Earlier this month, twelve towns in central Vermont chose Town Meeting Day to ask local voters whether or not they want to band together to improve connectivity. Each community chose to participate in forming a regional Communications Union District, which will allow them to plan, bond for, and develop regional Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) infrastructure. For episode 298 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, Christopher interviews Jeremy Hansen, local Select Board Member and the person who spearheaded the effort to bring the issue to voters in his region.As Jeremy tells it, he didn’t need to do much convincing when local Vermonters learned about the Communications Union District structure. Most of the people in central Vermont rely on DSL and they overwhelmingly find it inadequate for their needs. The Communications Union District allows several communities to combine their strengths to work toward a single goal. Like water of sewer districts, the entity can issue revenue bonds so the infrastructure is publicly owned, but user funded. ECFiber is organized as a Communications Union District and serves 24 member towns in the eastern part of the state.Christopher and Jeremy talk about how Jeremy researched, heightened awareness, and how when voters understood the pros and cons, their own common sense led them to approve this first step. He describes what’s next and what he’d like to see happen with the Central Vermont Internet initiative.This show is 24 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed.Read the transcript for 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.
Maryland may be home to our nation’s bustling, urban capital, but on the other side of the state are the Appalachians and many rural communities that struggle with poor Internet access. One of those communities is Garrett County. Residents, businesses, and institutions have limped along for years using outdated connections. Some people don’t have any access to the Internet; all that is changing.In episode 275 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, the county’s Natural Resources Business Specialist Cheryl DeBerry and county CIO Nathanial Watkins join Christopher to discuss the initiative that is changing the local connectivity landscape.Cheryl, Nathaniel, and Christopher discuss the project that combines fiber, fixed wireless, and TV white space technologies in order to reach people and businesses across the county. They also talk about how a significant portion of people in the rural community simple can’t afford the high cost of satellite and how mobile Internet access just doesn’t cut it in a rural area like Garrett County. Cheryl describes how the project is an economic development initiative and Nathaniel shares more details about their need to combine technologies and the results.Read the transcript of this show here.We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.This show is 23 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or 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 Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
In the north central region of Utah, eleven communities are now served by a regional open access fiber-optic network operated by the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency or UTOPIA. UTOPIA’s Executive Director, Roger Timmerman, and Mayor Karen Cronin from member community, Perry City, take time to speak with us for Community Broadband [no-glossary]Bits[/no-glossary] episode 223.One of the great advantages UTOPIA has brought the region is the element of competition. Rather than facing a choice of only one or two Internet Service Providers like most of us, people in UTOPIA cities sign up for a connection to the network and then choose from multiple providers who offer a range of services via the infrastructure. Competing for business brings better products, better prices, and better customer service.Since launching in 2004, UTOPIA has faced financial uncertainties created by onerous state laws that force a wholesale model on publicly owned networks. Regardless, Mayor Cronin has seen the network improve connectivity in her community, which has improved the local economy and the quality of life. After working with the network since the early days, Roger sees that UTOPIA’s situation is on the upswing but has witnessed firsthand how those harmful state laws limiting local authority can put a smart investment like UTOPIA in harm’s way.
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 25 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.”