What’s going on with Broadband?

By February 11, 2015tech
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We can’t wait for the day when the Hive lives on THIS Ave.

Updates from the Frontlines
with DMEA Board Member and Broadband Warrior, John Gavan 

February 2, 2015

Dear Broadband enthusiasts,

This past week has been a very productive one for us in terms of bringing better broadband to rural Delta County.  Several local and national developments occurred that I’d like to summarize to bring you up to date on these exciting developments:

1)      First, a board resolution was passed at the last DMEA board meeting tasking DMEA staff to create a business plan for the offering of middle mile and last mile services to members in the DMEA operating area.   This will be analyzed as a potential progression of projects that will include extending fiber-optic connectivity to our Community Anchor Institutions (CAI’s).  CAI’s include schools, libraries, local government offices, police, fire, ambulance and hospitals as well as further development of fiber to business and homes.  Here is a link to a KVNF newscast that featured DMEA’s member services manager describing the effort:  http://kvnf.org/programs/kvnf-regional-newscast.  Coverage in the Western Slope Watchdog can be viewed at: http://westernslopewatchdog.com/2015/01/dmea-board-approves-broadband-planning/

2)      Next, last week the FCC increased its definition if broadband from 4 Mbps down/1Mbps up to 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up.  This is a very significant change and in one fell swoop has changed Delta County from being in an “underserved” category to an “unserved” category.  This change has the potential to make Delta County eligible for a significant amount of grand funding from bother Federal and State sources.  Here is a link to an excellent summary of this action: https://gigaom.com/2015/01/29/bam-the-fcc-just-defined-broadband-as-25-mbps-down-and-4-mbps-up/

3)      On Wednesday of last week, the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) announced a new $ 20M grant program for planning and construction of middle-mile networks in areas designated for assistance under the Energy Impact Assistance (EIA) program.  Delta and Gunnison Counties are EIA eligible. I anticipate that Delta County and or Region 10 will apply for this grant and if awarded, it could offset some of DMEA’s middle mile construction costs.  You can read more about this grant opportunity at:  https://files.ctctcdn.com/f8865b5b001/a224fc68-0a46-44c8-beec-dd0ea25758fc.pdf

4)      Today the FCC announced that they are looking at actions that will strike down protective State legislation that prevents municipalities from buildingbroadband networks when private enterprise fails to do so.  Colorado is burdened in this way by SB-152 which requires that this question be put to a vote of the people before municipal projects can move forward.  In 2014 nine cities across Colorado “opted out” of the SB-152 restriction.  Here’s a link to more information about the FCC’s thinking on this issue:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/02/02/the-fcc-is-moving-to-preempt-state-broadband-limits/?hpid=z16

All in all, these developments are very encouraging and I am hopeful that at last we are heading in a positive direction.  There is much more to come and I’ll keep you posted as things progress.

Best regards,

John Gavan

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