The more broadband, the more interest in more broadband

Click to download the presentation.

One of the thousand or so communities, companies, organisations and private individuals that’s expressed interest in participating in the FCC’s rural broadband experiment program is the City of Marina, on Monterey Bay, which is where I live and work, at least when I’m not traveling somewhere.

It came out of a conversation I had with the city’s economic development coordinator, Marilyn Lidyoff, and a member of the economic development commission, Steve Emerson, at a local regional economic development conference back in March.

I was asked to come talk to the commission about local broadband development in general, and the FCC’s rural experiments in particular last Thursday. If you’re interested in a hyper-local point of view, you can download the presentation here. I talked about the effort in Santa Cruz County to drop the price and hassle factor of building broadband infrastructure, and the CPUC-funded fiber middle mile project that will connect the Silicon and Salinas valleys, by way of Santa Cruz.

Marina is about 8 kilometers south of that line, and would need to build a connecting link to use it. But that’s one of the projects that the Central Coast Broadband Consortium has on its wish list – there’s an unused railroad right of way that would provide a perfect path. Last mile projects are more problematic, since AT&T offers at least a taste of Uverse in much of the town and cable customers are split between Comcast and Suddenlink, both of which have cable modem service.

But it’s one more example of how interest in broadband development builds upon success: as projects, in this case the Salinas Valley line, moves forward, communities take note and start to look for ways to use it and otherwise keep pace with 21st century infrastructure needs.