Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2013

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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SUMMIT COVERAGE era, so you're always putting new wine in old bottles. Even in Chattanooga, the public library is focused on books and has rigid work rules. In the new model, the library should be about inspiration and performance. You could set aside a whole foor for collaboration. Kansas City residents are aware of gigabit broadband and think it will improve public services, said Damon Porter, executive director of MOBroadbandNow. BURlINgTON ACTIvISTS TAkE A lEAf fROM ThE kANSAS CITy PlAyBOOk Today's broadband activists are organizing not just to improve their communities' access to broadband but also to leverage the broadband they have. In December 2012, Burlington Telecom, the municipal fber provider in Burlington, Vt., began ofering 1 Gbps Internet speeds for $150 per month. On its website, BT suggests Netfix and Xbox Live as applications for gigabit users, but local Web developer Bradley Holt, former chair of the city's now-defunct Telecom Advisory Committee, thought there must be more ways to take advantage of the new high speeds. He says, "Gigabit represented an opportunity to talk about the potential of our community's network in tangible terms." Holt and his partner, Jason Pelletier, organized a Gigabit Salon and invited people to discuss how the community could beneft from gigabit broadband. When more than 30 people registered, they realized there was a high level of interest in the topic. They named their initiative BTV Gig and launched a website ( and a social media presence to help spread the word. After holding a local Gigabit Tweetup and consulting with national experts from Gig.U, US Ignite, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and other groups, they published a report in March 2013, "Burlington's Gigabit Opportunity," available on The report, inspired by the playbook of the Kansas City Mayors' Bistate Innovations Team, outlines a plan to form communities of interest – as Kansas City has done – to discuss applications of gigabit technology that range from telemedicine to startup incubators to live streaming of concerts. The team also submitted a proposal to Mozilla Ignite to develop an application for distributed supercomputing using gigabit broadband. Currently, the BTV Gig team is working to advance the BTV Gig initiative, to develop a culture of innovation based on gigabit service and to ensure that the entire community benefts from the gigabit network. 62 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | Gary Evans, Hiawatha Broadband Communications: We've just completed deploying a network in Red Wing, Minn., that will ofer 1 Gbps to the home. Te city is developing a business incubator where people can work on bright ideas for applications, and it has generated an angel fund to help businesses move into independent status. We believe in generating the next-generation economy. Te home-based business is frequently the lifeblood of smalltown America. Working with those businesses is important. Typically, Hiawatha charges more for business connectivity, but we need to change that for home-based businesses. Two university professors in a town of 100 are teaching online classes at distant universities. In a suburban Twin Cities community, the two largest businesses provided money to build FTTH in two housing developments because they wanted to allow employees to work from home. Telecom has begun to redefne productivity. When Hiawatha Broadband is recruited to a community and asked to build a network, we start with one question to city leaders: Why do you want a broadband provider in your community? If the answer is lower prices, and they have no vision for how to improve the community from a business and quality-of-life standpoint, there isn't going to be much to build success on. If the community has a vision for what it wants to become, that's more promising. Te frst community we served outside Winona [Hiawatha's home base] said to us, "We want to become the No. 1 bedroom community for Rochester [where the Mayo Clinic is located], and we need a broadband network to do that." Te community has almost doubled in size since then. Te vision was proven accurate. v | May/June 2013

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