Coffee with Jerry Smith on May 2

I met Jerry Smith, the County Broadband Manager, on May 2 at the Sugar and Cream Cafe to talk about progress on the Community Broadband Network. It had been three and a half years since my first post on this blog and almost exactly three years since the County Council put the Broadband Manager position in a County budget. Jerry acknowledged that progress has not been fast. Since negotiations are confidential till proposed contracts are presented to the County Council, I didn’t get much detail about them. Here are the main things we talked about.

Contract to Build and Operate the Los Alamos County Community Broadband Network

In an earlier conversation Jerry told me that he hoped to have a proposed contract presented to the County Council by October of 2023. Unfortunately circumstances transpired that necessitated starting over, and the County issued a new request for proposals. Jerry says that negotiations following from that new RFP are continuing. Since the current Council strongly supports the CBN, I think it’s important to get a contract to them before a new Council takes office in 2025. Jerry says he expects a contract to go to Council well before that.

San Ildefonso’s Grant Application for Middle Mile Fiber

On 2024-03-05 the County Council unanimously voted to approve grant matching funds to the Pueblo de San Ildefonso for their grant application for a New Middle Mile Fiber Optic Line Connecting White Rock to Pojoaque. (See my previous blog post for details.) Jerry says that the earliest that we could hear if the Pueblo gets the grant is the beginning of June. If they don’t get the grant, I hope the County and the Pueblo will try to negotiate a deal to build the link anyway.

Broadband Communities Summit

Jerry will attend the Broadband Communities Summit in Houston next week to learn how Multifamily Dwelling Units (MDUs) provide broadband. I was pleased last year when the home owner’s association at my condo in Portland Oregon began a transition from a Comcast Cable contract to providing broadband internet. Unfortunately other owners who prefer twentieth century technology objected, and now I’m paying $50 for cable that I don’t watch. Jerry says that about a third of the residences in the County are in MDUs and he wants them to have equal access to the CBN.

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