Broadband Communities

JUL 2015

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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6 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | JULY 2015 BANDWIDTH HAWK O ver the past year, states have earmarked serious money for broadband deployments as they seek to provide 21st-century infrastructure in support of job creation, schools, health care, emergency response and other services. My ongoing studies, published in this magazine, have shown that this is vitally necessary to stem rural population losses. Each state that has raised signifcant funds for broadband has chosen a diferent approach. Kentucky will contract with Macquarie Capital to raise around $300 million – maybe more –for a middle-mile build that should make local fber-to-the-home builds more economically viable, and it will supplement that private investment with $30 million in state bonds and $15 to $20 million in federal grants. Massachusetts is providing $40 million to help 45 of the state's towns build their own broadband. New York put $500 million on the table and hopes deployers in underserved or unserved areas can match that to generate $1 billion in new broadband network building. Some community broadband activists worry that these funds will go to large network deployers to subsidize construction of networks they might have built anyway. Major Internet service providers may indeed receive subsidies because they already have infrastructure in underserved areas. Tey may have wired small communities' cores but ignored outlying areas. A new competitor might have to start from scratch and spend more. Co-ops and other locally owned providers tend to be more egalitarian in rural areas, but their business plans are brittle, and many have already sufered as the Universal Service Fund is repurposed by the Federal Communications Commission for broadband access and away from voice service. Tis confict was highlighted in a panel chaired by Joanne Hovis of CLIC and CTC Technology & Energy at the New York State Broadband Summit in June. Charlie Williams, VP for government relations at Time Warner Cable, complained about the possibility of the state's subsidizing the company's competitors. Brian Ford, regulatory counsel at the National Telephone Cooperative Association, cited several examples of rural telcos hurt by changing rules for subsidies. When government policies, customer New Broadband Thinking States are starting to fund broadband deployments in rural and other disadvantaged areas. Providers can beneft from this development – as long as they're open-minded. By Steven S. Ross / Broadband Communities Community Toolkit Program & Economic Development Conference Series C i T l k i P Tuesday, September 15: Steve Ross will lead a hands-on workshop on rural broadband fnancial models. C o n f e r e n c e S e r i e s

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