Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 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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2 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MARCH/APRIL 2017 EDITOR'S NOTE Broadband Communities (ISSN 0745-8711) (USPS 679-050) (Publication Mail Agreement #1271091) is published 7 times a year at a rate of $24 per year by Broadband Properties LLC, 1909 Avenue G, Rosenberg, TX 77471. Periodical postage paid at Rosenberg, TX, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Broadband Communities, PO Box 303, Congers, NY 10920-9852. CANADA POST: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Copyright © 2017 Broadband Properties LLC. All rights reserved. CEO Barbara DeGarmo / PUBLISHER Nancy McCain / E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F Masha Zager / E D I TO R -AT- L A R G E Steven S. Ross / ADV ER T ISING SALES ACCO U N T E X E C U T I V E Irene Prescott / E V E N T S CO O R D I N ATO R Dennise Argil / CO M M U N I T Y N E W S E D I TO R Marianne Cotter / DESIGN & PRODUC T I O N Karry Thomas CO N T R I B U TO R S David Daugherty, Korcett Holdings Inc. Heather Burnett Gold, Fiber Broadband Association Joanne Hovis, CTC Technology & Energy Michael A. Kashmer, Digital Broadband Programming Consultant W. James MacNaughton, Esq. Christopher Mitchell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance Henry Pye, RealPage, Inc. Bryan Rader, Access Media 3 Craig Settles, Gigabit Nation Robert L. Vogelsang, Broadband Communities Magazine B ROAD BAN D PRO PE R TI E S LLC CEO Barbara DeGarmo V ICE PR ESIDEN T, BUSINESS & OPER AT I ONS Nancy McCain CHAIR MAN OF T HE BOAR D Robert L. Vogelsang V ICE CHAIR MAN The Hon. Hilda Gay Legg BUSINESS & EDI TOR IAL OFFICE BROADBAND PROPER T IES LLC 19 09 Avenue G • Rosenb erg, T X 77471 281. 342.9 655 • Fa x 281. 342.1158 w w w. bro adb andcommunities .com N ow that broadband is indispensable to daily life and three-quarters of U.S. households have broadband at home, it's hard to fathom that it is still unavailable in large areas of the United States. But according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, 39 percent of rural Americans lack adequate broadband access. Billions in federal loans, grants and Universal Service Fund support have already gone into wiring rural areas, and billions more are headed that way. However, the scale of the need dwarfs the available resources, and the remaining unserved or underserved areas include many that are difficult to serve economically. It's time for new ideas. Rural areas have already lost jobs and population because of poor broadband and will decline further if the problem isn't solved. Abandoning rural housing and infrastructure and building new facilities to accommodate migration into the cities and suburbs is far more expensive than just building broadband in rural areas. Taking care of those who stay behind is expensive, too – for example, the opioid epidemic has hit impoverished rural areas particularly hard. Rural despair was painfully evident in the 2016 elections. SPECIAL FOCUS ON RURAL ISSUES is issue of Broad B and Communities features a special section on the problems of rural broadband. It covers a number of state, county and local efforts to tackle the digital divide through policy changes, public broadband deployment and creative partnerships with the private sector. In addition, Frank Odasz talks about the importance of meshing rural broadband with rural culture – and ending up with the best of both worlds. Getting the infrastructure right is critical, too, and two experts from Vantage Point explain why, even after the long-awaited 5G standard arrives, wireless will not be the answer to rural broadband prayers. (Spoiler alert: e answer is fiber to the home.) Andrew Cohill emphasizes the importance of breaking the monopoly on infrastructure. His mantra, like that of the last FCC chairman, is "Competition, competition, competition" – and he shows that even a group of neighbors along a rural stretch of road can create a competitive counterweight to incumbent providers. Finally, Michael Curri demonstrates that the community benefits of broadband may be large enough (and, more to the point, predictable enough) to take to the bank. Rural communities can borrow against these benefits in a way that traditional private-sector providers could never do. Note that the small city of Ammon, Idaho, makes not one but two appearances in this special section – and its technology director will make two appearances at the 2017 Summit. Clearly, Ammon is one place worth watching as a test bed for new ideas to solve the rural broadband crisis. v Serving the Underserved New ideas are needed to get adequate broadband to rural areas.

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