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Open Access

Open Access Opportunity for Municipalities to Allay Competition Concerns

Open access provisions in municipal builds could alleviate fears of competition concerns with ISPs.

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June 23, 2021—Municipal broadband networks can include open access provisions that allow internet service providers to sell services and allay competition fears, according to a some on a panel of experts hosted by Broadband Breakfast.

Over the past few months — and increasingly since President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan in March thrust the importance of municipal builds into the spotlight – there has been concern, specifically from Republicans, that municipal networks could cripple competition. Critics of those networks have sought to outlaw them as a result.

But allowing ISPs to use municipal networks to sell last-mile service to homes and business, cities can effectively reduce competition fears of critics, increase competition between providers, and ultimately reduce prices for consumers, said Ben Lewis-Ramirez, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Lit Communities, who was a panelist on last week on Broadband Breakfast’s live online event to discuss the intricacies of open access in the digital age.

Open access can thin margins, affect services

Some on the panel weren’t altogether convinced about the idea. Monica Webb, head of market development and strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, said on the panel that, in her experience, while dissatisfaction with cable and telco monopolies is often the driving force behind open access efforts, open access solutions will not necessarily yield better service to consumers.

“When it comes to competition in open access, prices generally do go down [for consumers],” Webb said. “However, the margins for ISPs can also be narrower, and sometimes service can be impacted.”

Webb and Lewis-Ramirez both agreed that the quality of service offered by telcos is not necessarily improved by open access models, and that municipalities that decide to pursue an open access solution must be sure to vet the companies that they decide to lease their infrastructure to, and establish strict standards for companies to adhere to.

Despite calling an open access a potential silver bullet, Lewis-Ramirez also agreed with Webb’s assessment that there are unique risks associated with open access. In an open access model, those who are deploying and leasing infrastructure assume the lion’s share of risk; ISPs that contract with those leasing infrastructure stand to lose very little, and must expend minimal capital to take advantage of said infrastructure.

Though open access might come with risk, both experts stated that in certain circumstances, open access infrastructure can provide significant value for both consumers and municipal bodies looking to improve network coverage.

The model is receiving attention at the federal level. Amy Klobuchar’s Accessible, Affordable, Internet Act” would prioritize funding for projects that utilize an open access model.

The municipal network debate

The discussion comes at an interesting time: This month, Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget featuring an amendment that would essentially end municipal broadband in the State. The reason? Municipalities should not be allowed to compete against business for this essential service.

Ohio isn’t alone, either. If the budget passes Ohio’s House, it will be added to the list of more than a dozen states that outlaw municipal broadband services.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the June 16, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Innovation in Broadband Business Models: Open Access Case Studies”

One of the areas of greatest innovations in digital infrastructure investment concerns open access networks, a growing space for innovation and investment. Join Broadband Breakfast for a session considering how multiple American open access networks — including players in the ownership, network operations, and services areas — have tackled the unique challenges in crafting a business that works for a network that serves multiple stakeholders.

More about Digital Infrastructure Investment 2021 at Broadband Communities Summit

Panelists:

  • Monica WebbHead of Market Development & Strategic Partnerships at Ting Internet
  • Ben Lewis-Ramirez, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Lit Communities
  • Sean Buckley (moderator), Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities

Monica Webb is the head of market development & strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, working with local stakeholders in existing Ting towns and evaluates existing and prospective gigabit network locations and related business projects. Webb spent her early career working in marketing and management in the financial services industry, where she launched channel marketing platforms that continue to dominate channel strategy in the mutual fund industry today.

Ben Lewis-Ramirez is passionate about bridging the digital divide through building open application networks in under-served communities, and was one of the Lit Communities co-founders. He has over 10 years of executive management experience in the outside plant engineering and construction industries, with a focus in business development and strategic planning for the past 3 years. Ben is a vocal advocate for the open application business model, and has published numerous magazine articles and blog posts on the subject, in addition to speaking about it at conferences and other events around the country.

Sean Buckley is the Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities. Buckley comes to the magazine publishing and conference company after serving nine years as Senior Editor at FierceTelecom, a daily online newsletter. He also oversaw FierceInstaller, a weekly publication chronicling trends in network installation. Prior to coming to FierceTelecom, Sean spent eight years at Horizon House publications, serving as senior editor and later as Editor in Chief of Telecommunications Magazine and Telecom Engine.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

As a child of American parents working abroad, Reporter Ben Kahn was raised as a third culture kid, growing up in five different countries, including the U.S.. He is a recent graduate of the University of Baltimore, where he majored in Policy, Politics, and International Affairs. He enjoys learning about foreign languages and cultures and can now speak poorly in more than one language.

Exclusive

Exclusive Drew Clark Column on Innovation in Open Access Networks

Open access last-mile networks are an area of great commercial innovation and ferment in the United States right now.

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June 23, 2021—Municipal broadband networks can include open access provisions that allow internet service providers to sell services and allay competition fears, according to a some on a panel of experts hosted by Broadband Breakfast.

Over the past few months — and increasingly since President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan in March thrust the importance of municipal builds into the spotlight – there has been concern, specifically from Republicans, that municipal networks could cripple competition. Critics of those networks have sought to outlaw them as a result.

But allowing ISPs to use municipal networks to sell last-mile service to homes and business, cities can effectively reduce competition fears of critics, increase competition between providers, and ultimately reduce prices for consumers, said Ben Lewis-Ramirez, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Lit Communities, who was a panelist on last week on Broadband Breakfast’s live online event to discuss the intricacies of open access in the digital age.

Open access can thin margins, affect services

Some on the panel weren’t altogether convinced about the idea. Monica Webb, head of market development and strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, said on the panel that, in her experience, while dissatisfaction with cable and telco monopolies is often the driving force behind open access efforts, open access solutions will not necessarily yield better service to consumers.

“When it comes to competition in open access, prices generally do go down [for consumers],” Webb said. “However, the margins for ISPs can also be narrower, and sometimes service can be impacted.”

Webb and Lewis-Ramirez both agreed that the quality of service offered by telcos is not necessarily improved by open access models, and that municipalities that decide to pursue an open access solution must be sure to vet the companies that they decide to lease their infrastructure to, and establish strict standards for companies to adhere to.

Despite calling an open access a potential silver bullet, Lewis-Ramirez also agreed with Webb’s assessment that there are unique risks associated with open access. In an open access model, those who are deploying and leasing infrastructure assume the lion’s share of risk; ISPs that contract with those leasing infrastructure stand to lose very little, and must expend minimal capital to take advantage of said infrastructure.

Though open access might come with risk, both experts stated that in certain circumstances, open access infrastructure can provide significant value for both consumers and municipal bodies looking to improve network coverage.

The model is receiving attention at the federal level. Amy Klobuchar’s Accessible, Affordable, Internet Act” would prioritize funding for projects that utilize an open access model.

The municipal network debate

The discussion comes at an interesting time: This month, Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget featuring an amendment that would essentially end municipal broadband in the State. The reason? Municipalities should not be allowed to compete against business for this essential service.

Ohio isn’t alone, either. If the budget passes Ohio’s House, it will be added to the list of more than a dozen states that outlaw municipal broadband services.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the June 16, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Innovation in Broadband Business Models: Open Access Case Studies”

One of the areas of greatest innovations in digital infrastructure investment concerns open access networks, a growing space for innovation and investment. Join Broadband Breakfast for a session considering how multiple American open access networks — including players in the ownership, network operations, and services areas — have tackled the unique challenges in crafting a business that works for a network that serves multiple stakeholders.

More about Digital Infrastructure Investment 2021 at Broadband Communities Summit

Panelists:

  • Monica WebbHead of Market Development & Strategic Partnerships at Ting Internet
  • Ben Lewis-Ramirez, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Lit Communities
  • Sean Buckley (moderator), Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities

Monica Webb is the head of market development & strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, working with local stakeholders in existing Ting towns and evaluates existing and prospective gigabit network locations and related business projects. Webb spent her early career working in marketing and management in the financial services industry, where she launched channel marketing platforms that continue to dominate channel strategy in the mutual fund industry today.

Ben Lewis-Ramirez is passionate about bridging the digital divide through building open application networks in under-served communities, and was one of the Lit Communities co-founders. He has over 10 years of executive management experience in the outside plant engineering and construction industries, with a focus in business development and strategic planning for the past 3 years. Ben is a vocal advocate for the open application business model, and has published numerous magazine articles and blog posts on the subject, in addition to speaking about it at conferences and other events around the country.

Sean Buckley is the Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities. Buckley comes to the magazine publishing and conference company after serving nine years as Senior Editor at FierceTelecom, a daily online newsletter. He also oversaw FierceInstaller, a weekly publication chronicling trends in network installation. Prior to coming to FierceTelecom, Sean spent eight years at Horizon House publications, serving as senior editor and later as Editor in Chief of Telecommunications Magazine and Telecom Engine.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

Open Access

Open Access Networks Key To Affordability Question, House Committee Hears

The House Energy and Commerce committee heard arguments that open access to networks is crucial for competition and affordability.

Published

on

Screenshot of Francella Ochillo from House hearing

June 23, 2021—Municipal broadband networks can include open access provisions that allow internet service providers to sell services and allay competition fears, according to a some on a panel of experts hosted by Broadband Breakfast.

Over the past few months — and increasingly since President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan in March thrust the importance of municipal builds into the spotlight – there has been concern, specifically from Republicans, that municipal networks could cripple competition. Critics of those networks have sought to outlaw them as a result.

But allowing ISPs to use municipal networks to sell last-mile service to homes and business, cities can effectively reduce competition fears of critics, increase competition between providers, and ultimately reduce prices for consumers, said Ben Lewis-Ramirez, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Lit Communities, who was a panelist on last week on Broadband Breakfast’s live online event to discuss the intricacies of open access in the digital age.

Open access can thin margins, affect services

Some on the panel weren’t altogether convinced about the idea. Monica Webb, head of market development and strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, said on the panel that, in her experience, while dissatisfaction with cable and telco monopolies is often the driving force behind open access efforts, open access solutions will not necessarily yield better service to consumers.

“When it comes to competition in open access, prices generally do go down [for consumers],” Webb said. “However, the margins for ISPs can also be narrower, and sometimes service can be impacted.”

Webb and Lewis-Ramirez both agreed that the quality of service offered by telcos is not necessarily improved by open access models, and that municipalities that decide to pursue an open access solution must be sure to vet the companies that they decide to lease their infrastructure to, and establish strict standards for companies to adhere to.

Despite calling an open access a potential silver bullet, Lewis-Ramirez also agreed with Webb’s assessment that there are unique risks associated with open access. In an open access model, those who are deploying and leasing infrastructure assume the lion’s share of risk; ISPs that contract with those leasing infrastructure stand to lose very little, and must expend minimal capital to take advantage of said infrastructure.

Though open access might come with risk, both experts stated that in certain circumstances, open access infrastructure can provide significant value for both consumers and municipal bodies looking to improve network coverage.

The model is receiving attention at the federal level. Amy Klobuchar’s Accessible, Affordable, Internet Act” would prioritize funding for projects that utilize an open access model.

The municipal network debate

The discussion comes at an interesting time: This month, Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget featuring an amendment that would essentially end municipal broadband in the State. The reason? Municipalities should not be allowed to compete against business for this essential service.

Ohio isn’t alone, either. If the budget passes Ohio’s House, it will be added to the list of more than a dozen states that outlaw municipal broadband services.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the June 16, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Innovation in Broadband Business Models: Open Access Case Studies”

One of the areas of greatest innovations in digital infrastructure investment concerns open access networks, a growing space for innovation and investment. Join Broadband Breakfast for a session considering how multiple American open access networks — including players in the ownership, network operations, and services areas — have tackled the unique challenges in crafting a business that works for a network that serves multiple stakeholders.

More about Digital Infrastructure Investment 2021 at Broadband Communities Summit

Panelists:

  • Monica WebbHead of Market Development & Strategic Partnerships at Ting Internet
  • Ben Lewis-Ramirez, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Lit Communities
  • Sean Buckley (moderator), Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities

Monica Webb is the head of market development & strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, working with local stakeholders in existing Ting towns and evaluates existing and prospective gigabit network locations and related business projects. Webb spent her early career working in marketing and management in the financial services industry, where she launched channel marketing platforms that continue to dominate channel strategy in the mutual fund industry today.

Ben Lewis-Ramirez is passionate about bridging the digital divide through building open application networks in under-served communities, and was one of the Lit Communities co-founders. He has over 10 years of executive management experience in the outside plant engineering and construction industries, with a focus in business development and strategic planning for the past 3 years. Ben is a vocal advocate for the open application business model, and has published numerous magazine articles and blog posts on the subject, in addition to speaking about it at conferences and other events around the country.

Sean Buckley is the Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities. Buckley comes to the magazine publishing and conference company after serving nine years as Senior Editor at FierceTelecom, a daily online newsletter. He also oversaw FierceInstaller, a weekly publication chronicling trends in network installation. Prior to coming to FierceTelecom, Sean spent eight years at Horizon House publications, serving as senior editor and later as Editor in Chief of Telecommunications Magazine and Telecom Engine.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

Expert Opinion

Christopher Mitchell: Electric Grid Disaster in Texas Leads to Broadband Open Access Soul Searching

Published

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Chris Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at Institute for Local Self-Reliance

June 23, 2021—Municipal broadband networks can include open access provisions that allow internet service providers to sell services and allay competition fears, according to a some on a panel of experts hosted by Broadband Breakfast.

Over the past few months — and increasingly since President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Plan in March thrust the importance of municipal builds into the spotlight – there has been concern, specifically from Republicans, that municipal networks could cripple competition. Critics of those networks have sought to outlaw them as a result.

But allowing ISPs to use municipal networks to sell last-mile service to homes and business, cities can effectively reduce competition fears of critics, increase competition between providers, and ultimately reduce prices for consumers, said Ben Lewis-Ramirez, co-founder and chief marketing officer at Lit Communities, who was a panelist on last week on Broadband Breakfast’s live online event to discuss the intricacies of open access in the digital age.

Open access can thin margins, affect services

Some on the panel weren’t altogether convinced about the idea. Monica Webb, head of market development and strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, said on the panel that, in her experience, while dissatisfaction with cable and telco monopolies is often the driving force behind open access efforts, open access solutions will not necessarily yield better service to consumers.

“When it comes to competition in open access, prices generally do go down [for consumers],” Webb said. “However, the margins for ISPs can also be narrower, and sometimes service can be impacted.”

Webb and Lewis-Ramirez both agreed that the quality of service offered by telcos is not necessarily improved by open access models, and that municipalities that decide to pursue an open access solution must be sure to vet the companies that they decide to lease their infrastructure to, and establish strict standards for companies to adhere to.

Despite calling an open access a potential silver bullet, Lewis-Ramirez also agreed with Webb’s assessment that there are unique risks associated with open access. In an open access model, those who are deploying and leasing infrastructure assume the lion’s share of risk; ISPs that contract with those leasing infrastructure stand to lose very little, and must expend minimal capital to take advantage of said infrastructure.

Though open access might come with risk, both experts stated that in certain circumstances, open access infrastructure can provide significant value for both consumers and municipal bodies looking to improve network coverage.

The model is receiving attention at the federal level. Amy Klobuchar’s Accessible, Affordable, Internet Act” would prioritize funding for projects that utilize an open access model.

The municipal network debate

The discussion comes at an interesting time: This month, Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a budget featuring an amendment that would essentially end municipal broadband in the State. The reason? Municipalities should not be allowed to compete against business for this essential service.

Ohio isn’t alone, either. If the budget passes Ohio’s House, it will be added to the list of more than a dozen states that outlaw municipal broadband services.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. You can watch the June 16, 2021, event on this page. You can also PARTICIPATE in the current Broadband Breakfast Live Online event. REGISTER HERE.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021, 12 Noon ET — “Innovation in Broadband Business Models: Open Access Case Studies”

One of the areas of greatest innovations in digital infrastructure investment concerns open access networks, a growing space for innovation and investment. Join Broadband Breakfast for a session considering how multiple American open access networks — including players in the ownership, network operations, and services areas — have tackled the unique challenges in crafting a business that works for a network that serves multiple stakeholders.

More about Digital Infrastructure Investment 2021 at Broadband Communities Summit

Panelists:

  • Monica WebbHead of Market Development & Strategic Partnerships at Ting Internet
  • Ben Lewis-Ramirez, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Lit Communities
  • Sean Buckley (moderator), Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities

Monica Webb is the head of market development & strategic partnerships at Ting Internet, working with local stakeholders in existing Ting towns and evaluates existing and prospective gigabit network locations and related business projects. Webb spent her early career working in marketing and management in the financial services industry, where she launched channel marketing platforms that continue to dominate channel strategy in the mutual fund industry today.

Ben Lewis-Ramirez is passionate about bridging the digital divide through building open application networks in under-served communities, and was one of the Lit Communities co-founders. He has over 10 years of executive management experience in the outside plant engineering and construction industries, with a focus in business development and strategic planning for the past 3 years. Ben is a vocal advocate for the open application business model, and has published numerous magazine articles and blog posts on the subject, in addition to speaking about it at conferences and other events around the country.

Sean Buckley is the Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities. Buckley comes to the magazine publishing and conference company after serving nine years as Senior Editor at FierceTelecom, a daily online newsletter. He also oversaw FierceInstaller, a weekly publication chronicling trends in network installation. Prior to coming to FierceTelecom, Sean spent eight years at Horizon House publications, serving as senior editor and later as Editor in Chief of Telecommunications Magazine and Telecom Engine.

WATCH HERE, or on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

As with all Broadband Breakfast Live Online events, the FREE webcasts will take place at 12 Noon ET on Wednesday.

SUBSCRIBE to the Broadband Breakfast YouTube channel. That way, you will be notified when events go live. Watch on YouTubeTwitter and Facebook

See a complete list of upcoming and past Broadband Breakfast Live Online events.

Continue Reading

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