Dec 6th 2017 | Posted in Technology by Kristin Gordon

From telegraphs, to telephones to mobile devices, the United States is trying to bring broadband, or advanced telecommunications services into the 21st century. Stringing telephone lines from pole to pole has now moved to underground cable and vertical towers that attempt to keep you connected in any large or small town.   

Greater Minnesota plans to make some headway on integrating broadband after the recent announcement that $26 million from the 2017 Border-to-Border Broadband Grants will be allocated to 39 broadband projects. The funds were included by the legislature during the 2017 session. The focus of this grant is to provide state resources that help make the financial case for new and existing providers to invest in building infrastructure into unserved and underserved areas of the state. Infrastructure has been its primary focus. View the complete list of recipients here 

Currently, one in five New Yorkers do not have internet in the home and the mayor’s office of the chief technology officer has released a request for information (RFI) to change those statistics. The city’s goal is to connect every resident and business with affordable, reliable, high-speed internet service by 2025, as stated in One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City.  

Responses are due Jan. 19, 2018, and can be submitted here. The RFI lays out five principles to guide the city’s broadband investments and partnerships: performance, affordability, equity, choice and privacy. The request poses questions about network architecture, use of city assets, deployment and construction, business parameters and partnership opportunities. 

West Virginia’s Broadband Enhancement Council has introduced the Speed Test Portal, a test that accurately measures internet speed and records it.  Residents are being asked to take the test and share their internet speed information on the portal.  The test will generate a statewide broadband coverage map to identify the presence and levels of broadband service around the state.

Funding is coming in from grants to hire a broadband engineering firm to perform a detailed pilot study of the six-county southern West Virginia region- McDowell, Mercer, Monroe, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming. A recent House Bill allows cooperative associations, which would consist of 20 business or individuals, to pay for necessities needed to provide the service from carriers. Cooperatives would be eligible for federal grants.

Rappahannock County officials met to discuss a recently-concluded Broadband Demand Survey. Of the 3,273 occupied housing units, 890 Virginia residents responded to the survey. Around 70 percent of all residential respondents replied that their internet service is anywhere from inadequate to unreliable.

Three potential locality broadband partnership models were presented for consideration by the Center for Innovative Technology, a nonprofit organization that works to create tactics for bringing broadband services to rural areas such as Rappahannock. The three models include Locality Shares Assets Only, Locality Covers Capital Investment and Locality Invests Some Capital. The county plans to compile and release a request for proposals to seek a broadband partner or partners.  

The United States Air Force is looking for the most efficient and effective way to deliver commercial broadband coverage to its installations in the U.S. The Air Force plans to issue a request for information this month and seek feedback on how to not only serve airmen in their mission-specific duties, but also provide connectivity for families with their mobile usage on post. The coverage will range from the large, top bases to the missile site bases in remote locations.

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