Rural electric co-ops have started delivering high quality Internet access to their member-owners and our guest this week on Community Broadband Bits episode 229 is dedicated to helping these co-ops to build fiber-optic networks throughout their territories. Jon Chambers is a partner at Conexon and was previously the head of the FCC's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.Jon is a strong proponent for ensuring rural residents and businesses have at least the same quality Internet access as urban areas. We talk about his experience and frustration at the FCC, which was content to shovel money at telcos for the most basic infrastructure rather than setting higher expectations to ensure everyone had decent Internet access. We talk about how Co-Mo rolled out fiber to its members without federal assistance, inspiring electric cooperatives around the nation to follow suit.In our discussion, I reference Jon's blog post “FCC to Rural America: Drop Dead.” In it, he cites some of the reactions in the FCC from his advocacy for real rural solutions rather than signing big checks to big telcos for delivering slow and unreliable Internet access. One of quotes from a Democrat: “Republicans like corporate welfare, so we’re going to give money to the telephone companies to keep the Republicans on the Hill happy.”Neither political party comes off looking very good when it comes to rural connectivity, which fits with our impression. But Jon confirms another of our experiences when he says that when he works with rural communities, politics doesn't come up. They just focus on solutions.Read the transcript of the show here.We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.This show is 36 minutes long and can be played below on this page or via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed.You can download this mp3 file directly from here. Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.Thanks to mojo monkeys for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is “Bodacious.”
As high quality Internet has become more essential for business and quality of life, those who realized that the existing telecom providers had no intention to invest in better connections in their rural Missouri communities began to ask their electric cooperative – Co-Mo – to step up and do it.
This week, we talk with Randy Klindt, General Manager of Co-Mo Connect, which is building a gigabit fiber network out to its members despite having not been chosen to receive any stimulus funds.
We discuss how they have structured the network, why they felt compelled to get into the business, and some of the results from their approach.
Read the transcript from our discussion here.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show – please e-mail us or leave a comment below.
This show is 20 minutes long and can be played below on this page or via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed.
Listen to previous episodes here. You can can download this Mp3 file directly from here.
Find more episodes in our podcast index.
Thanks to Persson for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is “Blues walk.”