Broadband Communities

JAN-FEB 2017

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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38 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 COMMUNITY BROADBAND I n many states, legislatures have been notoriously unsympathetic to rural communities that suffer from poor broadband. "Most legislators don't know anything about technology," said Tom Sloan, a Kansas state representative who knows (and cares) a great deal about technology, adding that broadband activists and local officials can compete with industry lobbyists for their state legislators' attention. Sloan said, "Data matters to most legislators. Tell me what you need and why your system is inadequate. Compare your speeds with what the same provider offers in other communities. Survey existing businesses and show the negative impact on them – a cabinetmaker who can't offer products online or a farmer who can't buy and sell commodities and livestock in the national marketplace. Ask the local chamber of commerce to document businesses that left town or didn't move there – even small entities." Health care providers may also provide valuable examples of the costs of inadequate broadband, Sloan said. Medicare financially punishes hospitals for high readmission rates, but the best way of reducing readmissions is to monitor patients via broadband after release. Such monitoring improves patient health care and saves hospitals and health care providers money. ose savings result in lower insurance premiums or taxes for everyone. Rural residents should be included in the data compilation. If rural residents leave, they Building Support For Community Broadband Following are highlights from the 2016 Broad B and Communities conference on broadband and economic development, held in Minneapolis in October. These excerpts are from sessions about gaining support from state legislators and the impacts of local fiber networks. A BBC Staff Report Learn more about the politics and economics of community fiber networks at the Broad B and Communities s ummit , May 1–4, 2017, in Dallas. Working With State Legislators Tom Sloan, State Representative, District 45 State of Kansas

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