Conexon Blog

September 11, 2019

A Lost Decade: Ten years ago, the federal government began to implement a broadband policy that put rural America at a structural economic disadvantage to the rest of the country. We can do better.

It’s been over a decade since passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), which in part allocated many millions of dollars to the FCC to write a national broadband plan. By the summer of 2009, dozens of consultants were beavering away in FCC offices. An FCC task force was created, leading to 36 […]

Conexon Blog
January 25, 2019

When Nothing is Better than Something: Your rural community may be blocked from receiving better internet service because of the availability of satellite. And what you can do about it.

The Connect America Fund II auction was largely a success. For less than half the money per location previously spent on 4/1 Mbps and 10/1 Mbps services, rural electric cooperatives have secured $250 million in funding to build fiber networks and offer Gigabit services. And then there was the participation by a single satellite bidder […]

Conexon Blog
January 24, 2019

Congratulations, Mississippi Electric Coops! Now, let’s build some rural broadband networks.

At a Broadband Communities conference a while ago, the theme was: There is not just one “right way.” I disagree, at least when it comes to electric coops. There is a right way. Fiber-to-the-home networks, like electric networks, are large-scale infrastructure projects. It is important to understand what has worked, what hasn’t worked, and why. […]

Conexon Blog
August 27, 2018

Dear RUS: How to Prove a Negative (Part 2)

In addition to the criteria described in Part 1, I propose one more criterion concerning the validity of the National Broadband Maps: evidence of consumer decisions. If, by surveys or outreach, it becomes evident that fewer than 10% of the households subscribe to an ISP’s service, the RUS should count the area as unserved by […]

Conexon Blog
August 23, 2018

Dear Rural Utilities Service: How to Prove a Negative, or Why the National Broadband Maps stink and what to do about it (Part 1)

The Rural Utilities Service is seeking comment on several aspects of its new rural broadband pilot program. The most significant of the questions relates to where public funds may be spent. Congress has determined that the funds be used only in areas unserved by broadband, where unserved is defined in the first year as areas […]

Conexon Blog
May 7, 2018

Overbuilding, aka Competition, is the American Way

When I was a college and graduate student, I studied the Soviet Union – its history, military, culture, and economic system. I studied Russian language at language immersion programs here and in the Soviet Union. During the beginning of end of the Cold War, when Gorbachev first became president, I lived in the Soviet Union. […]

Conexon Blog
April 7, 2018

Five Buckets of Federal Funding for Rural Broadband – A Primer

Over the past decade, federal programs that support broadband have adopted various approaches in determining who gets funding where: grant applications, auctions, portable consumer subsidies, and legacy subsidies for incumbent telephone companies. The following is a primer on the five largest sources of federal funds for rural broadband and the mechanisms currently in place. CAF […]

Conexon Blog
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