Ammon, Idaho can show Dublin how it’s done

As Dublin thinks about how it can build and/or encourage a next-generation small business and residential broadband service, we should consider what’s been happening in a small town out west, as reported in the attached 20-minute video.

Ammon, Idaho has built out a municipal broadband platform the carriers refused to build, claiming it was unprofitable. Instead, the city built their own fiber network initially for safety, security, and other community services, but then expanded, bringing businesses and carriers to the table once the fiber build-out was mostly in place.

Financially, technically, and culturally it made a huge difference. In fact, Ammon is now growing faster than their neighboring city, which lacks fiber broadband. And fiscal conservatives (which are the vast majority of voters in rural western towns like Ammon) have supported the moves for economic growth reasons and because carriers can still participate in providing services to business and residential customers.

In fact, carriers now have faster access to customers at lower cost and compete on services and price. As noted in the video piece, having the city build out broadband for carrier access is similar to having the city build out roads for use by FedEx, UPS, and other package carriers.

Be sure to watch the video. What if this were Dublin? What if DubLink were just the beginning and the next wave is to follow the Ammon model? What if customers could switch carriers at any time? What if high speeds were based on municipal fiber? What if broadband access and performance were no longer an issue for any home in the City?

For additional information:

Broadband links 2016-06-26

news-icon-2Here are the latest broadband-related stories from around the web, with a little contextual commentary. Links are posted regularly to our Twitter account (@DublinBroadband) if you’d like a real-time feed.

Broadband News 2016-05-12

Periodically we’ll share top news stories on broadband Internet topics from around the Internet. Have a story to recommend? Share it in the comments, tweet it to us, or contact us.

Internet outages and early termination fees: Frontier customers get shafted // ARS TECHNICA
Florida’s Attorney General has issued formal requests for concessions from Frontier Communications for customers across the state following tremendous problems after Frontier took over big parts of Verizon’s copper and fiber infrastructure. The AG is seeking refunds and major service repairs at all levels of technical and customer service.

fccConsumer groups press FCC on privacy regulations covering broadband Internet // POLIMEDIA
A coalition of a dozen consumer advocacy and privacy groups are demanding congressional and regulatory action to protect consumers against the asymmetric power broadband providers have over consumer privacy (or lack thereof). The formal letter included: “Consumers can choose to subscribe to a website or online service, but if they are to remain connected to jobs, health care, education, and the global economy, consumers have no choice but to use a [broadband] service. If consumers cannot trust their broadband provider to protect their content and personal information, the result could be an erosion of consumer privacy and chilling of online speech.”

Cable lobby group: Broadband competition is bad for customers // ARS TECHNICA
A lobbying group paid by smaller cable carriers is pressing the FCC for relief from recent demands for a more competitive broadband landscape. The new competition requirements were aimed at Charter and were included in the conditions for the Charter / Time Warner Cable merger approval. Basically, Charter is required to build services in some areas already served by competing broadband carriers, thereby generating more competition for customers by forcibly opening up some markets. The smaller carriers are most upset by these requirements because, as stated by one of the Republican commissioners at the FCC: “[U]nless Charter chooses to exclusively overbuild areas served by Comcast, which I find highly unlikely, Charter’s increased broadband market share will come at the expense of smaller competitors.”

google-fiberGoogle Fiber is just getting warmed up // BGR
In this case BGR summarized a much larger feature report by re/code (Google Fiber is the most audacious part of the whole Alphabet) in which it’s revealed that the Google Fiber division of Alphabet has some big wireless Internet plans coming, mostly because they’ve run into such big problems deploying fiber. Fiber has lots of regulatory, political, and physical costs and makes deployment very slow. So Google is experimenting with new wireless technologies, including some 28GHz frequency systems. Those frequencies are far higher than typical 4G / LTE systems, so their range is much more limited, but their throughput can be much higher. Google’s strategy, according to BGR: “Google’s core services rely on people having fast, reliable service. It rightly sees that incumbent ISPs have for years failed to do that and is taking matters into its own hands.”

starryThis guy has an idea to deliver cheap, super-fast internet to your home // TECH INSIDER / BUSINESS INSIDER
One of the key concepts of the next wave of broadband deployment is that wireless may be a faster/better way to reach more customers, boost competition, and reduce costs of mass deployment. In this case, it’s a millimeter wave wireless technology being developed by a startup company called Starry. It requires new gear in the home (that has to sit outside the walls of your home), but they hope to “…offer two tiers of speeds for customers, with the entry-level plan delivering about 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds. The top-tier plan could deliver speeds up to a gigabit per second.” But don’t get excited yet — the signals may require line-of-sight and may only reach perhaps 200 meters from the source tower. Real-world testing starts this summer in Boston.

Consumer Internet carriers scored poorly in 2014. And again in 2015.

Ouch. Things haven’t gotten much better for Internet carriers in the customer satisfaction department. After a horrible 2014 survey showing, 2015 wasn’t much better (PDF) and there may be no relief in sight as Charter just got approval to gobble up Time Warner Cable.

TechRepublic has the survey news here:

New report shows most people still hate their broadband provider, opens door for new disruptors

Presuming the City of Dublin follows through on recent proposals (which we fully expect), a survey specifically for Dublin residents may be coming soon, some of which will involve resident satisfaction, and we hope you’ll help us provide input when the time comes.

How would you like a top speed of 4 Mbps?

There was a nice piece in Ars Technica this week discussing some federal, um… disagreements on what constitutes broadband when it comes to taxpayer-funded connectivity initiatives, especially in rural areas where the USDA is making grants. Would you be happy with 4 Mbps?

Not really “broadband” — US grant program has 4Mbps speed standard

The article also notes that different federal agencies have different “broadband” definitions, including the FCC which only recently raised their definition from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps.

While most Dublin residents enjoy speeds much higher than 4 Mbps, we’re not that far off in some cases, especially in areas where aging DSL is the only option — provided over deteriorating copper infrastructure that carriers are failing to upgrade. At least one resident at the late April public forum noted Frontier Communications has been particularly unhelpful in providing reliable or speedy access at their western Dublin home.

How to join the DublinBroadband email list / Google Group

Aside from this web site, we also have an email list — specifically a Google Group — setup to enable resident-to-resident conversation about broadband issues in Dublin.

Signing up requires you to take a few steps, but they aren’t too difficult. In fact, here are all the steps required to request access to the group:

[1] Browse to to get started

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Columbus Business First interviews CIO Doug McCollough on broadband discussions

Even before we had a chance to start posting in earnest here at, Carrie Ghose was on the case, chatting with City of Dublin CIO Doug McCollough about the recent meetings discussing resident desires for more and better broadband options for residents and small businesses across the city. The May 9 posting got some good quotes from McCollough and took note of the potentially politically-charged atmosphere related to broadband right in the headline: “Dublin wants better broadband for residents — short of an ‘act of war’ on carriers”.

Good job by the City in getting out in front of the story and making it clear to carriers that the City means them no harm — despite what a few residents have already voiced in the meetings to date and what might come out of future discussions (there’s definitely a wide spectrum of opinion).

This web site was even linked toward the bottom of the article. So we’re famous now? 😉

Hopefully Ghose and crew will keep tabs on the discussion in the months to come. We’re all just getting started.