(This information was manually converted to html from the original pdf which can be found here. It was created by the SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SETOA).)
THE NC LEGISLATIVE EXPERIMENT HAS FAILED
Although access to affordable, fast broadband connections now determines economic, health, and educational opportunities and even public safety, North Carolina ranks dead last.
According to a June 2013 report issued by the FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, North Carolina ranks dead last – superseded even by Mississippi now- with only 17% of its households subscribing to the level of broadband the FCC deems necessary to engage in modern life.
First the industry asked the NC legislature to be deregulated, and they did, terminating local build-out requirements. Then they asked the legislature to stop municipalities from providing broadband, and so they did. And THIS IS WHAT WE GOT. Worst broadband in the country.
The legislative experiments have failed.
Time to reverse them.
||At least 3/768 Mbps
|District of Columbia
Source: FCC Wireline Competition Bureau, Internet Access Services, June 2013, status as of June 30, 2012; based on Form 477 data provided by industry service providers. Note: PDF source is Internet Access Services: Status as of June 30, 2012, Industry Analysis and Technology Division, Wireline Competition Bureau, May 2013, Table 13 titled Residential Fixed Connections (Approximating the National Broadband Availability Target) and Households by State as of June 30, 2012.
Update: June 24, 2013 – I added a link to the FCC pdf that is the source of the data in the table above. -BrianR
Update #2: Added “(in thousands)” to the Households column to more acuartly reflect FCC document.
Check out this blog post by Fiona Morgan picking apart a “technical report” by the John Locke Foundation.
John Locke Foundationâ€™s tech analysis: Epic fail
Some choice bits:
In a report bashing a city-owned broadband utility, the conservative John Locke Foundation reveals a stunning level of ignorance about technology.
â€œWilsonâ€™s Fiber-Optic Boondoggle,â€ written by research director Michael Sanera and intern Katie Bethune, criticizes Wilson, N.C.â€™s $28 million investment in a fiber-optic network that makes high-speed Internet, cable TV and phone service to every resident and business in the city. The utility project, called Greenlight, is funded by bonds which under the cityâ€™s business plan are expected to be repaid through subscription revenue.
JLF leads with the critique that the technology â€œcould be obsolete before itâ€™s paid for.â€
â€œWiMax wireless Internet technology is rapidly leapfrogging fiber-optic cable technology, making it obsolete.â€
To anyone who actually follows Internet technology, that statement is a howler.
Fiber is far and away the most advanced technology available for connecting to the Internet. It offers effectively unlimited capacity and speed. WiMax is the next generation of wireless technology, reaching further and moving data faster than the WiFi most of us use now â€” but nowhere near as fast as fiber. And every wireless system has to connect up to some kind of backbone. WiMax works best if connected to a fiber network.
People who live, work and visit Carrboro love the free wireless Internet. But the Town of Carrboro’s wireless is a victim of its own success. I’ve heard from a lot of people who have problems with it and wish it worked in their homes. Fact is, the area the wireless signal covers is too small, the connection is unreliable and the bandwidth is too little. Now is the time for the Town of Carrboro to take the next step. I propose the town support the construction of fiber optic Internet connections to buildings within the downtown business district.
The idea of building a fiber optic network in Carrboro isnâ€™t farfetched. Matter of fact, the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NC DOT) and the Town of Chapel Hill are already working on it. The Town of Carrboro and the Town of Chapel Hill share an old copper-wire traffic-signal system. Last year, the Town of Chapel Hill budgeted $50,000 toward a joint investment with NC DOT to replace this old signal system with fiber optics. One strand is planned for traffic signals and another is for the townâ€™s use. Little has been publicly discussed about this project, which is slated for completion in 2012.
The small size of Carrboro’s downtown makes the cost of extending the network practical â€“ primarily because the distances from traffic signals to local businesses are short. Right now, the Town of Carrboro rents the signal system from the Town of Chapel Hill. If Carrboro isn’t a full partner in this resource, they may not have the power to build our future access. Supposedly, the NC DOT is trying to squeeze the Town of Chapel Hill for more money to build a fiber loop. Now is a good time for Carrboro to put in.
There’s already a large customer base for high-speed Internet service in Carrboro. We have five planned new construction projects, including a mixed-use hotel, office and retail space. Public safety organizations like rescue, fire and police also could use the bandwidth, not to mention other creative and talented people. Fiber optic Internet can provide reliable upload and download speeds in excess of 100 Mbps. We can do a lot with that!
Diversifying our community’s tax base to relieve stress on property tax has been a goal for years. One way to do that is by enticing new businesses to move here and convincing existing ones to stay. A major bit of bait can be fiber-speed bandwidth for data and voice. Now is the time to invest in building the last mile of high-speed infrastructure in Carrboro. Not later, after the recession has killed development projects. Not after the Town of Chapel Hill gets around to doing something, but now on the cusp of major national infrastructure projects promised by our new president-elect.
Brian Russell is founder of Orange Networking, orangenetworking.org
(The above is an article I wrote for the Carrboro Citizen.)