Podcast: US Ignite's Mari Silbey on hybrid networks and new broadband business models

US Ignite's Mari Silbey joins Light Reading's Kelsey Ziser and Phil Harvey for a discussion about what changes are ahead in how cities and companies can provide broadband to residents in underserved areas.

The pandemic has been a wake-up call to broadband's overall importance in the US economy. While some big telcos are waiving data caps and other penalties to make it easier for consumers to stay connected, those companies are not necessarily speeding up their efforts to connect underserved and rural communities.

"It's difficult to make the economic case for a lot of broadband providers to go into these sparser, less populated communities," Silbey said. "But on the other hand, that doesn't mean the need is any less there and there still needs to be a solution and a way to get those areas connected."

With tax revenue in decline in most places, thanks to businesses shutting or slowing down, cities are weighing the risks of public, private and hybrid networks to see which model might work best for their residents and geography. Silbey has all the details and as well as some examples of new business models being used in Westminster, Maryland; Fullerton, California; and Lincoln, Nebraska.

SRNL Fiber Optic Cable Installation

The report, "Broadband Models for Unserved and Underserved Communities," will be available from US Ignite and Altman Vilandrie & Company later this month.

Silbey's new podcast, featuring conversations about smart cities, connected communities and wireless networking is available on Spotify.

You can find more episodes of the Light Reading podcast on Google, SoundCloud or Spotify.

Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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