Entries categorized "Web/Tech"

City Council needs forward thinking on broadband internet

My understanding is that the major question in front of the Council is whether to continue to pursue a municipally-owned broadband network.  The Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) says yes; staff says no.  I am here to support the BATF recommendation.

I was astonished to see Dan Carson's editorial in the Davis Enterprise. It would seem that he has already decided, in advance of today's staff presentation and  without hearing comment from the community and fellow Councilmembers that Davis should not control its own broadband network. I hope that he and other Councilmembers have an open mind on this. 

Everyone seems to agree that having municipally owned broadband would bring great benefits to the City, spurring economic development and small business, bringing in needed revenue, and provide fast internet to schools and low income households. Given that, you would think that this would be a no brainer. 

Yet Carson, following the staff report, worries about the costs. This seems to miss the point in multiple ways. To quote a recent article on the topic: 

“Cities invest in many facilities that are not designed to make a profit, from sports stadiums and convention centers to airports and museums. Cities are not indifferent to the economics of such projects, but the bottom line is not strictly enterprise solvency. Especially for infrastructure like broadband, the network effects and spillovers should contribute to the economic and social life of the community.” https://www.vice.com/amp/en_us/article/a3np4a/new-municipal-broadband-map

Furthermore, as things stand now we are at the mercy of a monopoly. As coincidence would have it, Comcast raised its prices just this month. My household is now paying almost $80 for high speed internet. Our only “alternative” is to “pay less by paying more,” that is, by getting our internet bundled with other services we don’t want and wouldn’t use. We live in Central Davis, yet AT&T cannot provide high speed bandwidth to our household. We are at Comcast's mercy. This is not forward thinking. 

Carson compared City owned broadband to the bullet train. A more accurate comparison would be SMUD, a lost opportunity for Davis to control its own electricity. 

Let’s not make that same mistake again. Let’s do what over 750 communities have done <https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2017/06/29/new-report-swings-and-misses-on-communities-and-next-generation-broadband/amp/> and control our own broadband network.  

Let’s be bold and act for the greater good of the community. 

Davisites, please come to City Council this evening and let the Council know that this issue is important to you. 

 


A response to Dan Carson's op-ed opposing a city-owned broadband network

There are significant economic reasons to have a municipal fiber project

Published by Matt Williams in the Davis Enterprise, reprinted with permission of the author

I respectfully disagree with Dan Carson.

As a member of the BATF I would like to share with the public the following list of reasons that explain why BATF came to the official conclusion in writing that “the emotion and passion around the concept of a municipal fiber project could not be any more intensified."

BATF officially chose not to include the detailed list in the current recommendation memo because the focus of the memo was limited to the two additional tasks Council gave the BATF in 2018. These reasons cover what was learned during the whole BATF duration from 2016 to 2019. It is important to note that there are some BATF members who might not personally agree with some of the listed reasons; however ALL of the reasons were actively discussed by the BATF. 

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The need for cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth

Fiber-optics-internetBy Robert Nickerson

Sometimes it seems this town is trying to find its get up and go. If we were taking an auto trip we are getting a lot of constituencies into the car, Ag and Seed, BioTech, New Downtown, Innovation Center, are all getting in and closing the door, putting on our seatbelts, turning the key and not getting anywhere. To our dismay, we look down and see no tires. We are missing an essential element that forms the vehicle that drives our economy to growth, to speed us along our way, that thing is cheap, abundant, ultra-wide Internet bandwidth. Businesses and their employees working in these fields that we are trying to bring to town, require access to the fastest and most reliable transport infrastructure available, fiber optic cable. For three years the City of Davis Broadband Advisory Task Force has been evaluating the feasibility of a community-owned fiber optic network. On June 4th they will deliver their recommendation that it is, and that the City should seriously consider pursuing this opportunity. We agree, and hope the City Council takes the next steps the Task Force recommends.

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Community Owned Fiber Optic Ring

DavisGIGGUIDING PRINCIPLES

By DavisGIG

The community owned fiber optic project will meet many specific economic and connectivity objectives of its community partners. More importantly its design is guided by certain principles and community values and brings direct substantial benefits to Davis residents. These benefits are referenced from and included in the Feasibility Study Report (FSR), the phone survey, and the DavisGIG online poll. Some of the current needs that the network is designed to address are:

  1. Digital Inclusion - Currently in the marketplace there are areas where residents have no choice, or poor connectivity. There are three specific areas in Davis1 where only one wireline provider offers any service considered by the FCC to have “Broadband.”2 A community owned network that covers all parcels, and methodically expands to future parcels ensures that all residents, regardless of income level will be connected to the network.3

  2. Digital Divide - The network, which will connect to every parcel in the community, can ensure that all residents regardless of income level have at least minimal level of wireline broadband service without data caps or restrictive transfer allowances that come with cell phone plans. Municipal ownership will ensure, through operational policy or specific vendor lease relationships to the municipal fiber, that a low income plan is available.4 Davis residents strongly believe Internet access on the fiber network should be available to all.5

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Broadband Public Comment to City Council

On April 9, 2019 The Davis City Council took public comments on a proposed new contract for City of Davis broadband infrastructure.

The City Council discussion was held in closed session after comments. The City Council did not record or broadcast the public comments. Audio has been provided to the Davisite by Bob Fung of CivEnergy, photos by Roberta Millstein. Approximately 30 people were in attendance.

 

 


On the WAVE/Astound Proposal: Who Benefits the Most from Granting Exclusive Access to One Corporation?

Fiber-optics-internetThis comments were presented at Wednesday's Broadband Advisory Task Force meeting.

Please be wary of granting any private enterprise exclusive use of city facilities.

Regarding wifi and cellular service, around 40-years ago, when the technology was new to most of us, Davis and many other US cities were seduced by carriers into granting exclusives in exchange for a few public access channels. Few would have imagined that these carriers would merge into what is now a handful of enormous corporations controlling distribution of data, communications, and information.

The channels “given” cities have proven to be essentially worthless as they exist only as long as mostly unpaid volunteers are willing or available to maintain them. In what has developed as a world of hundreds of choices and the ease with which live or recorded video can now be transmitted to managed or unlimited audiences, viewing through their pocketable phones, tablets or their computers, there is little evidence of measurable viewing of of the so-called “public” cable channels, Davis’ among them.

Please examine who benefits the most from that historical decision to grant exclusive access to one corporation.

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The Astound Fiber Contract Would Create a Citizen-Gouging Monopoly

Fiber-optics-internetAt the Broadband Advisory Task Force (BATF) meeting last night, the BATF recommended that the City Council defer action on Staff’s proposed Astound Fiber Contract.  If approved, the Astound Fiber Contract would grant one fiber company, Astoud/Wave, exclusivity on building out fiber in Davis, precluding a community-owned alternative.  The following letter was submitted to the Davis City Council in opposition to Staff's proposal.

It’s my understanding that the purpose of city government is to act as both the elected and the paid representatives advocating for the needs and welfare of the entire city, including all its citizens, schools, small and large businesses, police, fire, infrastructure, etc. What I heard last night at the task force meeting is that our city government is considering taking care of only itself by accepting a free service from a large for-profit corporation in exchange for throwing the entire rest of the city under the bus. While city government gets free high-speed fiber connectivity to many of its facilities for 30 years, Astound is going to be given free rein to reap huge profits by charging whatever it wants to everyone else in Davis. There will be no competition to control prices, no incentive to innovate, no guarantees of net neutrality or customer privacy, and no requirement that harder-to-reach areas of our city will receive any service at all. Davis will be at the mercy of one more utility monopoly.

This is just wrong on so many levels, it’s disgusting.

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DavisGIG survey concerning publicly-owned Fiber Optic Internet Infrastructure

Fiber-optics-internet(From press release) DavisGIG is a community group that is advocating for municipal ownership of Fiber Optic Internet Infrastructure for Davis.

This would mean our community would invest in the construction of publicly-owned "tubes" to the Internet. Fiber Optic is the single best, most reliable Internet carrier cable. IT is the backbone of the Internet and is a necessary ingredient for forthcoming 5G Cell services. It lasts decades, and the lasers used to send Internet packets down the thin glass tubes are easy and cheap to upgrade and continuously improved. The City would lease access to this fiber to multiple ISPs, entrepreneurs, cell phone companies, or other. This would give our municipality a new long term revenue source and asset. More importantly making this one time infrastructure investment gives connectivity for our schools, city buildings, for a one time NON MONTHLY RECURRING COST. More important than this, you can REDIRECT your monthly broadband payment, away from huge companies, back to the City in the form of lease fees ISPs will pay the community for the use of its fiber.

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City-owned Fiber Optic Broadband? Take the DavisGIG survey!

DavisGIGHello Davisites,

DavisGIG is pleased to report the City is conducting a phone survey about city owned fiber optic broadband that is now under way. We are also conducting a web version of the survey at http://www.davisgig.org/survey.  Please see this letter below that is being sent to 20000 households and business in Davis, thanks to your support and donations.

Thanks for your time, and as we have said multiple times in the past: Brand new, publicly owned telecommunications infrastructure, is worthwhile, will last decades, and takes time to implement!

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Take action to prevent deregulation from destroying local ISPs like Omsoft

Fiber-optics-internetJust like everything else, the current deregulatory craze at the expense of common sense is about to hit the Internet Access Industry, and WE NEED YOU to take 5-10 minutes and write a letter at the website www.savecompetition.com . Please share liberally, as this is not being reported on in a major way.

DEADLINE 9/4/2018

Here is the crisis.:
The US TELECOM ASSN, the trade group for the Mega Giant telecoms like Verizon, ATT and Centurylink have petitioned the FCC for forebearance from the COPPER line sharing requirements of the landmark 1996 Telecommunications Act. They state that there is robust competition in local Internet Access markets and great cheap fast Internet Access throughout the US. They request to end all regulated wholesale access to the Unbundled Network Elements (Copper Pairs) of the Telephone Network your grandparents, parents and you paid for through your taxes.

California companies like Omsoft, SonicNet, CruzIO, LMI, Shasta.com, and Cal.Net, along with the remaining small ISPs across the nation will have their access to their main Internet Transport medium, the Public Switched Telephone System, (PSTN) completely shut off in 2 years.

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Looking for feedback on new app to support local businesses in Davis

HeynearbyHey Davis Neighbors,

My son Will has been working on a mobile app (called HeyNearby) to support local businesses in Davis. It’s early days but he’s looking for people to give it a try.

Here’s a quick summary of what it does:

It allows you to save and share all your favorite businesses in town. Once you have your list, you never have to search again.

You can take the “Town Quiz”, which allows you to add any shops, restaurants or services (in Davis as well as in any work or vacation spots).

You can give “Kudos” to your favorites. This let’s everyone know why you think a business is special. Since everyone’s a critic these days, they are trying to highlight the positives.

Lastly, you can also invite your friends to the app so we can all share our favorites. That way, whether you’re looking for an electrician, plumber, music teacher, or anything else, you can just see what your friends recommend.

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New Police Surveillance Technology Needs More Disclosure and Specificity

CameraDear Mayor Lee and Davis City Council Members,

We are pleased to see our new city surveillance ordinance being implemented. Last Thursday night we saw the first staff reports on surveillance technologies being used in the city. As our first attempt as a city to lead the way in public disclosure of use of surveillance technologies, we want all parties to contribute to fully meeting the spirit and requirements of the ordinance. To that end, we offer both questions and suggestions regarding the Police Department staff reports.

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