Council Chair Ryti told me that Jerry Smith, the County Broadband Manager, would give a presentation to the County Council at their June 14th meeting entitled “Community Broadband Network Study Progress Update”, but the presentation is not on the most recent agenda. I watched the recording of Mr. Smith’s lunch presentation to the League of Women Voters in March which is available online, and I was pleased to see that he understands the technology and the current funding opportunities.
To prepare for Mr. Smith’s presentation, a small group of us have exchanged some email. As a result, I have the following observations and questions:
- Question for Mr. Smith: Do you believe that you have been assigned the task of establishing a County owned community broadband network? If not, what are your tasks?
- Question for Council: What do you want Mr. Smith to do?
- Question for Mr. Smith: What projects are the County pursuing that are eligible for federal and or state funds?
- I have heard that Comcast has installed fiber to each neighborhood in the County, and I have seen a map of Redinet fiber in the County. Question for Mr. Smith: Does anyone at the County (you?) know what telecommunication infrastructure exists in the County?
- I have heard both that the County can’t provide broadband service till it has a path off of the hill and that all of Internet traffic in the County now goes via a link owned by Lumen that crosses the Rio Grande at Buckman. I’ve also heard that that link has plenty of capacity. Question for Mr. Smith: Which if any of those claims are true?
- I have heard that fiber conduit is not routinely installed either in new developments or when roads are dug up for other utilities. Question for Mr. Smith: Is that true? Is that a mistake?
- I would like to have the County discover and publish information about the broadband options that are currently available to County residents. As a consumer, I find it difficult to discover the technology and pricing that’s available. Question for Mr. Smith: How difficult would it be for the County to discover and publish such information? (I would not want the effort to discover such information to distract from pursuing projects that have a limited funding window.)