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Why to Attend | Broadband Communities Summit

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MDU PROGRAM REFLECTS HUGE CHANGES
Owners and managers of multiple dwelling unit properties will be hearing about how the changed carrier lineup, new technology, new regulations, expanding needs to accommodate in-building cellular reception, and yes, new ways to make deployments profitable, have changed things for the better in 2016 — but have set new traps for the unwary. Kept up with emerging agreements on home run wiring and net neutrality? Thinking of succumbing to entreaties of one locally dominant cellular provider to handle your building? Planning to serve that new college dorm just as you did the last one? Realize that cable companies are expanding fiber deployments in 2016?

Checked the new advantages many providers using the “private cable operator” model can offer property owners of all sizes?

We’ve already been discussing this exciting new environment with our team of MDU experts — staff working for owners and managers, people that sign or review contracts with providers every day before breakfast. At the Summit, the legal, technical, and financial experts we’re lining up will give it to you straight: What works best for today’s tenants and unit owners, in various diverse situations.

Can you afford NOT to be in Austin this April?
Meet The Mayors With Deb Socia

Next Century Cities founder Deb Socia will host a panel of mayors who have made broadband access a reality in their communities. Get all the details of how their leadership led to success – how they involved stakeholders, educated (and listened to) other officials, residents and business owners, lobbied state and regional power brokers, and explored all the alternatives. The panel is selected from among mayors from communities of all sizes, in all parts of the country. You don’t have to be an elected official to benefit from the mayors’ insights on regulation, marketing, finance, and the potential for cooperation with incumbents.

Student Housing Workshop
It will take a 2-hour deep-dive workshop to get through all the new technical and financial challenges faced by developers of on-campus student housing. David Daugherty will lead a table full of experts who have been walking the walk at colleges and universities across the country. From large institutions to small, public and private, students need – and demand – more broadband, in more ways, and with more reliability than ever before. Colleges need to be, well, educated about what student fees might be necessary to pay for the infrastructure and why various features are needed. Not doing student housing now? Consider attending anyway. Student housing is the canary in the broadband coal mine. It’s an early warning system for what everyone will want in a few years.
Rural Telecommunications Congress Explores New Funding Opportunities And New Needs

State, Federal and private funding opportunities for broadband to enhance rural healthcare, small businesses, and education highlight this year’s RTC annual meeting, held in conjunction with Summit 2016.

The best source of funding for rural broadband might be at the EPA, HUD, DOE or Justice! On the agenda are two panels explaining how to identifying potential partners and best practices for broadband spending under 18 federal agency programs due for Broadband Opportunity Council rule revisions that are scheduled to be finalized in 2016. Those agencies spend $10 billion a year on activities that could be enhanced with broadband, but that have typically ignored funding broadband up to now.

There’s also a panel on leveraging the evolving Connect America Fund rules, and another on extending middle mile networks to homes in rural areas. Two panels focus on the details of justifying — and funding — broadband deployments in tribal areas. Those areas have traditionally relied on Rural Utilities Services loans, but RUS money is somewhat sparse these days.

Mark Johnson, CTO of MCNC, will moderate a panel on how the emerging Internet of Things will impact rural America, both financially and socially.

Summit registrants can attend all RTC sessions free! There’s no extra charge.

 

MDU Deep-Dive Workshop
Multiple Dwelling Unit construction and greenfield broadband opportunities are at a 10-year high, while MDU residents craving gigabit access and seamless cellular have continued to grow in number as well. MDU broadband is not just for students and employees of high-tech companies anymore! MDUs now must accommodate cord-cutters, work-at-home professionals in fields ranging from medicine to teaching piano, and even 4K TV watchers. Building upon his wildly acclaimed Summit workshops over the past years, Richard Holtz and a panel of innovative deployers and technical experts will take you on an enlightening journey. They’re prepared to answer your toughest questions, too. No holds barred.

Catch The Wave!
New buildings to Gigafy: Greenfield housing construction has recovered, with MDU builds leading the way.
New Fiber-to-the-Home and Fiber-to-the-Basement technology: Better DSL, clever G.fast, the cable industry’s impressive DOCSIS 3.1, 10 Gig Ethernet and GPON…
New Interconnections: Fiber to cell towers, Stimulus- and now state-funded middle-mile support network builders offering gigabit access.
New Deployment Tricks: Modern software-defined networks (SDN) make it easier to serve new giga-hungry business customers and flexible intermixing of fiber with copper and point-to-point wireless.
New Services to Offer: Tele-medicine, health care, education, security and entertainment offerings continue to expand, driven by giga-nets, new technology, and demographic trends. Now add data centers to the mix. They scale small – small enough to add to a central office or network operating center.
New Management: Organizations are emerging to guide deployers and property owners from concept to construction to financing to ongoing management.
New Money, New Business Cases: It is easier than ever for even small operators and communities to fund new projects.
We’ve Got Your Back!
No one covers it all like we do at Broadband Communities. So of course we’ll be bringing the latest to Summit 2016. Detailed workshops. Wide-ranging panels. Super-star keynoters. Plenty of time to ask questions and connect with your peers!
Property Owners And Managers, Financial Experts, Network Deployers, Municipal And State Officials, Economic Development Specialists
Our staff, our original research, and our blue-ribbon user (not vendor!) advisory committees will make sure you get the legal, technical, and financial information you need. You’ll hear the best advice, from people who are already in the swim.
Greenfield Opportunities Multiply
US housing starts rose to 1.2 million in 2015, best since 2007. But what’s really exciting is that annual multiple dwelling unit starts are running well over 600,000 with another bump expected in 2016. That’s an all-time high! Before the recession, MDUs were less than a third of new housing. Now they are more than half. Most are rental units, most are being occupied by broadband-savvy tenants under 30, and most are well-positioned to fatten franchise broadband providers’ bottom lines or to attract CLECs, traditional private cable operators, and current cable franchise operators (MSOs).
More opportunities and choices for property owners and managers, even as MSOs and RBOCs consolidate! More care needed when writing the service contracts! More ways to differentiate buildings on what our surveys say is the number one amenity tenants and owners want: Great Broadband.

Summit 2016 will cover all that, of course. But what about the financing options? New companies (and plenty of evolving old ones) that can manage – and even build and finance – projects? Deep dives into regulatory and contract issues? New services such as security, energy management, and cellular access? We’ve got your back there as well!

Workshop On Broadband Business Modeling
Step your use of our free business modeling and cash flow analysis tools up a notch – or more – by attending our free pre-conference workshops. Editor-at-large Steve Ross, the models’ author, will take you through the process, concentrating on use of our tool for determining the return on various broadband investments in a subdivision or multiple dwelling unit environment.
Attendees get free thumb drives with all five models, documentation, and real-world use examples as well. Join hundreds of property owners and managers, ISPs, private cable operators, consultants and investors who already use these tools to build a business case or track monthly cash flow.

One example pursued by a 2013 attendee at this 2-hour workshop: An owner of four MDU properties got bank financing to install fiber-to-the-basement with Ethernet delivery over copper in the building with the best wiring. He’s been using the great cash flow to bootstrap full fiber-to-the-tenant unit in the other MDUs, intending to swing back and upgrade the first building in about 5 years. This year, that strategy looks better than ever, with DOCSIS 3.1 or G.fast in the mix.

Cable Is In The Gigabit Game!
Cable companies now have a clear upgrade path for fiber all the way to customers. DOCSIS 3.1, out of the box, ups available bandwidth by 50 percent. Deployments started in 2014, as we first announced. They’ll be mainstream in 2016. But wait! There’s more! DOCSIS 3.1 has an FTTx option – fiber to customers or to equipment rooms in multiple dwelling unit buildings and commercial or office complexes. It’s already being deployed, with customers getting as much as 2 Gbps downloads and 1 Gbps upstream.
Split a DOCSIS node to serve 32 or 64 customers, supply it with fiber running on new 10 GB switches, and it begins to look like a passive optical network as far as bandwidth is concerned, although with generally higher latency and a tad less reliability.

What does it mean for cable companies? Customers? MDU owners and managers? Old municipal hybrid fiber coax systems? Telco competitors? Those questions and more will be discussed in depth at Summit 2016.
New Options For Municipal Builds
No one says muni broadband is easy. But it is becoming easier. There are now more than 200 municipalities served by more than 165 Fiber-to-the-Home systems alone. The secret: Muni systems just have to break even in the long run. Much of the payback is in economic and population growth, quality of life, and “insurance” from the vagaries of a global economy that can put single-industry towns out of business in a heartbeat.
Our Summit and our regional economic development conferences always give municipal and state officials as well as local activists the latest on how to detect what is pie-in-the-sky and what might be a real business plan. And options are exploding in 2016. There’s new technology, a new regulatory outlook with interest by the FCC and the White House, new financial players including state funding, and a revitalized public-private partnership model that many may find attractive.

It all makes Summit 16 a “can’t miss” for state and local officials and broadband activists, existing operators (especially Tier 3 incumbents), electric coop operators, economic development experts, and corporate site selection consultants and staff members.
Strategies For Muni Electrics And Electric Coops
Seems easy enough. You already know your customers. Your community needs broadband. You have assets to pledge. Hah! Korcett CEO David Daugherty will lead a group of experienced coop managers and engineers on a blow-by-blow trip through the technical, regulatory, political, managerial and financial paths that must be navigated.
His blue-ribbon experts – your electric coop peers – will show you how to look ahead to emerging technologies and financial options, and to ways to compete or partner with others in your footprint.
Bridging The Digital Divide
No wonder you can’t define it. The divide and its cures vary from community to community. But aside from the moral issue – it is not a bad idea to use broadband access to raise living standards, to improve job and educational opportunities, and deliver health care – there’s a great business case, too. Network providers get more customers! And better take rates make better networks possible.
Summit 2016 will offer examples and success stories in rural and urban settings nationwide. But it boils down to this: Bridging the digital divide – often with educational outreach, custom services, and special product packages – is worthy of a bit of your marketing budget whether you operate on a Native American reservation, an urban neighborhood, or a community that skews elderly.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.bbcmag.com

This exciting program is beginning to take shape! The Rural Telecommunications Congress will play a significant role in the event this April 2016!

See on Scoop.itBroadbandPolicy

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Digital Inclusion

Doug Lodder: How to Prevent the Economic Climate from Worsening the Digital Divide

There are government programs created to shrink the digital divide, but not many Americans know what’s out there.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Doug Lodder, president of TruConnect

From gas to groceries to rent, prices are rocketing faster than they have in decades. This leaves many American families without the means to pay for essentials, including cellphone and internet services. In fact, the Center on Poverty and Social Policy reports that poverty rates have been steadily climbing since March. We’re talking about millions of people at risk of being left behind in the gulf between those who have access to connectivity and those who don’t.

We must not allow this digital divide to grow in the wake of the current economic climate. There is so much more at stake here than simply access to the internet or owning a smartphone.

What’s at stake if the digital divide worsens

Our reliance on connectivity has been growing steadily for years, and the pandemic only accelerated our dependence. Having a cell phone or internet access are no longer luxuries, they are vital necessities.

When a low-income American doesn’t have access to connectivity, they are put at an even greater disadvantage. They are limited in their ability to seek and apply for a job, they don’t have the option of convenient and cost-effective telehealth, opportunities for education shrink, and accessing social programs becomes more difficult. I haven’t even mentioned the social benefits that connectivity gives us humans—it’s natural to want to call our friends and families, and for many, necessary to share news or updates. The loss or absence of connectivity can easily create a snowball effect, compounding challenges for low-income Americans.

The stakes are certainly high. Thankfully, there are government programs created to shrink the digital divide. The challenge is that not many Americans know what’s out there.

What can be done to improve it

In the 1980s, the Reagan administration created the federal Lifeline program to subsidize phones and bring them into every household. The program has since evolved to include mobile and broadband services.

More than 34 million low-income Americans are eligible for subsidized cell phones and internet access through the Lifeline program. Unfortunately, only 1 in 5 eligible people are taking advantage of the program because most qualified Americans don’t even know the program exists.

The situation is similar with the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program, another federal government program aimed at bringing connectivity to low-income Americans. Through ACP, qualifying households can get connected by answering a few simple questions and submitting eligibility documents.

Experts estimate that 48 million households—or nearly 40% of households in the country—qualify for the ACP. But, just like Lifeline, too few Americans are taking advantage of the program.

So, what can be done to increase the use of these programs and close the digital divide?

Our vision of true digital equity is where every American is connected through a diverse network of solutions. This means we can’t rely solely on fixed terrestrial. According to research from Pew, 27% of people earning less than $30,000 a year did not have home broadband and relied on smartphones for connectivity. Another benefit of mobile connectivity—more Americans have access to it. FCC data shows that 99.9% of Americans live in an LTE coverage area, whereas only 94% of the country has access to fixed terrestrial broadband where they live.

Additionally, we need more local communities to get behind these programs and proactively market them. We should see ads plastered across billboards and buses in the most impacted areas. Companies like ours, which provide services subsidized through Lifeline and ACP, market and promote the programs, but we’re limited in our reach. It’s imperative that local communities and their governments invest more resources to promote Lifeline, ACP and other connectivity programs.

While there’s no panacea for the problem at hand, it is imperative that we all do our part, especially as the economic climate threatens to grow the digital divide. The fate of millions of Americans is at stake.

Doug Lodder in President of TruConnect, a mobile provider that offers eligible consumers unlimited talk, text, and data, a free Android smartphone, free shipping, and access to over 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots; free international calling to Mexico, Canada, South Korea, China and Vietnam; plus an option to purchase tablets at $10.01. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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Broadband's Impact

Senate Bill Subsidizing U.S. Semiconductor Production Clears House, Going to White House

Bill aims to strengthen American self-reliance in semiconductor chip production and international competition.

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Photo of Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, during Tuesday's press conference

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2022 – A $54 billion bill to subsidize U.S-made semiconductor chips passed the House Thursday on a 243-187, and moves to President Biden for his expected signature.

Dubbed the CHIPS Act for Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Act for America Fund, the measure is expected to incentivize domestic semiconductor manufacturing and also provide grants for the design and deploying of wireless 5G networks. It also includes a $24 billion fund to create a 25 percent tax credit for new semiconductor manufacturing facilities.

Advocates of the measure say that it will also improve U.S. supply chain, grow U.S. domestic workforce, and enable the U.S. to compete internationally to combat national security emergencies.

The measure passed the Senate Wednesday on a 64-33 vote.

Congressional supporters tout benefits

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., voiced his support on the House floor, calling it “a win for our global competitiveness.”

The CHIPS Act of 2022 provides a five-year investment in public research and development, and establishes new technology hubs across the country.

Of the funds, $14 billion goes to upgrade national labs, and $9 billion goes to the National Institute of Standards and Technology research, of which $2 billion goes to support manufacturing partnerships, and with $200 million going to train the domestic workforce.

In a virtual press conference on Tuesday, Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennett said that America’s semiconductor industry has lost ground to foreign competitors. “Today, only 12% of chips are manufactured in the United States, down from 37% in the 1990s.”

He said relying on cheaper products produced in China and overseas for so long, it has caught up with the United States.

Bennet suggested to move manufacturing labs to Colorado, where it can support it due to the plenty of jobs in aerospace and facility and infrastructure space.

“We don’t want the Chinese setting the standard for telecommunications. America needs to lead that. This bill puts us in the position to be a world leader,” said Bennet. “We are at a huge national security disadvantage if we don’t do this.”

Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colorado, joined his Rocky Mountain state colleague in support: “There is a real sense of urgency here to compete not only to re-establish the U.S. to make their own chips, but to compete internationally.”

He said that semiconductor chips are vital to almost every business and product, including phones, watches, refrigerators, cars, and laptops. “I’m not sure if I can think of a business that isn’t dependent on chips at this point.”\

“This is a space race,” he said. “We cannot afford to fall behind.”

Industry supporters say measure is necessary

The U.S. has lost ground to foreign competitors in scientific R&D and in supply chain industry during a recent semiconductor crisis, said France Córdova, president of the Science Philanthropy Alliance, at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation event on July 19. The U.S. only ranks sixth best among other prominent countries in the world for research and development, she said.

“The CHIPS Act of 2022 and FABS Act are critical investments to even the global playing field for U.S. companies, and strategically important for our economic and national national security,” said Ganesh Moorthy, president and CEO of Microchip Technology Inc.

Bide expected to sign measure

With the Biden’s Administration’s focus to tackle the semiconductor shortage and supply chain crisis through the Executive Order made in February, the Biden administration has been bullish on the passage of the CHIPS Act, in a Wednesday statement:

“It will accelerate the manufacturing of semiconductors in America, lowering prices on everything from cars to dishwashers.  It also will create jobs – good-paying jobs right here in the United States.  It will mean more resilient American supply chains, so we are never so reliant on foreign countries for the critical technologies that we need for American consumers and national security,” said Biden.

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Health

Providers Call for More FCC Telehealth Funding as Demand Grows

‘I think obtaining funding from the Universal Service Fund would go a long way.’

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Photo of FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2022 – Health care providers in parts of America say they are struggling to deliver telehealth due to a lack of broadband connectivity in underserved communities, and recommended there be more funding from the Federal Communications Commission.

While the FCC has a $200-million COVID-19 Telehealth program, which emerged from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, some providers say more money is needed as demand for telehealth services increases.

“The need for broadband connectivity in underserved communities exceeds current availability,” said Jennifer Stoll from the Oregon Community Health Information Network.

The OCHIN was one of the largest recipients of the FCC’s Rural Health Care Pilot program in 2009. Stoll advocated for the need for more funding with the non-profit SHLB Coalition during the event last week. Panelists didn’t specify how much more funding is needed.

Stoll noted that moving forward, states need sustainable funding in this sector. “I am hoping Congress will be mindful of telehealth,” said Stoll.

“The need for telehealth and other virtual modalities will continue to grow in rural and underserved communities,” she added.

Brian Scarpelli, senior global policy counsel at ACT, the App Association, echoed the call for FCC funding from the Universal Service Fund, which subsidizes basic telecommunications services to rural areas and low-income Americans. “I think obtaining funding from the Universal Service Fund would go a long way.”

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