of the communities they have served (again taken from their own literature)…

OneCommunity, Ohio – Florida Rural Broadband Alliance (FRBA), Florida – Holland BPW, Holland Michigan – Telepak Networks, Jackson, Mississippi – Bell South, AT&T St. Joe, Florida, Rockfire at the Lake, Topeka, Kansas – The Town of Lost Rabbit, Jackson, Missouri – Virgin Islands Next Generation Network (viNGN), Virgin Islands – EPB of Chattanooga – LUS (Lafayette Utilities Service) – Illinois Rural Health Network – Rural, Nebraska Health Network – Health Information Exchange Network of Montana – Dayton Power & Light – Orange County Metro Transit – Massachusetts Broadband Initiative – Commonwealth Edison (Exelon)

It sounds as if their job will be to pick up with the general management of the system – especially in terms of the nuts and bolts of billing and other businesses processes; it also sounds as if the City will be able to pick up some of the pieces that HBC had previously managed. Gigabit Squared will also be looking for ways to improve the current business plan and processes. Notes from the meeting explain…

  • Time is of the essence as changes need to be made to improve the financial condition.
    • Opportunities for cost savings and system efficiencies need to be further defined and implemented as soon as possible to close the gap between operating revenues and expenses. Gigabit Square has the expertise necessary to facilitate these changes.
    • Gigabit Squared will be charged with not only managing the system, but working with the City, trustee and bond holders in “resetting” the system based on the economic realities and opportunities today.
  • Given the current financial situation, the terms of the Revenue Bond require appointment of a third party telecommunications expert to evaluate the system and its operation. The recommendations and course of action proposed by Gigabit Squared will be evaluated by this independent third party in order to protect the interests of the bondholders and the City. This element reduces the risk of moving forward on the study and an interim management agreement without a time consuming RFP process. The firm recommended by the Trustee for the independent third party review is Meiserow Financial.

It sounds like the plan is to work on these strategies over the next 90 days and assess the opportunities for moving forward.

This entry was posted in Community Networks, FTTH, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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