A Vision for Broadband

Andrew Cohill, broadband expert and founder of Design Nine and of VT KnowledgeWorks member company Web Villages, was quoted in Bandwidth boost by Jeff Sturgeon for The Roanoke Times.  An excerpt:

Should fiber lines be, like roads, owned by the government? Or, should the job be left to phone and cable companies, which installed and privately own the cables that carry most Web traffic today and are already investing heavily in system improvements including fiber-optic cable?

Advocates for broadband Internet over fiber-optic cable say the answers can't come too soon, and add that the region is already trailing.

"This region doesn't really have a solid plan how are we going to get big broadband everywhere," said Andrew Cohill, former director of the Blacksburg Electronic Village and now a private consultant whose firm, Design Nine in Blacksburg, helps communities get fiber-delivered Internet. Installing and maintaining that fiber — though not being the service provider — is a role for local governments or community nonprofits to consider, he said.

"We think it's got to be treated like essential public infrastructure," he said.

That way, access would be open to any service provider on equal footing. Just as anyone could launch a cab company or food delivery service over the road system, anyone will be able to use the information highway's new lanes. This creates competition, and competition lowers prices.

Cohill has seen it happen elsewhere. One of about 100 U.S. regions getting aggressive in this area is western Massachusetts, where 47 localities combined efforts to install fiber-optic Internet cabling to homes covering about one-quarter of the state, he said.

"Their vision is fiber everywhere. Fiber to every home, every business," Cohill said.

via www.roanoke.com

A free copy of Andrew Cohill's white paper, Broadband For America: The Third Way, is available for download here.  Design Nine announced The Wired Road – Integrated Fiber and Wireless Municipal Network.

Design Nine provides broadband network planning, network design services, and network construction services to clients, communities, and regions throughout the U.S.  The firm has active projects in six states, with several fiber to the home (FTTH) projects in build out or operations, including the first municipal open access network in the U.S. Design Nine manages broadband fiber and wireless projects from beginning to end, including the initial assessment, design, construction, and operations phases. 

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