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.
We're continuing the interviews Christopher conducted while at the November Broadband Communities Economic Development Conference in Atlanta; this week, he's talking with Stephen Barraclough, General Manager for Burlington Telecom (BT) in Vermont. Stephen has worked diligently to reinvigorate and preserve the publicly owned network that, regardless of troubles, has been popular with subscribers.Christopher and Stephen had their conversation prior to the November 27th Burlington City Council meeting when Councilors voted to sell the asset to Schurz Communications and ZRF Partners. The vote came after a long and arduous process that dragged on the community. Details of the agreement were still being negotiated when we published this podcast. Read more about the history of BT here.Stephen and Christopher talk about what it was like when Stephen took the helm of the network. At the time, there were financial difficulties caused by a prior Mayor’s administration, but the community had come to rely on the fiber optic network and wanted to do what they could to preserve it.Stephen describes the problems he faced and how they went about restoring the network step by step. He notes that saving BT was a team effort that involved industry colleagues, employees at BT, the city’s leadership, and the community as a whole. Central to their rebirth was self-reflection as an organization and taking control to set themselves apart from the competition. Christopher and Stephen also talk about other issues, such as BT’s low-income program, customer service, and the effort to retain a public interest philosophy under the expectation of privatization. Stephen sees only opportunity for BT and its subscribers as the community moves forward.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.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.
We’ve been covering the East-Central Vermont Community Fiber-Optic Network (ECFiber) since 2009; it has come a long way from inception. ECFiber is a group of rural Vermont towns that are working together to deploy a regional network to offer high-quality Internet access to communities typically stuck with slow, unreliable connections such as DSL and dial-up. In this episode, Christopher talks with Carole Monroe, CEO of ValleyNet, and Irv Thomae, District Chairmen of ECFiber’s Governing Board. The not-for-profit ValleyNet operates the ECFiber network.The organization has faced ups and downs and always seemed to overcome challenges. It began with funding from individual local investors who recognized the need to bring Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) to the region. Now, the organization is characterized as a “communications union district,” which creates greater funding flexibility and stability.In this interview, Carole and Irv talk about the new designation and the plans for bringing the network to the communities that are clamoring for better Internet access. They also get into recent developments surrounding overbuilding by DSL provider FairPoint, a project funded by CAF II subsidies. We hear how ECFiber is bringing better connectivity to local schools and helping save public dollars at the same time and we find out more about the ways Vermonters in the eastern rural communities are using their publicly owned network.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 29 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.
Carole Monroe is back on Community Broadband [no-glossary]Bits[/no-glossary] for Episode 177 this week, to discuss the East Central Vermont Fiber network and its unique financing model. Carole is now the General Manager for EC Fiber. She previously joined us for episode 36 to discuss FastRoads in New Hampshire. And we previously discussed EC Fiber with Leslie Nulty in episode 9. Years later, EC Fiber is approaching 1,200 subscribers in rural Vermont and is growing much more rapidly with some open access dark fiber connections created by the state in a specific effort to enable last mile connectivity. We discuss the impact on the community, how much people in rural regions desire high quality Internet access rather than slow DSL, and also a brief mention of some progress in New Hampshire to expand the Fast Roads network. Read the transcript from this episode here. We want your feedback and suggestions for the show – please e-mail us or leave a comment below. This show is 21 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 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, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is “Warm Duck Shuffle.”
The ninth episode of the Community Broadband [no-glossary]Bits[/no-glossary] podcast features Leslie Nulty, from the East Central Vermont Fiber Optic Network, commonly called ECFiber. ECFiber is using a unique financing arrangement, wherein debt is sold to those in the community as the network slowly expands. They have already raised over $1 million dollars and are providing services in three towns.
The network is ultimately owned by the 23 towns that joined together to form the initiative. Leslie explains the history behind the network, the financing approach, and some lessons for others who want to duplicate it.
Leslie has also just appeared on Gigabit Nation along with her husband, Tim Nulty, to discuss their approach.
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 25 minutes long and can be played below on this page or subscribe via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed. Search for us in iTunes and leave a positive comment!
Listen to previous episodes here. You can download the Mp3 file directly from here.
Read the transcript of this episode here.
Find more episodes in our podcast index.
Thanks to Fit and the Conniptions for the music, licensed using Creative Commons.