Connect with us

Broadband's Impact

‘Giganomics’ Looks to Tech Entrepreneurship in Kansas City as New Model for Economic Development

TINLEY PARK, ILLINOIS, November 8, 2013 – There is a new holy grail in economic development, and it isn’t land use, tax policy, or cheap energy costs. In a word, it’s Giganomics.

The term was coined by David Sandel, President of the Gigabit Communities and Smart Cities consultancy, at the Broadband Communities Economic Development Summit here on Thursday. Giganomics refers to the process of using Gigabit Networks, or super-fast fiber-optic broadband connections, as the prime tool for entrepreneur-led economic development.

David Sandel, President of Gigabit Communities and Smart Cities, Sandel and Associates, leads a discussion at the Broadband Communities Economic Development Summit. To the right is Steve Fennel, Director of telecom outreach at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and Rick Usher, Assistant City Manager for Kansas City, Missouri.

[…]

Published

on

TINLEY PARK, ILLINOIS, November 8, 2013 – There is a new holy grail in economic development, and it isn’t land use, tax policy, or cheap energy costs. In a word, it’s Giganomics.

The term was coined by David Sandel, President of the Gigabit Communities and Smart Cities consultancy, at the Broadband Communities Economic Development Summit here on Thursday. Giganomics refers to the process of using Gigabit Networks, or super-fast fiber-optic broadband connections, as the prime tool for entrepreneur-led economic development.

David Sandel, President of Gigabit Communities and Smart Cities, Sandel and Associates, leads a discussion at the Broadband Communities Economic Development Summit. To the right is Steve Fennel, Director of telecom outreach at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and Rick Usher, Assistant City Manager for Kansas City, Missouri.

The chief exhibit for Giganomics is Kansas City, selected by internet search giant Google for its first Gigabit Network. Judging by the enthusiasm and energy voiced on a panel of Kansas City experts assembled here by Sandel, Giganomics is working.

In addition to the rapid pace in the direct construction of Google’s fiber network, tens of thousands of new jobs in Kansas City can be attributed to the new Gigabit Network, panelists said.

Equally important are hundreds of techies relocating to Kansas City, bringing a vitality and energy to the city that hasn’t been seen in decades. They’re starting business and getting funded to do so.

“Over the last 30 years, Kansas City has been a [jobs] exporter to the coasts, to Chicago, and to Denver,” said Mike Burke, co-chair of the Mayor’s Bi-state Innovation Team, which got Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas to cooperate on economic development. “We are seeing those young people coming back.

“It is good for the future of Kansas City,” he said. “We are in a worldwide competition for cities to grow, nurture, keep and steal talent in the next decade.”

By the end of the year, Google Fiber’s Gigabit Network in the two Kansas Cities is poised to pass 160,000 homes, said Rick Usher, Assistant City Manager for Kansas City, Missouri. Usher showed slides demonstrating the rapid pace of Google’s structure. All told, 1,000 employees, three contractors, and 50 subcontractors from 17 states are working on the fiber build, he said.

In addition to its announced plans to build a Gigabit Network in Austin, Texas; and its purchase of the iProvo fiber network in Provo, Utah; Google has committed to building its fiber network in 19 cities in the Kansas City metropolitan area. That’s about half of the 2 million homes in the region, said Sandel.

One of the most innovative aspects of Google’s Gigabit Network is the creation of the concept of a “fiberhood” — a distinct geographical area poised to receive the super-fast connectivity. Dividing the 19 cities in the Kansas City region up into “fiberhoods” has enabled a healthy competition among neighborhoods for pre-commitments to purchase Google’s service.

Now, in the neighborhoods to get a Gigabit, there are also “fiberhouses,” or homes for hackers. The vibrant tech community has breathed civic life into the city and has become “a talent attractor and retainer,” said Usher. “Young people that don’t have ties to their communities are jumping on a plane to Kansas City and living in a fiberhouse.”

Burke, an attorney whose career has been focused on real estate development, said that dizzying pace of the last 18 months prompted a light bulb in him to go off. He said that in an era of Giganomics, the old economic development tools don’t work.

“Tax breaks, tax abatements, tax-increment financing: they don’t work for startups,” he said. “We had to invent the tools for startups,” which he said were:

  • Finding free and reduced cost office space
  • Access to venture capital funding
  • Health care, and
  • Data storage.

Finding access to creative venture capital and other means of funding startup activities is a crucial new tool, agreed Aaron Deacon, Managing Director of KC Digital Drive, a community-driven effort to leverage the Gigabit Network for economic developments.

Deacon said that the group’s four top priorities were:

  • Expanding economic opportunities
  • Digital inclusion and digital literacy
  • Next-generation application development
  • Interacting with the leadership of other Gigabit cities.

Deacon cited the cities’ “Digital Sandbox,” a proof of concept incubator which had played a role in birthing 27 companies — with 15 more on top for the next six months. The sandbox received $1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce, he said.

 

Aaron Deacon of KC Digital Drive, and Mike Burke, of the Kansas City Mayors’ Bi-State Innovation Team, at the Broadband Communities Economic Development Summit

He also said that an effort in providing low-cost office space, a separate group called KC Startup Village had provided office space for about 30 startup businesses.

In attempt to quantify what this kind of entrepreneurial activity has on economic development, Deacon speculated, “You have a couple hundred people working in these, some of which have moved to Kansas City [to start their businesses.]

“Some of them will be successful, some will not,” he said. Among those that fail, he said, “some will stay, and go to work for other companies. It is hard to measure the impact of those 200 people” — but Deacon believes that it is substantial.

Additionally, Deacon cited recent investments in new startups: $6 million in mobile search application Leap 2, and $500,000 in Hoopla.io, an event marketing and syndication platform.

Also on the economic development front, Burke cited health care software company’s Cerner Enterprises’ decision to purchase 237 acres to build a new campus that would employ up to 15,000 people in Kansas City.

In fitting with the “Giganomics” theme of the panel, this more conventional jobs announcement was, in this discussion, almost greeted as an afterthought.

Drew Clark, Publisher of BroadbandBreakfast.com, tracks the development of Gigabit Networks, broadband usage, the universal service fund, and wireless spectrum policy, at http://twitter.com/broadbandcensus. Nationally recognized for his knowledge on telecommunications law and policy, Clark brings experts and practitioners together to advance the benefits provided by broadband: job creation, telemedicine, online learning, public safety, the smart grid, eGovernment, and family connectedness. Clark is also available on Google+ and Twitter.

Breakfast Media LLC CEO Drew Clark has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.

Health

FCC Proposes Notification Rules for 988 Suicide Hotline Lifeline Outages

The proposal would ensure providers give ‘timely and actionable information’ on 988 outages.

Published

on

Photo via Health and Human Services

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2023 – The Federal Communications Commission unanimously adopted a proposal to require operators of the 988 mental health crisis line to report outages, which would “hasten service restoration and enable officials to inform the public of alternate ways to contact the 988 Lifeline.”

The proposal would ensure providers give “timely and actionable information” on 988 outages that last at least 30 minutes to the Health and Human Services’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, the Department of Veteran Affairs, the 988 Lifeline administrator, and the FCC.

The commission is also asking for comment on whether cable, satellite, wireless, wireline and interconnected voice-over-internet protocol providers should also be subject to reporting and notification obligations for 988 outages.

Other questions from the commission include costs and benefits of the proposal and timelines for compliance, it said.

The proposal would align with similar outage protocols that potentially affect 911, the commission said.

The notice comes after a nationwide outage last month affected the three-digit line for hours. The line received over two million calls, texts, and chat messages since it was instituted six months ago, the FCC said.

The new line was established as part of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, signed into law in 2020.

Continue Reading

Health

FCC Eliminates Use of Urban-Rural Database for Healthcare Telecom Subsidies

The commission said the database that determined healthcare subsidies had cost ‘anomalies.’

Published

on

WASHINGTON, January 26, 2023 – The Federal Communications Commission adopted a measure Thursday to eliminate the use of a database that determined the differences in telecommunications service rates in urban and rural areas that was used to provide funding to health care facilities for connectivity.

The idea behind the database, which was adopted by the commission in 2019, was to figure out the cost difference between similar broadband services in urban and rural areas in a given state so the commission’s Telecom Program can subsidize the difference to ensure connectivity in those areas, especially as the need for telehealth technology grows.

But the commission has had to temporarily provide waivers to the rules due to inconsistencies with how the database calculated cost differences. The database included rural tiers that the commission said were “too broad and did not accurately represent the cost of serving dissimilar communities.”

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel gave an example at Thursday’s open meeting of the database calculating certain rural services being cheaper than in urban areas, when the denser latter areas are generally less expensive.

As such, the commission Thursday decided to revert the methods used to determine Telecom Program support to before the 2019 database order until it can determine a more sustainable method. The database rescission also applies to urban cost determinations.

“Because the Rates Database was deficient in its ability to set adequate rates, we find that restoration of the previous rural rate determination rules, which health care providers have continued to use to determine rural rates in recent funding years under the applicable Rates Database waivers, is the best available option pending further examination in the Second Further Notice, to ensure that healthcare providers have adequate, predictable support,” the commission said in the decision.

Healthcare providers are now permitted to reuse one of three rural rates calculations before the 2019 order: averaging the rates that the carrier charges to other non-health care provider commercial customers for the same or similar services in rural areas; average rates of another service provider for similar services over the same distance in the health care provider’s area; or a cost-based rate approved by the commission.

These calculations are effective for the funding year 2024, the commission said. “Reinstating these rules promotes administrative efficiency and protects the Fund while we consider long-term solutions,” the commission said.

The new rules are in response to petitions from a number of organizations, including Alaska Communications; the North Carolina Telehealth Network Association and Southern Ohio Health Care Network; trade association USTelecom; and the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition.

“The FCC listened to many of our suggestions, and we are especially pleased that the Commission extended the use of existing rates for an additional year to provide applicants more certainty,” John Windhausen Jr., executive director of the SHLB Coalition, said in a statement.

Comment on automating rate calculation

The commission is launching a comment period to develop an automated process to calculate those rural rates by having the website of the Universal Service Administrative Company – which manages programs of the FCC – “auto-generate the rural rate after the health care and/or service provider selects sites that are in the same rural area” as the health care provider.

The commission is asking questions including whether this new system would alleviate administrative burdens, whether there are disadvantages to automating the rate, and whether there should be a challenge process outside of the normal appeals process.

The Telecom Program is part of the FCC’s Rural Health Care program that is intended to reduce the cost of telehealth broadband and telecom services to eligible healthcare providers.

Support for satellite services

The commission is also proposing that a cap on Telecom Program funding for satellite services be reinstated. In the 2019 order, a spending cap on satellite services was lifted because the commission determined that costs for satellite services were decreasing as there were on-the-ground services to be determined by the database.

But the FCC said costs for satellite services to health care service providers has progressively increased from 2020 to last year.

“This steady growth in demand for satellite services appears to demonstrate the need to reinstitute the satellite funding cap,” the commission said. “Without the constraints on support for satellite services imposed by the Rates Database, it appears that commitments for satellite services could increase to an unsustainable level.”

Soon-to-be health care providers funding eligibility

The FCC also responded to a SHLB request that future health care provider be eligible for Rural Health Care subsidies even though they aren’t established yet.

The commission is asking for comment on a proposal to amend the RHC program to conditionally approve “entities that are not yet but will become eligible health care providers in the near future to begin receiving” such program funding “shortly after they become eligible.”

Comments on the proposals are due 30 days after it is put in the Federal Register.

Continue Reading

Digital Inclusion

Broadband Breakfast Interview With Michael Baker’s Teraira Snerling and Samantha Garfinkel

Digital Equity provisions are central to state broadband offices’ plans to implement the bipartisan infrastructure law.

Published

on

Digital Equity provisions are central to state broadband offices’ plans to implement the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment grant program under the bipartisan infrastructure law.

In this interview with Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark, Michael Baker International Broadband Planning Consultants Teraira Snerling and Samantha Garfinkel go into detail about the role of Digital Equity Act plans in state broadband programs.

Michael Baker International, a leading provider of engineering and consulting services, including geospatial, design, planning, architectural, environmental, construction and program management, has been solving the world’s most complex challenges for over 80 years.

Its legacy of expertise, experience, innovation and integrity is proving essential in helping numerous federal, state and local navigate their broadband programs with the goal of solving the Digital Divide.

The broadband team at Michael Baker is filling a need that has existed since the internet became publicly available. Essentially, Internet Service Providers have historically made expansions to new areas based on profitability, not actual need. And pricing has been determined by market competition without real concern for those who cannot afford service.

In the video interview, Snerling and Garfinkel discuss how, with Michael Baker’s help, the federal government is encourage more equitable internet expansion through specific programs under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The company guides clients to incorporate all considerations, not just profitability, into the project: Compliance with new policies, societal impact metrics and sustainability plans are baked into the Michael Baker consultant solution so that, over time, these projects will have a tremendous positive impact.

Continue Reading

Signup for Broadband Breakfast

Twice-weekly Breakfast Media news alerts
* = required field

Broadband Breakfast Research Partner

Trending