Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Does Your Netflix Work Yet?

Frank Ohrtman got it right with the title of his very helpful book I'll Vote for You If You Make My Netflix Work. Netflix now publishes monthly rankings of major ISPs based on their actual performance across all Netflix streams.
You will note, the rankings are:
  1. Fiber to the home
  2. Cable Internet
  3. DSL
  4. Mobile/wireless services.
Fiber to the home isn't an easy problem to solve in rural Colorado but it is certainly one of the tools in the suite of solutions being considered. Fiber to the home does not take significantly more resources than rural electrification and we have significantly better construction methodologies than we did in 1936.
  • "At the time the Rural Electrification Act was passed, electricity was commonplace in cities but largely unavailable in farms, ranches, and other rural places."
    Doesn't that sound familiar?
  • "In the 1930s, the provision of power to remote areas was not thought to be economically feasible."
    Doesn't that sound familiar?
  • "REA crews travelled through the American countryside, bringing teams of electricians along with them. The electricians added wiring to houses and barns to utilize the newly available power provided by the line crews."
    One of the failings of most projects being executed by the stimulus broadband initiatives is the failure to provide the means for the common household to take advantage of new broadband service availability. The focus is too highly on middle mile; last mile and on premises use are not well balanced.
  • "At most, one outlet was installed per room, since plug-connected appliances were expensive and uncommon."
    A common argument I hear from the incumbents who have failed to provide real broadband to most of America and in particular to rural broadband is that they will provide service when demand exists for the service. They say the "build it and they will come" model never works. To that I say, "Except for when it does."
Municipalities, counties, regional governments, the federal government, and others need to step up to the plate and facilitate the deployment of true broadband to all Americans.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Central Colorado Telecom virtual ribbon cutting

Yesterday I attended a "virtual ribbon cutting" (it takes a snow cat to reach the actual tower and the wind chill factor as about zero degrees) for Central Colorado Telecom, the Chaffee County version of Crestone Telecom, LLC at the annual Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation awards banquet. The event was hosted by Mt Princeton Hot Springs Resort which has suffered from pathetic internet and cellular services.

What is significant about this event is that Crestone Telecom has been in operation for about 9 months and is almost cash flow positive. Through multiple invitations (and local investors plus a loan from the community bank) from anchors in Chaffee County (just north of Crestone over Poncha Pass), Crestone Telecom launched Central Colorado Telecom and has now completed microwave backhaul of one Gbps + into the county reaching anchors such as Monarch Ski Resort, mt Princeton hot Springs, Heart of the Rockies Medical Center, towns of Salida and Buena Vista.

Community leaders gave praise to founder Ralph Abrams for taking the initiative.

Whats the significance?  Just another example of successful implementation of the 3-part mantra: a) the best solutions are local b) no one size fits all and c) it does NOT cost $ millions to bring broadband to even the most remote communities. The Local Broadband Planning Team initiated by the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation followed the 5 A's:
1. Aggregate experience: they got the right people on the team at EDC
2. Assess broadband environment: took many speed tests and inventoried service providers and infrastructure
3. Assess and aggregate demand: got community anchors on board to give their their business to alternative service provider if that provider would come to the county
4. Adopt existing resources and solutions: used existing towers to bring microwave middle mile tot he county; distribution through some new towers with support from local citizens in donating land for tower space
5. Adapt for sustainability

this model is no hard to replicate. See other examples at http://www.illvoteforyou ifyou make my netflixwork.org

Friday, December 7, 2012

$100 million EagleNet grant suspended


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Western Colorado needs fiber optic investment to fill in the gaps.  SECOM is
wrapping up a lit-services deal with NTIA that will conservatively save EagleNet $10
million by avoiding further overbuilding.  Senator's Udall & Bennet need to hear
this savings should be re-deployed to Western Colorado to support our regional

Please direct correspondence to:

Monisha Merchant  (Bennet)     monisha_merchant@bennet.senate.gov

Erin Minks  (Udall)                        erin_minks@markudall.senate.gov

And Cc:

Larry Strickling (NTIA)                        lstrickling@ntia.doc.gov      

Laura Dodson (NTIA)                        ldodson@ntia.doc.gov