Congress sends highway conduit bill into the slow lane

28 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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Broadband conduit won’t be getting a fast track into federal highway projects. A bill sponsored by Silicon Valley congresswoman Anna Eshoo would require broadband considerations, and conduit in particular, be included in the planning that states do for federally funded highway construction.

The easy way to get it done would have been to include the language in this years’ highway funding bill, which is a must pass piece of legislation. Eschoo tried to do that, but was rebuffed.… More

New effort to require broadband conduit in federal highways

25 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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It’s easier to dig first, pave second.

Silicon Valley congresswoman Anna Eshoo is taking a third try at baking dig once requirements into federally funded transportation projects. She’s introduced a bill in the house of representatives that would require states to evaluate the need for broadband conduit as part of planning road projects…

If the evaluation reveals an anticipated need in the next 15 years for broadband conduit beneath hard surfaces to be constructed by the project, the conduit shall be installed under the hard surfaces as part of the covered highway construction project…

The Secretary shall ensure with respect to a covered highway construction project that an appropriate number of broadband conduits as determined by the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, are installed along such highway to accommodate multiple broadband providers, with consideration given to the availability of existing conduits…

The Secretary shall ensure that any requesting broadband provider has access to each broadband conduit installed pursuant to this section, on a competitively neutral and nondiscriminatory basis, for a charge not to exceed a cost-based rate.


Regional economy depends on infrastructure, particularly fiber and conduit

20 November 2015 by Steve Blum
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More broadband equals more work and fewer cars on the road.

“The most important infrastructure for the future is fast, reliable internet connectivity”, said Bud Colligan, co-chair of the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) as he opened a day long conference on the state of the region’s economy. He said that incumbent telephone and cable companies have a big role to play in that, but “it is in our public interest to have a level playing field with robust competition”.… More

California wireless shot clock might trump environmental reviews

16 October 2015 by Steve Blum
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A pretty simple decision.

The California Environmental Quality Act – CEQA – has evolved into a powerful tool for Nimbys and others who want to say no to infrastructure projects or other construction work. The seemingly endless possibilities for reviews, questions and appeals can stall projects for years, with no discernible benefit to either the environment or communities. Except for people who simply want to delay the process, in the hopes of killing projects drip by drip.… More

Mobile data traffic accelerates, infrastructure needs to keep up

2 August 2015 by Steve Blum
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Click for a lot more detail.

The average mobile data customer in the U.S. is consuming 2.5 gigabytes of bandwidth every month. At least that was the picture at the end of the first quarter of this year according to mobile market analyst Chetan Sharma, who tracks such things. Likely, that number is even higher now – Sharma had average usage pegged at 2 GB just three months before.

Sharma believes mobile consumption is accelerating, while the cost to users continues downward

In the US, it took roughly 20 years to reach the 1GB/user/mo mark.


Solving transportation problems with broadband investment logic

9 November 2013 by Steve Blum

The meter is running.

There are two fundamentally different choices for financing infrastructure projects in California: public money or private investment. Private ownership predominates in the telecoms and energy sectors. Water is a mix of both, although the big ticket projects are primarily publicly owned. Roads are nearly all taxpayer-funded and managed by government agencies.

An accumulating backlog of deferred maintenance on publicly owned infrastructure – one estimate puts it in the $800 billion range – grabbed the attention of participants at the second annual California Economic Summit, held this week in Los Angeles.… More

Clearing the way for better infrastructure in California

8 November 2013 by Steve Blum
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It costs more here.

California’s infrastructure was “designed for 25 million people”, state treasurer Bill Lockyer told an opening breakout session at the California Economic Summit in Los Angeles. The problem, he said, is that California will have 50 millon people before there’s a fix in place.

The focus was on roads and water – publicly funded projects – but it’s equally true for infrastructure that’s supported by private capital, such as telecommunications and energy.

That conversation was mostly about ways to funnel more tax dollars towards road maintenance and construction but as the conference moved on, the cost side of the equation took center stage.… More

Where consumer broadband leads, business follows

Newark, California rates a solid “C” for residential broadband but drops to a red “D” or grey “f” in the working districts of the city.

There are two worlds of commercial and industrial grade broadband: the specialized business broadband companies and the major incumbent carriers. Analysis of commercial broadband availability in California’s East Bay region shows that many specialized providers want to compete, but can be limited in the scope of their services by basic infrastructure provided by the big guys.… More

Tellus Venture Associates does hands-on development work in Angola

Tellus Venture Associates is supporting a comprehensive development effort in Angola’s Huambo province. The project combines agricultural and marketing education, infrastructure building, seed (literally) capital, market development and microfinance. I became involved a couple of years ago when I helped my Rotary district raise $250,000 for the project, amounting to 25% of the first phase. The remaining 75% is from World Vision, a development and relief-focused NGO, and the Angolan government.

huambo angola rotary project training center in dango run by european union and world vision
Manuel de Sousa, president of the Rotary Club of Luanda (left),
and Steve Blum (right) at the EU/World Vision agricultural
training center in Huambo province

In June 2009 I traveled to Huambo, with several fellow Rotarians, for due diligence on the current project as well as future needs assessment.… More