Pinetops, a town of about 1,300 outside Wilson, North Carolina, is suffering a double calamity as Hurricane Matthew has left floods and incredible damage in its wake. Less natural but no less frustrating is the unforced error by the North Carolina Legislature in effectively prohibiting municipal broadband networks.This week, we have a doubleheader interview with Will Aycock, the General Manager of Wilson's fiber-optic Greenlight service, and Suzanne Coker Craig, a local business owner and town council member. They talk discuss the devastation from the hurricane and the threat from the town's only broadband provider being forced to leave town by an ill-conceived state statute.We often talk about how important modern Internet networks are, but the Pinetops reaction to this storm is a stirring reminder of how true that is. Whether it was as the hurricane approached, hit, or left town, local leadership had to continue fighting to retain Wilson's Internet service because it is that important to them.Fortunately, Wilson has announced that it will not cut off Pinetops as expected. Instead, it will offer free service, which is not prohibited by current law. Wilson is generously giving the state six months to fix the law so Pinetops is not economically harmed by losing high quality Internet access.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 28 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.”
The American Cable Association (ACA) represents over 800 small and medium-sized cable companies around the United States, including many municipal cable and fiber-optic networks. This week, we talk with ACA President and CEO Matt Polka about what they do and how small cable companies are vastly different from the big companies like Comcast and Charter.
We spoke after it was clear Charter's merger with Time Warner Cable would be approved, but before this article in Ars Technica effectively missed the point of Matt Polka's objection to the competition requirement in the merger. In our interview, we discuss the larger problem – that the federal government consistently puts its thumb on the scale to benefit the biggest cable companies at the expense of smaller ones. Forcing Charter to compete with Comcast would be a far bigger benefit to communities than having it take over small cable networks.
We wrap up with a discussion about how smaller companies, which includes all municipal networks, are disproportionately impacted by regulations that do not distinguish between the biggest providers (that tend to cause the majority of problems) and the smaller providers (that bear the brunt of regulations designed for reigning in the problems caused by the big carriers).
Read the transcript from this show here.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.
This show is 29 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 Forget the Whale for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is “I Know Where You've Been.”
In Minneapolis, a small and privately owned ISP has been steadily building fiber across the city and developing a stunning reputation for great customer service, low and predictable pricing, and generally being a great company to do business with. Co-founder Travis Carter of US Internet joins us for episode 194 of the Community Broadband [no-glossary]Bits[/no-glossary] podcast.
We discuss their approach to building networks, especially their philosophy around customer service and just how poorly some of US Internet's competitors treat their customers. As a small firm that is carving out its own path in a world of giants, its experiences are important lessons and points of consideration for community networks.
We also discuss how US Internet interacts with local governments. Though the company has high praise for Minneapolis, it discusses where some of the challenges have been in navigating local government zoning and permitting. Travis also offers some advice based on how smart investments and a well-organized approach to leasing fiber have helped US Internet to begin expanding in suburb Saint Louis Park.
USI coverage map is available here. For more information on USI's pricing, see their website for Fiber-to-the-Home and telephone service.
We plan to have Travis back on in the future again, so if you have questions you would like us to ask, please tell us!
Read the transcript from this 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 Kathleen Martin for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is “Player vs. Player.”