Before the days when Comcast, AT&T, and CenturyLink were some of only a few ISPs for subscribers to choose from, much of the country received Internet access from small Internet access companies. In episode 297 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, Christopher talks with one of the pioneers in bringing the Internet to everyday folks, Gary Evans. Gary is retired now, but he spent many years developing a company that is now known as Hiawatha Broadband Communications, or HBC.HBC began more than 20 years ago in Winona, Minnesota, in the southeastern area of the state. The company evolved from an initiative to bring better connectivity to the community’s educational institutions. Since then, it has expanded, spurred local economic development, and helped drive other benefits. During its growth, HBC has always strived to work for the community. Gary and Christopher reminisce about the beginnings of HBC, the challenges the company faced, and how they overcame those challenges. They also discuss some of the interesting partnerships that helped HBC continue to grow and that Gary and other HBC leaders used to develop the company’s culture. Gary’s been in the business a long time, and he has some great stories to tell, so we decided to make this an extended episode that runs a little over an hour.For our second conversation with Gary, listen to episode 302 of the podcst.You can play the show on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed.Read the transcript of this show here.You can download this mp3 file directly from here. Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.Check out this short video from HBC’s founders:Image of the Winona bluffs courtesy of Kirs10 at English Wikipedia [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons.
When we last spoke to people from Lincoln, Nebraska, about their innovative conduit program to improve Internet access, we focused on how they had done it – Conduits Lead to Competition, podcast 182. For this week and episode 228 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, we focus more on the community benefits their approach has led to.We are once again joined by David Young, Fiber Infrastructure and Right of Way Manager in the Public Works Department. We offer a shorter background about the history of the project before focusing on the franchise they developed with local ISP Allo. Allo is building citywide Fiber-to-the-Home and has agreed to provision 15 VLANs at every endpoint. We talk about what that means and implications for schools specifically.We also touch on permitting issues for local governments and David explains his philosophy on how to speak to the community about potential projects in an engaging manner.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 30 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.”
This week's podcast features an interview with Education SuperHighway CEO Evan Marwell to discuss how we can make sure all schools have the Internet access they need to succeed. Education SuperHighway has a plan for connecting all schools with a fiber connection while also decreasing the need for long term federal funding of school connectivity.
We talk about how this can be achieved, as well as the role local ownership can play in ensuring schools get the connectivity they need today and tomorrow without exploding their telecommunications budgets.
This is an important discussion as the FCC is taking comments on how the E-Rate program should be reformed. This is a handy PDF explaining how to submit comments to the FCC on this matter. Education SuperHighway has made a convincing case for its approach and we would encourage any comments that reinforce a preference for local, publicly owned networks as a smart solution.
Read the transcript for our discussion here.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show – please e-mail us or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to suggest other guests, topics, or questions you want us to address.
This show is 17 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 Mudhoney for the music, licensed using Creative Commons.