Saturday, May 20, 2006

Georgia subsidizes Public Broadband

As municipalities in Louisiana fight to merely be allowed to build free wireless networks other states "get it" and are actually encouraging municipalities to get into the provision of wireless and other broadband networks. According to an AP story:
Georgia communities interested in establishing wireless, broadband networks can apply for state funding to help.
and
Separately, a state program is providing $5 million to rural communities seeking to establish any kind of broadband networks.
Now be aware that both Cox and BellSouth are headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Apparently the state of Georgia doesn't think that private corporations alone are going to be sufficient to meet the needs of the people.

During her election campaign Governor Blanco promised to bring broadband to the whole state--but all we got was an industry-dominated broadband commission that, no surprise, has not been able to find much to do. If she really intends to do something she'll have to stand up to the industry as Georgia's Governor Perdue has apparently done. As a start she could back repealing laws that prevent local people from building their own networks using their own resources.

Georgia is actually doing something other than waiting around for others to act; we ought to do the same

References:
Georgia grants for wireless communities
Georgia grants for all broadband

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a great article to support why Lafayette should go to an open wireless system. LCG now says they can build wireless braodband for some 5 to 7 million, rather than 125 million fth. Who would choose FTH over wireless for internet connectivity?

"Broadband is the new dial tone for the 21st century," Perdue said Friday. With a wireless, broadband network, multiple computer users can get a high-speed Internet connection without plugging their computers into a telephone line or cable.

"Is the government facilitating the creation of a new monopoly?
No. The promotion of competition among service providers is one of the program’s critical features. The network’s owner/operator will be required to sell network capacity to other service providers at a fair wholesale price. Access to publicly owned rights of way, buildings, communication towers, street lights, traffic signals and other infrastructure must be granted to all service providers."

Governmnent builds the infrastructure and opens it up to all competitiors.

Good article. Thanks John

Tim

John said...

Mr. Supple,

I think we draw different lessons from the same material. :-)

My point is that even in Georgia, home to both the major telecoms that are currently blocking Lafayette and New Orleans from pursuing plans they think best for their citizens, --even in Georgia the state understands that you simply cannot count on private enterprise to provide for equitable access for all citizens.

So the state is willing to subsidize it. If, in return for such subsidy, the state wants to set conditions, ok. Or a community could go their own way without subsidy. In any event the local government is allowed to sell retail services. (This is not a structurally separated system...)

ALL of this is a big improvement over the antediluvian attitude our legislature has taken.

As to who would choose FTTH over wireless...why lots of people, me included. Given a choice I'd choose fiber each and every time.

The smart move is fiber FIRST. Using the big backhaul that passes down every street a really capable wireless system could be piggy-backed onto the fiber net, not have to build its own expensive backhaul 'cause it could tap into the more-than-capable backbone provided by ubiquitous fiber.

Then you could have reliably ubiquitous outdoor wireless--much easier and cheaper to do than adding a set of indoor requirements--let each household provide its indoor wifi if it wants, drawing off its own LUS connect.

You'd minimize duplicate infrastructure and minimize the specs necessary to serve the community--saving money all around.

In the end you'd end up with a much more capable wifi system--probably an order of magnitude faster.

Plus you'd have provided competition in the phone and cable arenas, saving the community real costs where their big costs are. And keeping that money from being drained out of the community. Wireless could never provide the capacity to do any thing beyond today's email and surfing unless fiber went first down the streets. We need to be looking to the future.

Lafayette and LUS made the smart choice.

I wish Louisiana would follow the lead of places like Georgia and get smart about allowing communities to be smart with actual help instead of active interference from the state.

Shad Price said...

It's an issue of futureproofing too. Why not build fiber out and take it all the way to the home and provide the backbone for the MOST ROBUST network that you can.

It would serve three main purposes:
-More choice
-Better/More scalability down the line
-Better flexability

I like the idea of a wireless alternative a lot and I think it's a great added benefit that Lafayette can have that would serve the city well in many different capacities. It's just not a technology that I personally feel is the best option for true broadband service from a speed and technology standpoint.

Fiber is proven, dropping in cost, and can provide the scalability needed to keep up with the services of the future from a speed standpoint.

Wireless is here to stay and a viable service, but the backbone of Wireless should be Fiber-based if it is to continue to be a viable option.

Do it right the first time and save money in the long run because there would be no need for any more physical fiber or equipment deployment because it's already been done. You then worry about new construction and repair of existing systems only. The speed can be increased as needed without additional cost.

At the end of the day - it costs less and you receive your return on investments in spades. :)

Really hope it happens the right way. This could be a real benefit or it could be a huge burden dependant on how this plays out.

john said...

try www.camvera.com

John said...

For the record:

The "john" who recommended Camvera in the previous comment is not the "john" who runs this blog. The post comes close to getting erased as commercial spam but because it is a link to something with at least some relation to the post and I'm in a fair mood this morning I'm going to leave it.

:-)