City-Owned Fiber Networks Are a Terrible Idea
Yet the dream of a city-owned broadband network won’t die. In 2017, bills enabling or encouraging municipal governments to establish their own fiber networks were introduced in a several Southern states, and last year 26 communities in Colorado voted to opt out of a state-level ban on municipal broadband investment. Several of those Colorado towns are now mulling proposals for their own networks. They should take a close look at Monticello’s experience before they take the plunge.
Municipal Fiber in the United States:
An Empirical Assessment of Financial Performance
Christopher S. Yoo and Timothy Pfenninger. “Municipal Fiber in the United States: An Empirical Assessment of Financial Performance” Univ. of Pennsylvania Law School.https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/files/6611-report-municipal-fiber-in-the-united-states
Montana Tourism Bureau video features the Hollenbeck Ranch of Molt, MT
MTA establishes Scholarship Endowment Fund at Montana Tech
3 Rivers continues to expand its fiber network
Wireless Broadband Continues to Serve as Complement for, Rather Than Replacement of, Robust Wireline Networks, Study Finds
Review explores technical capabilities and challenges of 5G networks in meeting consumer demands, rise of connected devices
Arlington, Va. (February 13, 2017)—Wireless technologies like 5G may offer much promise, but they will rely even more deeply upon and serve as a complement to robust wireline broadband technologies rather than a replacement for them, according to a technical report issued today by telecommunications engineering and consulting firm Vantage Point Solutions and filed with the FCC by NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.
The study, “Evaluating 5G Wireless Technology as a Complement or Substitute for Wireline Broadband,” <http://www.ntca.org/images/stories/Documents/Press_Center/2017_Releases/02.13.17%20fcc%20ex%20parte-ntca%20letter%20submitting%202017%20technical%20paper%20wc%2010-90.pdf> reviews wireless technologies’ capability to meet current and future demands of America’s broadband customers. Vantage Point found that although there is much anticipation about possible speeds for 5G wireless networks, a 5G network relies on an extensive and robust wireline network and even then is a poor substitute for a wireline connection in terms of performance, reliability, and investment. The report also contains a checklist of questions that should be asked in evaluating and validating the capabilities of any potential wireless deployment.
Among the report’s key findings are:
Spectrum: 5G networks will require massive amounts of spectrum to accomplish their target speeds. At the very high frequencies proposed for 5G, the RF signal does not propagate far enough to be practical for any wide area coverage, which is particularly important for rural areas.
Access Network Sharing: 5G wireless technologies are not a good solution for the sorts of data-heavy uses and applications that are driving much broadband demand. ·
Economics: When compared to the costs associated with deploying a 5G network, especially in rural areas, fiber-to-the-home is often less expensive (particularly given how much fiber will be needed in any event for 5G) and will have lower operational costs.
Reliability: Wireless technologies are inherently less reliable than wireline, with significantly increased potential for environmental and line-of-sight impairments with the high frequencies used by 5G.
“When considering the most effective and efficient use of public or private resources for broadband networks, it is necessary to understand the current and future user demands on those networks and to determine the type of network needed to meet those demands,” said Larry Thompson, P.E., Vantage Point Solutions’ chief executive officer and the report’s chief author. “Although 5G wireless networks offer the promise of higher speeds than other wireless technologies, one must remember that they are becoming more dependent upon the wireline network and they still fall short when compared to wireline technologies in cost and reliability. For this reason, we continue to believe wireless networks are an important complement to, not a true replacement for, robust wireline networks that will stand the test of time and support consumers’ increased demands for many years to come.” The full text of the white paper is available here <http://www.ntca.org/images/stories/Documents/Press_Center/2017_Releases/02.13.17%20fcc%20ex%20parte-ntca%20letter%20submitting%202017%20technical%20paper%20wc%2010-90.pdf> .
Missoula, Montana, November 19, 2016 – Blackfoot’s Chief
Executive Officer, Bill Squires, passed away from a brief illness Friday, November 18. Bill’s career started with Blackfoot in April
2001, as Sr. Vice President and General Counsel. He was named CEO in January of 2012. Bill’s leadership plus his energy and commitment to Blackfoot’s customers have built Blackfoot into a leading, regional service provider of voice, data, cloud and IT services.Bill was both a visionary and a leader in the telecommunications industry, serving for years as President of the Montana
Telecommunications Association, the US Telecom Association’s Leadership Committee, and the Industry & Policy Committee of NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association. He also had incredible business acumen which served him well on a wide variety of boards, including: Missoula Economic Partnership, Vision Net (Great Falls), Syringa Networks (Boise), Alaska Power and Telephone, and CoBank (Denver). He was a trusted voice with state and federal policy makers and was a passionate advocate for Blackfoot. “We are devastated by this loss,” said Tom Eggensperger, President of Blackfoot’s Board of Trustees. “Bill’s leadership helped Blackfoot grow to its position of prominence and success, and he will be greatly missed.”
Jason Williams, Blackfoot’s Chief Operating Officer, has been named the interim CEO. Williams, who has been with Blackfoot since September 2012, brings 20 years of telecommunications, business and legal experience to this role. “With Jason’s leadership, Blackfoot won’t miss a beat in continuing to provide excellent technology solutions and services to its customers,” Eggensperger said.
About Blackfoot: Blackfoot offers advanced telecommunications and broadband solutions to customers throughout the region. Based in Missoula, Montana, Blackfoot serves homes and businesses in Montana and Eastern Idaho with voice, data, cloud and IT services. For more information visit www.blackfoot.com.
Voice | Data | Cloud | IT Services | Blackfoot.com 1221 North Russell St. | Missoula, MT 59808
Blair Levin has a long record as a cheerleader for faster broadband networks…But his enthusiasm for gigabit networks has cooled a bit in recent years — a situation he calls “highly ironic” given his earlier views.
“There’s nothing magical about a gig,” he said. “The gig has become the marketing nomenclature.”
But more ambitious proposals, like Crawford’s dream of a national, federally subsidized fiber network, don’t seem likely to materialize. “Let’s get real,” several experts told me.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Right now, incremental improvements to existing broadband networks seem to be providing most Americans with plenty of bandwidth for today’s applications.