December update on Gigabit Internet in Charlotte
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Instead of Regulation, Let's Foster Competition

With all the rhetoric about net neutrality, we need to realize that competition, not regulation, is the driver for faster Internet speeds and lower costs. For example look at what happens when Google Fiber enters a market: CNET article

"Google Fiber has been the biggest driver of the fiber-to-the home movement," said Blair Levin, executive director of the Gig.U project and head of the committee that wrote the 2010 National Broadband Plan for the Federal Communications Commission. Blair isn't alone. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said, “Competition drives broadband. It’s that simple.”

When the ISPs move too slowly municipalities have stepped in to build their own Gigabit Internet infrastructure (reference article). In North Carolina we can easily look to Wilson's Greenlight service and Salisbury's Fibrant service as examples of cities building their own infrastructure in advance of the competitive market.

Jonathan Feldman, CIO of the City of Asheville and a writer for Information Week wrote a great piece about ISP competition, The subtitle, for which we couldn't agree more, is "Competition, not massive regulation, is the best way to make the Internet open." For the complete article click here.
Community and business leaders across the U.S. understand that they must upgrade their broadband networks for their communities to remain competitive in the global economy. But information on how to achieve that goal is hard to find and often overwhelmingly technical. Building upon the experiences of its own members and that of its partners, the FTTH Council Americas will be holding this special conference December 9-10, 2014 in Raleigh, North Carolina to provide communities with the Toolkit they need to deploy gigabit networks. The Opening Keynote Address is by Jill Szuchmacher, Director, Business Development, Google Fiber.

Click here to review the agenda and register for the regional conference.

Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age

What would users do with a Gigabit Internet connection? This seems to be the question asked by ISPs who are resisting the need to upgrade their networks. Originally Comcast questioned the need for Gigabit, as did Time Warner Cable in this article and Frontier. Fortunately the ISPs have reconsidered - thanks to competition! Frontier is even taking the lead in some areas such as Durham, NC, changing their tune as this article points out. At Charlotte Hearts Gigabit we think this is great! The more competition the better. After all if we simply move to a two player GoogleFiber/ATT market we won't get the full benefits of a competitive landscape.

Pew Research recently canvassed thousands of experts to get their views on what applications would take advantage of a Gigabit infrastructure. The 1400+ experts responded with the following:

Killer Apps in a Gigabit Age: Themes
  1. People’s basic interactions and their ability to ‘be together’ and collaborate will change in the age of vivid telepresence—enabling people to instantly ‘meet face-to-face’ in cyberspace with no travel necessary.
  2. Augmented reality will extend people’s sense and understanding of their real-life surroundings and virtual reality will make some spaces, such as gaming worlds and other simulated environments, even more compelling places to hang out.
  3. The connection between humans and technology will tighten as machines gather, assess, and display real-time personalized information in an ‘always-on’ environment. This integration will affect many activities—including thinking, the documentation of life events (‘life-logging’), and coordination of daily schedules.
  4. Specific economic and social sectors will be especially impacted; health/medicine and education were mentioned often.
  5. New digital divides may open as people gain opportunities on different timelines and with different tools.
  6. Who knows? ‘I have no idea due to rapid change.’ ‘The best Internet apps are yet to emerge.’ ‘If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you, I would invest in it!’
  7. Advances will be gradual for various reasons: Bandwidth is not the issue. The US will lag because a widespread gigabit network is not easily achieved.
For the full Pew Research article click here.

Google Fiber Advertising Charlotte Position

Google Fiber is advertising a position for Community Impact Manager, with location being Charlotte. For more information on the position and to apply, click here.

Google has become the title sponsor for the North Carolina Technology Association Outlook for IT event being held in Charlotte in January. Is this a sign that Google Fiber will confirm a Charlotte Gigabit build? Stay tuned!

Charlotte is attending 2015 Gigabit City Summit in KC. Will Next Century Cities be next?

Kansas City is hosting the Gigabit City Summit January 13-15, 2015. The Gigabit City Summit is your chance to learn how to make your own city smarter, faster and better. Connect with hundreds of gigabit city thinkers and leaders from around the country as we explore how ultra-high-speed Internet is reshaping cities. The Gigabit City Summit is the only event where you can learn how your city and your metro can prepare for the opportunity to become a Gigabit City.

Several members from Charlotte will be participating in the conference, including the Charlotte Hearts Gigabit co-founders.

Next Century Cities
The Charlotte Hearts Gigabit team has also been in touch with Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities. Next Century Cities (NCC) supports communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet. Over 35 cities have joined, including Wilson, Salisbury, and Raleigh.

We want Charlotte to join! There is no cost, and everything to gain. We need an official from the City of Charlotte to apply, and have started that encouragement. If you have any connections with the city please ask them to consider joining the NCC coalition.

Cities See Urgency in Closing Digital Divide (and How They’re Doing It)

Blog post from Public CEO:
"Broadband Internet isn’t something that’s just nice to have anymore. A study finds it can have dramatic impacts on people’s ability to use public transit, access health care and even find a job. That’s prompting cities to step up their efforts to ensure residents not only have it, but also know how to use it. And some are having to find creative ways, including teaming with other cities, to get high-speed service when traditional service providers won’t offer it." For the full Public CEO article click here.

Google Fiber launching nation’s first Digital Inclusion Program for Austin public housing residents.

As part of its commitment to the city of Austin, Google Fiber said it will provide free “basic” Internet service (5 Mbps down by 1 Mbps up) for free to area public housing for ten years after construction begins. To read the full article click here.
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