The answer to resolving Vermont's digital divide? Make all electric utilities deploy fiber.
That's the solution that Democratic candidate Christine Hallquist, former CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative before resigning this year to run for governor, has suggested and plans to promote if elected, according to a recent article in the Burlington Free Press. (A review of Vermont Electric's 2018 plan or general website could find no sign of broadband services.)
Vermont taxpayers would not, however, reimburse the utilities. Power companies, which would be legally prevented from selling to consumers, could only wholesale their Internet connectivity to service providers, Hallquist told the Vermont newspaper.
"I think the electric utility providers are going to want to do it anyway," she told the Free Press. "So we'll make it a requirement, but youíre not going to get resistance from the electric utilities."
When four executives from electric coops presented a panel discussion during ADTRAN Connect, it was one of the most heartfelt press conferences I've ever attended. It definitely was one of the few times I've grown emotional hearing a conversation about broadband. Nobody in the room was unaffected. Everybody knew these gentlemen sincerely care about their members, their coops and bringing Internet connectivity to everybody in their footprint.
These executives also know they have a responsibility to their members to stay in business in order to continue providing power to these rural customers who otherwise will, most likely, be left alone for way longer than it otherwise would take.
It costs about $21,000 per mile to lay fiber in rural America, according to a June 2018 study conducted by Ericsson and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). How many miles is each utility expected to cover with fiber before it gets contracts with local cable operators, ISPs or telcos?
The intention is great: Most of us want high-speed broadband for all. But let's slow our roll and not demand that small utilities expend untold resources bringing a perhaps undesired service -- all at their own expense -- unless it's part of their business plan. It makes sense for many utilities. But not, necessarily, for all. And the governor is not the one who makes that decision.
The number and power of Britain's so-called altnets is growing, increasing access to fiber-based gigabit broadband for residents and businesses where incumbents such as BT, Virgin and Openreach did not deliver.
After NTIA asked for public comments on map improvements in October 2018, the FCC decommissioned the agency's broadband map in early December but did not say whether it will use any of the public's great ideas on its own (largely panned) map.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.
Wi-Fi is the foundation of the connected home for consumers; yet, itís often a source of frustration. With the imminent release of the new Wi-Fi 6 standard Ė combined with a strong Managed Wi-Fi offer Ė service providers can reverse subscriber frustration while tapping into new revenue streams.
Key topics include:
Whatís different about Wi-Fi 6 and why it matters to your subscribers
The importance of offering Managed Wi-Fi and its connection to Wi-Fi 6
How you can elevate your brand and gain a strong foothold in the home network.