Don Albrecht is the Director of the Western Rural Development Center at Utah State University.
The recently published report titled Rural Broadband Availability and Adoption: Evidence, Policy Challenges, and Options, shows that while broadband, or high speed Internet access, has become an integral part of everyday life in the majority of American households and the persistence of a rural-urban “digital divide” has prompted concerns that rural areas are falling further behind urban areas by failing to fully attain the numerous benefits resulting from broadband use.
The Utah Broadband Project is excited to announce that it will be launching a Regional Broadband Planning Council initiative in the next few months. In partnership with Utah’s Associations of Governments (AOGs), the Regional Broadband Planning Councils will be organized within the seven AOG regions to address broadband planning on a local level. Community participation will be vital to the success of this effort.
The Utah Broadband Project is working together with Utah Associations of Governments (AOGs) to address broadband planning issues on a regional level. Beginning in Spring 2013, the Project will convene planning councils on a regional basis to carry out this initiative. In light of this initiative, the Mapping Team ran an analysis on broadband service availability in each AOG. Continue reading →
If approved, all Provo residents would have access to free Internet and Gigabit speeds
Photo credit: JAMES ROH/Daily Herald
PROVO – Mayor John Curtis today announced an agreement to make Provo just the third City in the United States to have access to Google Fiber’s ultra high-speed Gigabit Internet, and one of the first cities in the world to have ubiquitous Internet connectivity in nearly every home. Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to approval by the Provo City Council and other closing conditions, Google Fiber would purchase the city’s existing fiber-optic network. The city created the existing network, named iProvo, in 2004. “Provo City’s vision has long been one where our residents have access to reliable high-speed broadband Internet. We know that communities are better – and communities are stronger – when people are connected,” Curtis said. “With this agreement, we have an opportunity to do things that few communities in this country get to do.” Continue reading →
The Utah Broadband Project works with 53 broadband providers in Utah twice a year to update Utah’s broadband mapping dataset. On April 1, 2013, the Utah Broadband Project submitted the latest broadband mapping dataset to the NTIA. Twenty eight providers updated their service coverage for the April 1 data submission. Many providers increased advertised speeds and/or coverage areas. For a complete list of providers with updates this round, check out the Utah Broadband Map Update Log.
The Utah Broadband Project will be hosting an informational booth at the Utah League of Cities and Towns Midyear Conference this week in St. George, Utah.The conference will be held April 10-12 and the booth will be on display Thursday from 7 am – 3 pm and Friday from 7 am -11 am. The booth will be an interactive exhibit featuring the newly launched project website and interactive map.
PBS NewsHour recently aired a three-part series on broadband access in America. The series focused on how broadband access is impacting economic development, education, and entertainment.
The first part in the series, “Streaming Video Goes From Media ‘Stepping Stone’ to Major Player,” explores how broadband access has changed the way consumers view media content. Traditional media networks now compete with streaming content providers like Netflix and Amazon to capture viewers’ attention.
On April 16-18 2013, Broadband Communities Magazine will host their annual summit in Dallas, Texas. The Summit attracts broadband system operators, network builders and deployers of all kinds. Many independent telcos and cable companies, municipal and state officials, community leaders and economic development professionals. There were more than 950 registrants in 2012, and 1,000+ are expected for 2013.
The 2013 Summit program will feature more than 45 sessions and 125 presenters, including prominent keynoters. This year’s program is focused into several tracks: Economic Development, Leveraging Assets for Broadband, Multifamily/Commercial Building, Revenue Opportunities and Rural Broadband. For the fourth year, the Rural Telecommunications Congress will colocate its annual event, Rural TeleCon, with the Summit and host the Rural Broadband Track. This track will feature sessions on: Public Safety Broadband/FirstNet, Impact of State Broadband Planning, Using Technology to Enhance Collaboration and How to Spur Investment. Continue reading →
Last week, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee held an oversight hearing of the FCC and discussed a number of communications and technology related issues with the Commissioners. Of note, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator John D. Rockefeller (WV) said that the E-Rate program, authorized through the 1996 Telecommunications Act, has fundamentally changed the way schools and libraries are connected. The Chairman said that more than 92% of classrooms now have Internet access.
We have seen even greater numbers in Utah, where most E-Rate funded school connections are provided through the work of the Utah Education Network. A majority of Utah schools are equipped with at least a 100 Mbps connection and many with 1 Gbps.
Although these are impressive statistics, more needs to be done. As Chairman Rockefeller explained, basic Internet access will not suffice to serve the future, data-driven needs of education today or tomorrow. He then called for an update of the E-Rate program and set a goal for every school to have a 1 Gbps connection by then end of this decade. Continue reading →