Broadband Communities

NOV-DEC 2018

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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N O V E M B E R / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 8 | w w w. b r o a d b a n d c o m m u n i t i e s . c o m | B R O A D B A N D C O M M U N I T I E S | 2 5 suggests ways for supporters to take action, such as signing a petition or contacting local officials. Perhaps the most creative aspect of its campaign is a campy action video pinned to the top of its @PublicNetPDX Twitter account. It features many Portland icons and makes some clever jokes using internet memes and telecom references. GRASSROOTS FUNDING IN VERMONT "Vermonters have a history of self- reliance," points out the website for the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Optic Network (ECFiber). In 2008, this heritage led 24 towns in rural Vermont to join forces and build a fiber-to-the-premises network that will eventually connect every home and business in the region. To finance the network deployment, ECFiber's member towns turned to the people who had the most to gain from a new network – their citizens. ECFiber issued tax-exempt promissory notes to local investors in amounts as small as $2,500. e network was constructed in segments, prioritizing neighborhoods with the highest levels of preregistration. ECFiber eventually transitioned to more traditional funding sources, but it used the original community financing model to raise more than $7 million and connect more than 1,000 subscribers. "We are embedded in the community," explained Leslie Nulty, a former project coordinator for ECFiber. "We don't even have to have a marketing budget because people already know our brand; they know who we are." ECFiber anticipates connecting all premises in its service territory by 2020, and it is already having an impact elsewhere in the state: irteen towns in central Vermont are working to create a communications union district with the aim of deploying a fiber network similar to ECFiber. TAKEAWAYS FOR BROADBAND ADVOCATES It's important for community activists to accept that building a community broadband network doesn't happen overnight and won't happen merely because it could be a good idea. Activating community members and persuading elected officials to act takes time, and setbacks can come in many forms. "It takes months, if not years, to really make progress," explained Colin Garfield of Broadband and Beers. "It takes incredible patience." ese examples demonstrate, however, that it's possible for communities of different types – large and small, rural and urban – to use grassroots tactics to get the connectivity they need. v Katie Kienbaum is a research associate at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. She can be reached at 440.366.6966 | GOMULTILINK.COM/TECHNOLOGIES/FDH 19" RACK RAIL FDH Standard 19" rack rails with 15RU for mounting equipment Custom 19" rack rail plates for your network equipment Excellent built in fiber management

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