Category: Tenda

FCC Commissioner addresses connectivity town hall 0

FCC Commissioner addresses connectivity town hall

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn MARIETTA — Individuals and officials from around the region converged on Marietta on Tuesday for the Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit. The event held at Marietta High School and Washington State Community College was planned to share the connectivity stories and concerns of the region, with Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Mignon Clyburn in attendance to address the crowd and hear the stories. The event began with “a little grandmother who got throttled” explained Liz Shaw, a Meigs County resident who was that angry grandmother.

Shaw explained that her internet provider lowered her speeds, leading her to research how they were allowed to do something like this. As she researched she got angry, and also curious, looking at the laws, policies and geography of the region. Shaw said she was not prepared to accept that things had to be the way they were and reached out to the organization Public Knowledge.

Shaw sent her story, along with the stories of others to Public Knowledge, which in turn sent the information on to Commissioner Clyburn. The Commissioner wanted to make the trip to the area to hear the stories of local residents. Shaw said she was expecting the visit to take place later in the year, maybe around October, but that the date presented was July 18. “I felt like the dog that caught the car,” said Shaw of getting the meeting set up so quickly.

The group of organizers went to work, contacting internationally known speakers on connectivity. With the help of Public Knowledge and the Center for Rural Strategies, Shaw and others were able to out together a line up of speakers for the daytime event which was attended by Meigs County officials Commissioner Randy Smith, EMS Director Robbie Jacks and EMA Director Jamie Jones, as well as numerous other representatives from counties around the area. State officials and representatives from the offices of state and national officials were also in attendance.

The evening portion was designed as a town hall with some prepared speakers, as well as the opportunity for those in attendance to share their stories. Clyburn addressed those in attendance at Marietta High School for the public town hall portion of the event, as well as taking notes of the connectivity stories shared. “A few years back, the Washington Post introduced a great slogan: ‘If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.’ The idea was that if you didn’t get their publication, you had no idea what was going on in the world and in your community,” said Clybrun. While that may be the case for some, it is not the case when it comes to broadband, explained Clyburn. “I think the opposite can be said when it comes to broadband access — even if you don’t have it, you fully comprehend that you are at a clear disadvantage when it comes to being able to run your business, find a job, advance your education, access telehealth services, or simply pay your bills.

Affordable, robust broadband, opens a world of opportunity to those who have it, but for those who don’t, they remain stuck in a digital canyon,” said Clyburn. While Clyburn was there to hear the stories of the region, she was the first to admit that she did not have all the answers to the problems. “Now I do not stand before you, pretending to have all the answers, but I am standing here this evening because I care, and am willing to work to come up with innovative solutions, to solve these persistent gaps when it comes to connectivity,” stated Clyburn. Clyburn addressed three concerns in her opening remarks, including getting broadband into communities most in need, broadband affordability and broadband consumer protections.

She gave the FCC at B-plus for getting access to communities, a C for affordability and a F for protections. “It is unacceptable to me that over 20 percent of rural Americans, do not have high speed broadband,” said Clyburn. “The FCC has initiated several proceedings over the past few months, that look at subsidizing fixed and mobile broadband in areas that are unserved today. We have also looked at making structural changes to our rules, so that it is easier and cheaper for companies that deploy this often-costly infrastructure to do so. And while I welcome these changes, I must caution that it will take time for you to see the real benefits in your backyard.

That said, I am all for resolving these proceedings quickly and making sure that the communities without broadband, will not have to go without much longer.” One solution to access noted by Clyburn, and discussed during the daytime portion of the event, was the potential for cooperatives for broadband service. “I believe that where communities are not being adequately served by the private sector, they should be able to band together and deploy their own infrastructure. You provide your own electricity service here through a cooperative. Perhaps, like a growing number of cooperatives across the nation, a cooperative could also provide broadband,” said Clyburn.

Affordability is something that can keep broadband out of homes even if the service is available in the area. “The power of broadband connectivity, is not worth much to your neighbor, if they cannot afford it,” said Clyburn. “The fight for affordable and available communications services, requires all hands-on deck. We each need to make sure that one’s opportunity is not limited based on the family they were born into, or where they choose or are forced to live,”said Clyburn. “I, for one, welcome hearing from you, consider your voices and opinions significant and view what you file as substantial. We are not doing our jobs as regulators, if we aren’t listening to you, we are not representing your interests if we fail to understand or consider what you are facing or what concerns you,” said Clyburn. “I am here tonight in Marietta, Ohio because I am using my two ears and will now limit what else I say with my one mouth.

My unwavering promise to you this evening, is that I will take what you say back to Washington, D.C., and ensure that your stories are told and that they are part of our public policy debate. I look forward to hearing from you tonight, and thank you for listening,” Clyburn concluded. More on the stories shared during the public town hall will appear in the Friday editions of The Daily Sentinel, Point Pleasant Register and the Gallipolis Daily Tribune.

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Schurz Completes Purchase of Vast Broadband 0

Schurz Completes Purchase of Vast Broadband

Schurz Communications said it has completed the purchase of Vast Broadband’s network operations and customers in northwestern Iowa and the southeastern portion of South Dakota. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Michael McHugh and FBR Capital Markets & Co.

acted as financial advisors for the transaction. Vast Broadband’s operations adjoin existing Schurz systems in the two states, operating under the name Long Lines Broadband. The acquired properties are located in several communities including N.

Sioux City, S.D.

and Storm Lake, Iowa.

In addition, Schurz also purchased 200 miles of fiber network infrastructure throughout the service area connecting South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. “Combining Vast Broadband systems into Long Lines Broadband extensive operations will offer new products and services to residents and businesses” Schurz SVP Broadband Brian Lynch said in a statement. “We see great opportunities to grow the business in these communities.” Once the integration work is completed later this summer, former Vast customers will benefit from new all-digital video, new HD channels and new high speed internet choices on Long Lines Broadband. “ Schurz, based in Mishawaka, Ind., owns cable systems, newspapers and digital media and has a presence in eight states — Arizona, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.

Councillor claims slow broadband is damaging Sutherland economy 0

Councillor claims slow broadband is damaging Sutherland economy

Linda Munro is angry with BT Openreach A VETERAN Sutherland councillor has accused BT Openreach of stymieing technological and business advancement in the county because of the “poor level” of service it provides. Linda Munro claims the area enjoyed a better service from the telecoms provider 30 years ago than it does today. Cllr Munro, who represents North, West and Central Sutherland, spoke out after senior BT Openreach managers failed for a second time to appear at a meeting of Sutherland County Committee to discuss growing concerns.

Councillors are now writing to BT Scotland chief Brendan Dick to express their “severe disappointment” at what is being seen as a snub to Sutherland. Cllr Munro, the newly-elected chairman of the committee, said: “The communities across Sutherland all speak highly of the engineers on the ground, but this is about the management of the workload and investment in our infrastructure. In short, it’s about delivering a fit-for-purpose service. “Thirty years ago if your phone went off, it got fixed.” However, BT has said the reasons for the non-attendance were valid and it is working closely with Sutherland communities to provide superfast broadband.

Frustration over months of delays by BT Openreach in repairing lost phone and broadband connections and also in establishing new connections has been slowly building up across the county. There is also anger over low broadband speeds. Cllr Munro said this week that disgruntled Sutherland residents were in constant contact with her and fellow councillors regarding telecoms issues.

She said: “There is a lot of upset in different pockets of the area and we all know of examples within our two wards. Every one of us have communities where the stories are just horrific.” Cllr Munro added it was particularly concerning when vulnerable, older people in remote and rural areas were affected and ambitious plans to progress the delivery of tele-medicine and tele-care in the area could not go ahead without reliable phone and broadband connections. Tele-medicine – the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology – is viewed as a solution to provide care in remote areas where GP recruitment and retention is a problem.

Cllr Munro also claimed the telecoms problems were deterring businesses from setting up in or relocating to the north. She continued: “The development of tele-medicine and tele-care is dependent on sustainable communications but at the moment that is just castles in the sand.” In a bid to talk over the issues with BT Scotland, Sutherland County Committee issued an invitation to attend its February meeting, but representatives were unable to. A second invitation was issued to attend the June 23 meeting, but no-one turned up.

An apology was received as the meeting was under way. Cllr Munro said: “For the second time running BT has not taken up the opportunity to send a representative to Sutherland County Committee so elected members can hold face-to-face discussions and raise issues and concerns on behalf of their constituents. “We are troubled that for the second time in a row BT has not deemed the ongoing concerns of our constituents or status of our committee worthy of attending. “All Sutherland members are united on this issue and we will be sending a letter to BT expressing our severe disappointment on how the folk of Sutherland are being treated and requesting that its chief executive take the concerns of our communities seriously and comes along to our next meeting.” A BT Scotland spokesman said the decision by the county committee to send out a news release castigating BT for not attending the two meetings was “surprising and unfortunate” as on both occasions the committee was provided with reasons and apologies. He said: “On the first occasion Openreach’s senior operations manager for the area could not accept the offer to meet on the date and made the committee aware of this. “And on the second occasion our representative did not attend because a personal emergency arose at the last minute.

Again the committee was informed of this and an offer was made to set up a separate meeting at which all issues of concern could be discussed. “Unfortunately there has been no response to this offer but it remains on the table and we will be happy to take part in a future meeting.”