The panel first gives an update on the upcoming Emergency Broadband Benefit and how cities and small ISPs can plan for a successful deployment. They then discuss the upcoming infrastructure funding, including what to consider when putting together a plan, how to use the funds effectively, balancing the needs of today with a long-term plan, and how to avoid getting taken advantage of by bad actors.
On Episode 9 of Connect This!, hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by Kim McKinley (Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (President, CCG Consulting) to talk about the recently signed American Rescue Plan Act, which has the potential to funnel an unprecedented level of funding to communities which can be used for Internet infrastructure.
The group talks about the different buckets of money that will become available and how cities, counties, and states might use them. They discuss the ways that communities can use the federal funds to reduce risk for local projects and push them forward, create partnerships with public organizations and private firms, and what local officials need to do to ensure that they are ready when the money starts flowing to effect long-term positive change.
One component of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a $3.2 billion program designed to get families connected to available service that they otherwise might not be able to afford. The program provides a subsidy of up to $50/month for service (or $75 for tribal lands) as well as up to $100 for a device (with a household contribution) for as long as the money lasts.
On Episode 8 of Connect This!, hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by Angela Siefer (National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Olivia Wein (National Consumer Law Center) to talk about how it will work and what their expectations are, including who will be able to take advantage of the program and what problems there might be for both the people who need it and the small ISPs that would like to participate.
During the course of the discussion the panel talks about: eligibility requirements; the challenge of standing up a program quickly and making it available to the widest number of people possible; USI Fiber’s experience so far in becoming an eligibile provider; the device benefit available, and how providers can forge partnerships with groups like PCs for People to get hardware into homes; the need for digital navigators to help guide community members navigate the process of getting and staying online; and the long-term prospects for renewal of the program.
Mentioned during the episode was a recent study by Professor Lloyd Levine from the School of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside, California, on outreach programs (paywall).
This episode, co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet) are joined by Deb Socia (President/CEO, The Enterprise Center), and Brian Worthen (President, Visionary Communications and CEO, Mammoth Networks) to talk about overbuilding.
The group talks about the importance of reclaiming the term as what it really is: plain old competition. They discuss the economics of building competitive broadband infrastructure in rural and urban areas, pending and related Washington Public Utility District legislation, and why we don’t see more small, competitive fiber builders around the country.
We also get the first installment of a recurring segment during the episode, wherein Christopher asks Travis to identify a picture of random piece of wireless infrastructure from the area around his house.
Referenced during the discussion was Benton Institute for Broadband and Society Senior Fellow John Sallet’s recent paper “Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s.”
This week on Connect This! Christopher and Travis Carter (CEO, USI Fiber) are joined by Kim McKinley (Deputy Director and Chief Marketing Officer, UTOPIA Fiber) and Kyle Hollifield (VP of Business Development, Magellan Advisors), both veterans with years of experience.
Marketing means more that a logo with a snappy slogan, and it can be hard to quantify the value in taking precious dollars and applying them to tasks other than fiber in the ground and the supporting electronics.
The group emphasizes how important it is to get right from the start, and the impact it can have on take rates, positive word-of-mouth, and a sense of goodwill. They discuss why marketing should be both a budget priority and a central part of any business plan, and what it means for everyone from installation subcontractors to CEO to play a role. Travis, Kyle, and Kim share some of their favorite marketing success stories.
The group talks about what a Biden administration might do, whether we’ll see federal legislation to overturn restrictive state laws which prohibit municipal broadband, and the prospective future of the Accessible, Affordable, Internet for All Act which passed the House in June and currently sits stalled in the Senate.
On Episode 4 of Connect This! Christopher is joined by Jeff Christensen (President, EntryPoint Networks), Dane Jasper (CEO and Co-Founder, Sonic), and Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet) to talk about open access models, and the challenges and opportunities they present. During the discussion they discuss barriers to entry, differentiation, dark fiber, and why we don’t see more cities pursuing projects like this. They also have a little fun sharing what they think the FCC has gotten right and wrong over the last 4 years, and what Comcast’s recent announcement about bandwidth caps will mean for users and competing Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Mentioned during the episode was Chris’ conversation with NetEquity Networks’ Isfandiyar Shaheen and Althea Networks’ Deborah Simpier about innovating financing models for expanding fiber networks.
Host Christopher Mitchell speaks with Mason Carroll (Monkeybrains), Deborah Simpier (Althea Networks), and Travis Carter (US Internet) about urban wireless solutions, including 5G, Citizens Broadband Radio Service, and how cities can help WISPS.
Host Christopher Mitchell speaks with Doug Dawson of CCG Consulting, Monica Webb of Ting, and Travis Carter of US Internet. Their conversation touches on LEO, Voting, Future of Cable, and Challenges for Small FISPs.