Broadband

Community Broadband Efforts Compete with Corporate Services

http://youtu.be/jWcBftCOxEc The FreePress' Save the Internet initiative covered a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) today and shared the video above. Josh Levy of the FreePress reported, "Bristol, Va., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Lafayette, La.— built next-generation broadband networks that deliver a faster, more affordable Internet than their corporate competitors."

Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR’s Telecommunications as Commons Initiative said that all three cities offer gigabit service throughout the community. Additionally, “these publicly owned networks have each created hundreds of jobs and saved millions of dollars,” said Mitchell. The full text of the ILSR report can be found here, as well as more information at the Community Broadband Networks initiative.

On Oahu, Kokua Wireless is smaller version of community broadband. It describes itself as "a private network that has joined forces with the City and County of Honolulu and Private Business sponsors, to create free access to the internet via Wifi across the island." There is also a map of where the service can be accessed, and at what data rate. Statewide, the Hawaii Broadband Task Force is using their own broadband map to collect data on usage and areas in need of service.

 

Water Surrounding ClearCom's Broadband Plan Is a Bit Murky

HB 2267 "RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE REVENUE BONDS TO ASSIST CLEARCOM, INC., IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE IN HAWAII," already has 21 co-sponsors (just shy of half of the representatives in the House) and is currently being heard in committee this morning. Who is ClearCom, Inc.? And why should the state set give them $100 million to improve the state's fiber optic network that also allots for the construction of a hydropower plant?

ClearCom is affiliate company of Sandwich Isles Communications, Inc. (SIC), which provides telephone service to Hawaiian Home Lands. According to Brandon Roberts's 2008 report in the Molokai Dispatch, ClearCom built a telecom network which involved drilling beneath Molokai's southern fringing reef. However, the project wasn't just water under the bridge.

After assuring the community that no Molokai water would be used, ClearCom consumed up to 44,000 gallons of Homesteader's drinking water everyday of drilling to make a special mixture of mud to push the undersea drill.

The bill notes that fiber optic cables can be installed in abandon water mains, which appears logical enough. Yet given the experience by Molokai residence and current issues with the state watershed and waste water systems, is this the best use of funds?