It's Friday again. This week in Gigabites, Wisconsin underwhelms with new Broadband Forward! initiative, Cable One extends gigabit service in Iowa, Suddenlink takes GigaSpeed to new towns in Texas and more.
There are two problems with Governor Walker's plan, however. First, the requirements for certification are minimal, which lessens the impact of the program. According to the Broadband Forward! Community Model Ordinance, the main qualifications for certification are that communities must: appoint a single point of contact for broadband network projects; publish a public website with contact information for the point of contact; enable electronic submission for network project applications; respond to applications within ten days and issue approval or denial within 60 days; and keep the fee for applications below $100.
There are no provisions listed that would help streamline access to utility poles or help service providers understand and overcome potential right-of-way barriers. (See Gigabites: Google Fiber Fights for Pole Position.)
Second, although the Broadband Forward! initiative aims to reduce administrative headaches around broadband deployments, it doesn't provide any additional funding or financial incentive for infrastructure projects. As reported by Wisconsin Public Radio, the state awarded $1.5 million in broadband expansion grants last year, but that pales in comparison to the $10 million awarded in neighboring Minnesota.
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading