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Broadband Cost Innovative Solutions

Page history last edited by PleuratD 10 years, 11 months ago

Description:  Continuation of plenary discussion on "Impact of Broadband Cost on Sustainable Adoption".  Jim Baller will moderate a session for community projects to share and discuss their innovative solutions to the broadband cost barrier.  Remember what solutions are discussed by making your notes below!


Time: Monday 2:45-4:15


Location: Ballroom 


Moderator: Jim Baller, Baller Group




Let's talk about the solutions to the cost problem... Lowering effective cost of broadband


Limiting statements to 3 minutes each....


First up: Marc Defalcon

Companies merging and trying to find emerging markets - specifically AT&T and T-mobile - especially in the low-to moderate income areas


CATF Fund - source of progressive funding in the state to help fund affordable internet


In Lorain County OH - Century Link & Qwest merged 


Many of these mergers are specific - and don't hit all regions - we need help discussing how those conversations can happen even without a merger coming


Comcast has a national program that offers service at $9.95 monthly to families that qualify for the school lunch program




Many programs out there are low cost options - not free.


Merged companies trying to reallocate the market base and associated funding...


We need to find what BENEFITS the companies are getting - publicity, marketing, untouched customers - think as a businessman, as they do.


LOVE isn't always the answer! Bottom line.


Focus on accessibility? Underserved populations? 


What about Universal Service? That little fee that appears on everyone's communication bill? How can that be reallocated to fill the communication needs now that so many things are online?


4.5 billion/year



Lifeline Linkup

Rural health care


40 states have their own program, in addition to a separate state program. How does it work and apply with you all?


Separate issue - Question of ownership?

Let's not just think that we're int he hands of the duopoly. There's an option of municipal ownership.

Electric power board owns it in Tennessee. 2000 members of APBA - cities that provide electricity. Let's utilize the network of support in the community - towers, cables, lines, bill collection services, and technicians.

Economic benefits for the municipality and back to the community - social impacts as well - putting it to good use


Bristol VA - developed Fiber-to-Home network in 2001

Triple play over fiber to home

Encouraged 2 major employers to contribute major employment opportunities as a result (600-700 jobs)

From Depression - rebuilt infrastructure to accommodate higher technology, encouraging high tech companies to invest and local companies to advance

Not just jobs - but higher wages and higher skilled jobs - which in turn stayed in the community and pumped up local business revenue

Property values increased - increased tax base - more effective government


FCC - identified them out as a model of a successful, community broadband project


Blanca - UC Berkeley - Public Policy making process is KEY - partnering with local utility companies 

With the mergers, before contracts are signed - now is the time to encourage investment in the local community to improve technology, using Bristol as an example


Programs that were successful received continued funding from company mergers - success and progress was shown, and the timing was right to continue the funding of the programs through the company mergers. Highlight to them where to put their money


Detroit's wireless - using 2 antennas, and 2 commercial DSL lines - were able to serve 2 neighborhoods with broadband access. 

Using commercial - we're free to share and disburse among several residences.


Still using this model - Clear's 4G not comprehensive, and Detroit is trying to cover those areas


Google Voice as an option to replace communications services - reduce Long distance call services, voice mail services that are at high cost on a landline, but are free if using VOIP services.


Mixed pool of residents - some that have broadband, some that don't - those that have broadband get discounts - those that don't they get broadband, they get a laptop.


Those that got laptops got broadband right away! Helped with that first hurdle of getting the computer.  (Verizon @$24/month, Time Warner @ $40/month)

Those that already had access - for some it helped, some even gave it back, saying they didn't need it, and would rather have that funding go towards the families that need it the most. 



1) Housing - vouchers to transfer purchasing power to the consumer

2) Last mile for the consumer - how to get them to pull the cash out of their wallet?

3) Push for National Campaign using the ARRA to encourage banks & telecom industry to invest in broadband programs


Cindy - NYC Connected Learning

Students, middle school - training for the parents of children - get a refurbished desktop with educational programs preinstalled, comes with a warranty

Cablevison & Time warner help provide discounted connectivity

75-80% adoption - not through discount program! People love the relevance, love to get up to speed and love to help their children through school and utilize those tools to monitor their education

There are barriers to get the discounted connectivity (arrears, etc.) - but that doesn't prevent adoption in many cases.


How do we solve the issue of relevancy? They're willing to pay $70 for cable, but not half that much for internet?

Help parents help their kids using resources - specific "elective" to get them engaged.

Media / safety literacy


Skype - acquired by Microsoft - good way to make it relevant for seniors.


You cannot teach your own parents... We all know from experience.


Teachers are also being trained with workshops throughout the year so they're using technology and imparting it to their students.


Kids are a great motivator because they NEED it at school to succeed.


$14.95 for 1 year - CableVision - step up rates

FREE for 1 year - Time Warner - step up rates (also forgive arrears $300 or less)


What's the threshold that they get if they don't qualify for discount - Verizon @ $25/month base level DSL - price doesn't change

Triple Play - Bundle deals - Cable, Broadband, & Voice


Lee Davenport - 1Economy

Build 27000 units of low-income housing - fiber meshed into the home, direct.

Through business/individual accounts, M-routers. 

Deliver at cost at $10/mo per household


42 states agreed to start putting in broadband infrastructure into newly developed low-income housing units

$230K/complex; $204/unit; continued service at $7/month 


BTOP $ - to build network in the home - cheap mesh networks.

Property managers collect a set fee from residents - through rent? Portion of that goes back to 1Economy.

Construction financing covers the ongoing cost of broadband - Housing authorities are more than happy to pay to add the amenity to their developments    


Use the Housing Authorities to allocate

Taking advantage of the Tax Credit housing


Telecom - needs to be convinced that they're getting not just a customer, but a good customer.


Mark - rural broadband deployment issues? High cost - but satellite networks could be the solution


Sue @ Appalachia - 4G could eventually be the solution - but 3G isn't even there yet!

     CYC there still has to create the Buzz to generate the NEED and DEMAND. Have to identify the locations where the providers will send service as they don't have 100% broadband coverage - things are spreading as they work.

     Partnership has lead to discounts - but the reach is still very limited and would very much like to expand


All of the solutions are based on subsidies - discount plan, gov't entity, merger - can we find solutions without subsidies?


Politics of subsidies - there hasn't been any change to, for example, section 8 system. Political question - do we bring disadvantaged up to the point where they can afford, or do we bring the cost down to the level that they can manage?


Angela - Training is the key - inform of the options after they know it's relevant - value is easier than the cost program.  


Change our way of thinking from "Silo" to looking at the potential of the system for more all-encompassing service - while working with public utility and energy services, and health care services.



Any challenges that come up when you offer extremely high speeds at low cost?

Small country, high population density. Comparably, the infrastructure costs are lower.

Experts point to policy issues and market issues that may come up - Universal Service was discussed.

Had a similar Lifeline service model.

The technology model was created as a result (subsidy for service) - citizens still thought it was too high. Blamed regulators, who then encouraged telecom providers to lower their overall costs.


Awareness and education - Taiwan has the mentality instilled already that technology is important for their everyday lives - no buzz or buy-in needed, they know how powerful the tool is.


Karen Mosberger - UoI Chicago - Research shown - cost is a major barrier for African Americans, Latinos, Low-income populations. Public access plays a role - access, help, support in all areas.

Trends show increase in smart phone usage to get online - small percent of the population.

     Doesn't enhance human service activities - not as much meaningful use, less knowledge, less skills

     Should be a secondary means for connecting rather than the primary means.

Home Access - consistent connections and better and more comprehensive access



What about the production side?

How can be encourage developers to create additional applications and services to use the networks to their fullest potential?

Killer Apps

"Company without walls" - the internet has allowed "garage" businesses and developers to emerge.


We need tools to measure the meaningful usage of networks to present cases to apply for and create additional subsidies.


John Sallie - instead of looking at the value circle - and see it as a chain - i.e. interdependency of AT&T and iPhone - to create additional gateways for people to jump into the broadband space.


Cell phone innovations... doesn't work as well with seniors. Screen's too small, no keyboard.

Tablets help.


Lots of untapped potential in low-income neighborhoods that can be highlighted by giving them access - focusing on low-income housing and bringing fiber to their homes.


Shane - Alaska State Library

     Large state, low population - big challenge to get into homes because of lack of power among other issues.

     Need Erate monies to talk about infrastructure expansion to get access to places without access to broadband.

     Doesn't help pricing - Erate program actually driving up total cost


Subsidizing direct cost of broadband through our funding.


Michigan - by sending home Air Cards - they can save Title 1 & Title 7 funds - but saving monies in so many areas - bus routes, outreach & contact, etc. but exposing parents and children to internet.


Universal Service Fund Wrap - FCC is piloting a program, discussing a connectivity fund (first come first serve VS reverse auction?)... a few avenues they're looking at to control the cost of broadband.


How can we be involved with the USF conversations?

     Consumer's Union, Free Press, Nat'l Association of Telecommunications Information Advisors... several advocates in Washington.


California Policy - started as a grassroots movement of discussions of policy, through their discussions and work, they became big players in the region when it comes to broadband discussions in Cali.



Comments (2)

Angela Siefer said

at 3:13 pm on Jun 27, 2011

Question asked - how do we all get involved in impacting broadband federal policy?

Amy Luckey said

at 4:00 pm on Jun 27, 2011

Quick response from Laura Efurd at ZeroDivide:
- Share findings from BTOP projects with federal policymakers (Members of Congress and Senators)
- Link with national groups that are involved day-to-day with federal broadband policy (e.g. Free press)
- Provide comments to FCC on proceedings related to National Broadband Plan
- Convene sessions with sub-recipients, partners, local non-profits about the impact of broadband and importance of fed

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