Dark fiber paying off in Florida’s Lakeland (Community Broadband Networks) August 1, 2013

Near the center of Florida sits Lakeland, the largest city between Orlando and Tampa with 98,000 residents. The area boasts 38 lakes, citrus crops, and a growing healthcare industry. Lakeland also owns a fiber optic network serving education, business, and government. To learn more, we spoke with Paul Meyer, Lakeland Electric Fiber Optics Supervisor.

Commission discusses Orland’s development (Orland Press Register) May 17, 2013

For years, Orland officials have wanted high-speed Internet for the city, but believed they did not have the fiberoptics needed for it.

It turns out city businesses have had it available since 2004 through Comcast, according to Gary Campbell.

Stimulus funded 800 lb gorilla puts squeeze on financially strapped Bradford County Schools (Columbia County Observer) May 16, 2013

The saga of the North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA), the Obama Stimulus funded broadband government consortium, which has squandered millions in cost overruns and falsely claims it is a public utility, was once 14 member counties strong. It has now dwindled down to seven (see map). After losing the trust of over half the elected public officials in its consortium, the NFBA is fighting back. Funded by the American People, the NFBA has taken on the financially strapped Bradford County School District.

More free wi-fi in parks (Muni Wireless) May 6, 2013

As I mentioned in The Return of Large Scale Wi-Fi Deployments, municipalities have bigger budgets these days, thanks to the improving economy in the United States, so they’re spending it on new Wi-Fi deployments or upgrades of existing public Wi-Fi networks. Here are few examples in Florida:

Bartow looks to build community owned fiber network (Community Broadband Networks) April 11, 2013

Bartow, Florida, located in Polk County near the center of the state, is considering a FTTH network for the community’s 17,000 residents. At a recent City Commission meeting, members decided to put city administrators on task and develop a plan to eventually offer triple play services to residents.

Bartow envisions citywide fiber optic network: services could be available next year (The Ledger) April 6, 2013

Bartow is ready to move full speed into the fiber optic business.

After hearing a consultant’s report on options for expanding the city’s existing fiber optic system to include Internet, television and telephone service to businesses and residents, commissioners told city administrators to develop a plan for implementing such an expansion.

Broadband program struggles (Daily Yonder) April 5, 2013

Backers of an agency that is building out high-speed internet access to rural northern Florida are blaming anti-government sentiment for some of the agency’s difficulties in expanding broadband access in the region.

Another member of the North Florida Broadband Authority drops out (Coalition for the New Economy) March 26, 2013

The Gainesville Sun reported last week that yet another member of the North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA) has dropped out of the consortium. The Sun explained, “The Gilchrist County Commission voted unanimously Monday night to withdraw membership from the North Florida Broadband Authority, making it the eighth of 15 member counties, along with the city of Perry, to have opted out over the past year …”

Hopes for rural broadband are dimming (Gainesville Sun) March 19, 2013

The agency charged with bringing high-speed broadband service to rural North Florida is facing a crisis of credibility as it tries to get more paying customers so it can function beyond the life of a $30 million federal stimulus grant that expires in September.

Greenville Town Council approves broadband lease (Green Publishing) March 14, 2013

The Greenville Town Council devoted several minutes to discussing the proposed broadband lease agreement with the North Florida Broadband Association, with NFBA General Manager Richelle Sucara at the podium, summing up what was in the contract and answering questions.

Federal hearing may answer what is the measure of success at the North Florida Broadband Authority (Columbia County Observer) February 26, 2013

Tomorrow morning the congressional Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will be holding hearings at 10 am. Last week the staff of the committee contacted the Observer and after a few brief conversations regarding the North Florida Broadband Authority, the following statement was sent to the Committee Chairman, the Hon. Fred Upton. The subject of the hearing is, “Is the Broadband Stimulus Working?”

Feds puts failing stimulus funded North Florida Broadband Authority on life support (Columbia City Observer) February 15, 2013

Feds put failing stimulus funded NFBA on life support. 3yrs and $28+ mil later, 60 customers, $15k a month revenue and no revenue model.

Zayo lays out fiber plans for Jacksonville (Fierce Telecom) February 13, 2013

Leveraging the USCarrier assets it purchased last year, Zayo on Wednesday announced it is going to expand its overall network into the Jacksonville, Fla., Market…

…What’s significant about this network buildout effort is that it is the company’s first big metro fiber build in Florida. …

…When it acquired the remaining piece of USCarrier last October, Zayo immediately deepened its fiber network presence in the Southeast United States with an additional 3,700-mile regional fiber network that connects a number of key markets including Atlanta, Jacksonville, Fla., Tallahassee, Fla., Nashville, Tenn., and Chattanooga, Tenn.

Tampa municipal buildings introduce public wi-fi, and more access could be on the way (February 5, 2013

Finding a place to get online is a little easier in Tampa these days. The city is installing hot spots at many of its high-traffic buildings. And this may just be the first step in a completely internet-accessible city.

Government-owned broadband networks a headache for their owners (Sunshine State News) January 19, 2013

Last year, the R Street Institute expressed serious concerns with a proposed government-owned broadband network (GON) project in Southwest Florida.

North Florida Broadband Authority: $30 million later, the N. Central Florida Regional Planning Council was clueless (Columbia County Observer) January 25, 2013

…The North Florida Broadband Authority Project has been the poster child of accomplishment for the NFEDP and its Executive Director, Jeff Hendry, FSU’s Director of the Institute of Government since 2009, even though the feds temporarily suspended the project based on allegations of waste, fraud and abuse; its project manager has had badges of fraud pinned on him by a federal bankruptcy judge; and its $15,000 a month general manager has no telecommunications or real world business experience….

Government-owned broadband networks a headache for their owners (Sunshine State News) January 19, 2013

Last year, the R Street Institute expressed serious concerns with a proposed government-owned broadband network (GON) project in Southwest Florida.

North Florida Broadband Authority: After general counsel’s response FL’s public record laws are the latest casuality of the NFBA (Columbia County Observer) January 13, 2013

Late yesterday afternoon, January 7, 2013, North Florida Broadband Authority General Counsel, Jennifer Springfield, who has run roughshod over Florida’s public record laws since her secret procurement by NFBA Board Chairman Tommy Langford in early 2012, emailed the Observer and took exception to the Observer’s recent article,North Florida Broadband Authority: FL’s Public Record Laws the latest casualty. Attorney Springfield claimed that she had never received the four public record requests which were sent to her on December 17, 2012, and referenced in the article.

Government-owned broadband networks a headache for their owners (R Street Institute) January 9, 2013

Last year the R Street Institute expressed serious concerns with a proposed government-owned broadband network (GON) project in southwest Florida. After attending a public input workshop organized by the Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council to discuss plans of establishing a GON, we explained how government is fundamentally ill-equipped with managing such networks and keeping up with technological advances and the capital investments they demand; GONs are a drain on taxpayers; and how such GONs-despite safeguards and good intentions-undermine competition from private companies actually experienced in delivering cutting-edge service and technology, among other things.


North Florida Broadband Authority (Letter to the editor – Suwannee Democrat) December 14, 2012

Concerning the Dec. 5 broadband article presented by Bryant Thigpen, I would like to thank The Suwannee Democrat for keeping the public informed. The article brought up many questions that the Broadband Authority should answer. The Internet provided some background on the National Broadband Plan and its intended purposes.

North Florida Broadband Authority: More bad news. (Columbia County Observer) December 10, 2012

The saga of the ill fated Obama Stimulus funded North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA, a government entity)continues. The November Board meeting was cancelled due to the sudden firing of loyal Board Clerk Faith Doyle. A week before, the NFBA’s Community Outreach Director, Theresa Westberry, suddenly resigned, but the best kept secret of all was the earlier demise of the NFBA’s second last mile provider, Last Mile Wifi, run by 30 year industry veteran Tom Gregory, who learned that 30 years in the industry couldn’t protect him from the NFBA culture.

Local broadband service gaps defined (The Ledger) September 15, 2012

A year after business leaders and the Central Florida Regional Planning Council launched an effort to improve broadband access in Polk County, there’s an effort to get more public input, especially from the business community, on how important fast, reliable Internet access is to them.

Effort grows to expand rural broadband access despite rocky start (Gainesville Sun) August 16, 2012

As the IT director for Aucilla Christian Academy in Monticello, Richard Roccanti used to tell teachers not to bother downloading a program for the printer on their classroom computers. It would take too long – anywhere from six hours to overnight – and then only if the download wasn’t interrupted or canceled.

Government-owned not the way to go with broadband (Coalition for the New Economy) May 9, 2012

An increasing number of Floridians are turning to broadband to access the Internet. But that does not mean they don’t care who provides this service, or how new broadband infrastructure is built and paid for.

According to a new poll by the Florida Coalition for the New Economy (CNE), nearly three-quarters — 73 percent — of Floridians don’t want government to use local, state or federal taxpayer funds to compete with the private sector.

This includes broadband.

Perry, FL drops out of North Florida Broadband Authority (FierceTelecom) April 12, 2012

Another domino fell in the planned middle mile network chain that is the North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA) as the City of Perry, Fla. voted Tuesday to withdraw from the organization, citing the authority’s lack of action as well as the availability of broadband to the city through multiple wireline and wireless service providers, according to a report in the Columbia County Observer.

Florida Voters Oppose Government Competition with Private Business (Florida Opinion Research for Coalition for the New Economy) March 20, 2012

A poll released on March 20, 2012 by the Florida Coalition for the New Economy concluded Florida voters don’t want local governments competing with private business. The survey of 801 Florida voters showed 73 percent oppose allowing local governments to use taxpayer funds, including federal stimulus dollars, to compete against the private sector. Only 14 percent favor using taxpayer funds for this purpose, while 13 percent were undecided.

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