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“Broadband Strategies: Linking Rural Wisconsin with the Global Market Place”, 3-21-13
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“Broadband Strategies: Linking Rural Wisconsin with the Global Market Place”, 3-21-13


A presentation by Professor Andy Lewis, Center for Community Technology Solutions at the Broadband Research Summit at TreeHaven, Wisconsin. The presentation provided an overview of broadband issues in …

A presentation by Professor Andy Lewis, Center for Community Technology Solutions at the Broadband Research Summit at TreeHaven, Wisconsin. The presentation provided an overview of broadband issues in Wisconsin and reviewed strategies that could be applied by local leaders to increase their connectivity.

Published in Education , Technology , Real Estate
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  • Connecting Wisconsin Communities to CompeteHistorically communities developed along important waterways, then stage coach roads , railroads and highways (and other infrastructure like mills and electricity).  Why?  Access to markets.  Where is your nearest on-ramp to the world-market via the Internet ? How many lanes does it have and what is the speed limit?  Successful communities and their businesses in the next years will be those that tap into this huge potential.  Successful communities will be those that bring this essential infrastructure to their community. If we are going to talk about using technology to connect to global markets, it’s important to understand how we compete against other countries in the provision of high speed Internet. It’s also important to understand the regulatory environment here in Wisconsin as you consider strategies for improving broadband access within your communities.
  • Back in the 90’s, I honestly thought the Internet held great potential for becoming the great equalizer between urban and rural areas. While I recognized the potential, I also saw the possibilities for a growing digital divide.
  • 2005 was the same year that SBC submitted a proposal in partnership with CenturyTel, Norlight, Access Wisconsin, and Verizon to the DOA to provide Broadband to our schools and libraries via the Badgernet Converged Network. In their proposal, they stated that their consortium (Wisconsin BadgerNet Access Alliance) was awarded this contract,, “…our companies will provide optical metro Ethernet products throughout Wisconsin. As a result of this contract, WBAA will be able to expand the geographic reach of our Etherneservies to rural Wisconsin communities and metropolitan areas alike. The deployment of these next-generation Ethernet services will be possible within 9-12 months if WBAA is awarded the BCN contract”This was the same year that Kirk Branick was telling this city council that fiber was an “untested technology”!Brannockalso said that “fiber was an unproven technology”
  • We have created a number of broadband video case studies. This particular clip is 835 Megabytes (a byte is a different measurement then bit). Same data, 1.5 days to 7 seconds download range.
  • Note: There are different Data Sources that can be used to measure these two things, different ways of measuring broadband, and the data is constantly being updated (Form 477 data)Access: The percentage of households that have access to broadband of at least 3 Mbps download/.7 Mbps uploadSource: “Eighth Broadband Progress Report” released by the FCC, August, 2012, (Page 161-164) The data from broadband providers indicate that 93.1% of Wisconsin Households have access to this level of service.BUT….The difference between #1 and #35 is less than 7% (We have been as low as #45 in recent years). Subscribership/AdoptionBased on data provided by wirelineproviders, only 26% of households subscribe to a wired broadband connection providing speeds of at least 3Mbps download, .7Mbps upload. We are tied for 38’th based on this data. Twelve states have adoption rates that are double the rate in Wisconsin and the national average was 40.4% (compared to WI 25%).If we look at slightly faster service, less than 5% of the Wisconsin population (4.9%) is subscribing to a service providing 6 Mbps/1.5 Mbps service. That compares to 27.6% for the nation.So while the availability of broadband meeting the benchmark speeds adopted by the FCC for the residential customers might be average, our adoption rates lag significantly behind the nation. Source: “Eighth Broadband Progress Report” released by the FCC, August, 2012, (Page 161-164) On the issue of Access/Deployment, how we compare against other states, or the national average is a little irrelevant given the low bar we have established in the U.S. The top states like Massachussetts, New Jerseyand Connecticut can simply declare themselves the winner of the shortest midget contest. There are some exceptions. We have areas like Chattanooga Tennessee and Kansas City installing networks that provide ~ 100 times the connectivity offered by the benchmark speeds of 3Mbps/.7Mbps THAT IS THE COMPETITION
  • Susan Crawford is the Visiting Stanton Professor of the First Amendment at harvard Kennedy School, a visiting professor at Harvard Law School and a professor at Cardozo Law School, Yeshiva University. She served as Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology , and Innovation Policy (2009) and on the ICANN board of directors, and is a contributor to Bloomberg View and Wired
  • “Akamai Intelligence Platform”Akamai doesn’t rely on “peak advertised broadband speeds” or data reported by the service providers. Instead it does analysis based on the approximately two trillion requests for Web content that it services on a daily basis from 665 million IP addresses in 242 Countries/regions. The Platform is made up of over one hundred thousand servers, deployed in over 75 countries and spanning the most important networks within the Internet, a single network hop away from 90% of Internet users. These servers are all controlled by Akamai software that is constantly monitoring Internet conditions.
  • Communities wishing to provide broadband services must meet a variety of administrative hurdles….one of which requires a full moon on the day of the referendum. Even if a community attempted to follow the vague steps outlined in the statutes, they would also likely face the threat of a law suit because the language is so vague. “Broadband”, for example is not defined. Wisconsin Legislative Council Information Memorandum, IM-2004, “New Law Regarding Municipal Cable Television, Telecommunications, and Broadband Services (2003 Wisconsin Act 278):“The Act does not define “broadband service.” Thus, interpretation of this term is left initially to municipalities affected by the Act and ultimately, if a municipality’s interpretation is challenged, to the courts.”
  • International Economic Development Council (IEDC)74% of economic development professionals thought that fiber-based broadband would have a direct or indirect impact on their ability to attract businesses 18% of respondents have insufficient speeds to produce economic outcomes and have given up hope for a solution 13% do not have enough speed to get the job done but are actively trying to find a solutionFewer than 10% believe 4 Mbps is sufficient for advancing their local economies
  • $822,937,879 (2005-2010) We could meet the 2010 payroll for the NFL Champion Green Bay Packers.  10 times.Data comes from the Universal Service Admininstration and includes:  High Cost and Connect America Fund components. These include High Cost Loop (HCL), High Cost Model (HCM), Interstate Access Support (IAS), Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS), Local Switching Support (LSS), as well as Long Term Support (LTS), which was merged with ICLS in July 2004. It also includes two HCL sub-components: Safety Net Additive (SNA) and Safety Valve Support (SVS). Connect America Fund components include Frozen High Cost Support (FHCS), Incremental Support (IS), Connect America Fund Intercarrier Compensation (ICC) , Mobility Fund Phase One (Mobility I) and Connect America Cost Model (CACM).  
  • It’s really not that simple. If we are going to talk about public policy options for expanding broadband its important to understand the political and legal landscape. Some would argue that we should simply leave broadband expansion to the private sector. There are also people who believe that other public infrastructure like roads should be built by the private sector and managed as toll roads. Some think only private utilities should provide electricity and and yet we have 82 public electric utilities in Wisconsin.
  • Even if municipalities could easily provide broadband services, it would still make sense to start with the private providers that currently serve the community. The Link Wisconsin map is a good starting point……
  • How to discuss broadband as a public policy issue with confidence (Andy: 20)Know your providersAsk them if they have any recent plans for expansion of service area or servicesAsk them what would they would need to help expand serviceFollow one of the steps in Chapter 66 and define broadband for them. Send them a letter asking them if they provide a minimum of 4 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload services to all households within the municipality and if not, do they have any plans to do so within the next 90 days?“As established by Wisconsin Act 278 and state statutes 66.0422…..
  • Getting Everyone on the Same Page….
  •….we can bicker about what we should be measuring, or we could focus on what people say they actually need. This is the Demand Survey created by the LinkWISCONSIN project and illustrates the residential responses in the urban county of Fond du lac County. There are an overwhelming number of yellow colored r’s that indicate under-served households. The red colored r’s indicate the number of households that say they are un-served.Instead of the government or the providers telling us what people need, shouldn’t the consumers and businesses be deciding that? And what is being requested is readily available in other global markets.
  • Many of the broadband providers in Wisconsin are small and don’t do a lot of market research. The demand survey provides address-specific data on customers who say they need more. People assume that the providers know who needs broadband. The providers say they don’t’ need help. There are indications that they do. Town of Three Lakes. Don Sidlowski and the Town Board Chair played “match maker”. They sponsored a “Technology Fair”. They invited providers to showcase their offerings. They invited residents to come learn about their options. Sometimes simplicity works. Hundreds showed up. Now 90% of the residents in the Town of Three lakes have broadband and most have choices.ADD SOMETHING ON DOOR COUNTY? FIND resources on our website (CAN, Building Subscribership, Door County model:
  • Revenues vs. lower investment costs for broadband providersDon’t under estimate the value of public infrastructure like tall buildings, water towers, public rights of way, streets, and public lands. The cost and ease of accessing this infrastructure influences broadband investments costs.
  • Planning for telecommunications infrastructureVs. on the fly plastic cable tie installation.
  • historic Portland water system photo. See: I think the photo is funny, it’s a good reminder that many cities like Portland had to build bridges for the sole function of accommodating another important public infrastructure….water.
  • "Dig once" means requirements designed to reduce the number and scale of repeated excavations for the installation and maintenance of broadband utilities in highway ROW. “Joint use” means mandating that broadband utilities install at the same time, in the same trench, or in the same conduit(s). It may also mean the first utility in places extra conduits, and subsequent utilities must negotiate with that utility to occupy one or more of the empty conduits.The State of Arizona has a strategy of burying both conduit and fiber at the time of road construction. They refer to this as building 2 roads for the price of one (burying the fiber costs about as much as the paint on the road). This fiber is made available to providers on a cost recovery basis. The road ROW gets dug up once. Costs are reduced. The open network also encourages competition.
  • Most road projects are scheduled years in advance of actual construction. Informing broadband providers of impending construction projects could save providers money by making open trenches available to them. Most Community Area Networks (CANs) have a public works director or two serving on their board. Telecommunication and road projects are systematically planned to create efficiencies.
  • The “Build it and they will come” model (Field of Dreams) rarely works and our experience has shown us that we also need to spend time and resources on increasing digital literacy. If we can’t close the digital gap. If we don’t bring everyone along. We will be unable to maximize the economic and social benefits of being connected. The College of the Menominee Nation received a BTOP grant to build a public computing center that offers state of the art technology and instruction. Other communities like the town of Three Lakes make their Community Center with a wireless modem available to the public. Libraries also often provide access to points and assistance to residents without home broadband options. Many public buildings like courthouses and town halls also provide public hot spots for high speed Internet connectivity.Jill Hietpas is going to share with us her hands-on outreach efforts in the Chippewa Valley
  • Using CPS household-level data, the broadband adoption gap between metro and non-metro areas remained at 13 percentage points in both 2003 and 2010; however this gap increased among low income, low education, and elderlyBy Brian Whitacre (Oklahoma State University), Roberto Gallardo (Mississippi State University),and Sharon Strover (University of Texas)
  • By Brian Whitacre (Oklahoma State University), Roberto Gallardo (Mississippi State University),and Sharon Strover (University of Texas)
  • Mike Theiss was the person to introduce to me the idea of digital immigrants and digital natives first introduced by Marc Prensky over a decade ago in: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants By Marc PrenskyFrom On the Horizon (MCB University Press, Vol. 9 No. 5, October 2001) © 2001 Marc PrenskyRupert Murdoch certainly has a good and bad side. He was one of the early adapters of new electronic publishing technologies, but then used technology to illegally tap the phone of celebrities.
  • Regions like N.W. Wisconsin and Counties like Door County have very strategic organized efforts like Superior Days and the Door County Legislative Day. This year, as in past years, broadband was advanced as a significant issue impacting the region. They call for public policy that encourages both public and private investment in broadband infrastructure in northwest Wisconsin. Don’t underestimate the power of less formal efforts. Simply inform your representatives about what you think is needed to improve broadband connectivity in the state.
  • **Do we like the arrow or is it too much or should it just be on some slides (questions? Presenters?) to break up the monotony?**


  • 1. “Broadband Strategies: Linking Rural Wisconsin with the Global Market Place” 3-21-13 Professor Andy Lewis, Center for Community Technology Solutions/University of Wisconsin-Extension
  • 2. 4/22/1995  “The telecommunications industry promises to redefine the way we do business in the state. But again, rural areas are in jeopardy of being left with a communications gravel road if special efforts aren’t made to connect our small communities to the Information Super Highway. I’m not sure our rural resident fully understand the speed at which change will take place. We need to build their awareness.”  -Sustainable Design….will it play in Mayberry?, 4- 22-1995, Andy Lewis
  • 3. What kind of a vision have we been getting from some in the private sector? “What are you going to do with 20 Mbps? It’s like having an Indy race car and you don’t have the racetrack to drive it on. We are going to be offering 3 Meg….most users won’t use that” - SBC's Midwest Networking President, Kirk Brannock who was talking to a city council in Illinois about the Pabst Farm Development in Wisconsin, 2004 (9 years ago), CLIP “It's like buying a Jaguar when a Ford Focus would be perfectly adequate” --Andrew Petersen, spokesman for TDS Telecom, about 1 Gbps Networks, Source: From Milwaukee to Chattanooga, a sea of digital divide, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Rick Barrett, 2- 26-2012 , divide-5e4ai4d-140520573.html
  • 4. What is Broadband? In simple terms, broadband essentially means high speed Internet. It allows you to download large files quickly (books, movies, music, medical records, bank statements, etc.).
  • 5. Speed Matters…. Dial-up+ (56 Kbps):  1 day, 10 hrs, 44 min T1/DSL (1.54 Mbps):  1 Hour, 15 min Cable (10 Mbps ):  11 min, 44 sec Fiber (1 Gbps):  7 sec
  • 6. Wisconsin ranks #24 (Access) #38 (Adoption) Residential Source: Eighth Broadband Progress Report, FCC, August, 2012,
  • 7. Susan Crawford “But perhaps Americans will start to care when they realize that, compared to other countries, they are paying more for less and leaving behind many of their fellow citizens. As things are, The United States will be unable to compete with nations whose industrial policy has been more forward-thinking.”
  • 8. The State of the Internet, Q2, 2012
  • 9. High Broadband Connectivity
  • 10. True Broadband (Residential) Connectivity (>4 Mbps)
  • 11. Broadband Connectivity in U.S.
  • 12. Municipal Networks in Wisconsin? Center for Community Technology Solutions 2003 Wisconsin Act 278/66.0422 Statutes Public entities are essentially prohibited from providing broadband to businesses and residents.
  • 13. IEDC Survey 2012 76% of economic development professionals thought a minimum of 100 Mbps or greater was needed to effectively attract new businesses Source (Craig Settles!):
  • 14. Won’t the Private Sector Take Care of this Problem? Bruce Kushnick, a former telephone industry consultant estimates that telephone customers have already paid $360 billion/$3,300 per household to build our “superfast electronic highway”. More than enough money to finance a fiber-optic system. Instead, the high speed data lines in America are among the slowest in the world.
  • 15. Subsidies to Wisconsin Telecommunications Providers 2005-2010
  • 16. We Can’t Get Discouraged…there are things that can be done. Center for Community Technology Solutions  Public Vs. Private Debate….
  • 17. Strategies Center for Community Technology Solutions Know your providers Inform your decision makers, citizens Demand Surveys Technology Fairs, Technology Advisory Committees Provide access to public infrastructure Dig Once Policies Public/Private Partnerships Coordinate public works projects, ease permitting on public infrastructure CANs: Community Area Networks Outreach to increase broadband subscribership Inform public policy
  • 18. Know your providers: Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 19. Know your providers Center for Community Technology Solutions Know your providers • Plans for expansion of service area or services? • What’s needed to expand service? • Minimum 4 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload services?
  • 20. Inform your decision-makers and citizens Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 21. Policy Options for Broadband in Rural Regions, March 2013 “Programs specifically focusing on the economic development potentials of broadband applications in highly public ways – through town meetings, public demonstrations, and through mobilizing local community change agents – may contribute to improved adoption levels.” Source: Whitacre_etal.pdf
  • 22. Demand Surveys: Are People Getting What They Need? Source: LinkWISCONSIN, WI PSC, http://wisconsinda /405 Resources: ault.aspx?page=5 2&bhcp=1
  • 23. Technology Fairs, Advisory Committees Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 24. Access to public infrastructure Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 25. They’ll Never Know….
  • 26. Actually, we need really big pipes
  • 27. Dig Once Policies Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 28. Public Works Projects Coordination Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 29. Community Area Networks Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 30. Public Access, Outreach Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 31. Metro Vs. Non-Metro Broadband Divide Household Broadband Adoption Rates by Metro/NM Status, 2003 and 2010 Metro – Non-metro Gap consistent since 2003 Source: Rural Broadband Availability and Adoption: Evidence, Policy Challenges, and Options, March, 2013
  • 32. In summary …economic impact  Statistical analysis showed that increases in broadband adoption between 2008 and 2010 resulted in higher levels of median household income and total employment (for non-metro counties)  Model results found that broadband adoption thresholds have more impact on changes in economic health indicators than broadband availability thresholds in non-metro counties between 2001 and 2010 Source: Rural Broadband Availability and Adoption: Evidence, Policy Challenges, and Options, March 2013
  • 33. Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives
  • 34. Inform Public Policy Center for Community Technology Solutions
  • 35. Susan Crawford: “America needs more people who can calmly and rationally oppose the free-marketeer rhetoric…People who can understand this issue and then channel their understanding into useful, long-term political engagement. People who will make this an electoral issue for all public offices”
  • 36. Center for Community Technology Solutions Questions?
  • 37. Contact Information: Prof. Andy Lewis Community Economic Development Specialist Center for Community Technology Solutions University Wisconsin-Extension (608) 890-4254 or