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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

AT&T Plans to Deploy Broadband Over Powerlines
A Brief History of Local Broadband Discussions

Image CC BY-SA 3.0 NY


Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) is one of the ways that acceptable internet speeds can be delivered to a large chunk of America, especially locations in rural areas where fiber optic to the home or internet via radio towers is not an option for telecommunication companies unwilling or unable to make an investment in their infrastructure. 

Edit with link added from commenter on Facebook: Whether or not they can make it work without causing interference to other users of the radio spectrum is a different question. [LINK]

Digital Trends has an article about BPL that makes for interesting reading. [LINK] It is where the video posted above originated.

BPL could fill in the gap until longer term delivery systems, like orbiting drones, come into play. Even that future is in doubt after Google has dropped it's plan to use drones to deliver internet access to under served locations. [LINK]

Residential access to internet speeds in excess of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up is going to be crucial to economic success in the next few years. 


Definitions

BPL = Broadband over Power Line [LINK]
Mbps = Megabits per second [LINK]

FCC Redefines Broadband [LINK]



Local Broadband Discussions

Access to a faster, and more reliable, internet service has been a topic of discussion for Macon County for a while now. Here are some links to how the discussion has gone in past years, with most recent videos and links first:

Broadband Presentation - December 2016




Broadband Discussion - October 2016




County Planning Board - September 2016






December 2015 Planning Board Meeting



Of course, the current delivery methods used by those who provide internet service is not going to be able to meet the FCC Definition of Broadband access (25 Mbps Up and 3 Mbps down) anytime soon, except in very small geographically confined locations.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to accessing faster internet is the government itself, as can seen seen in a TechDirt article from Jan 2016. [LINK]



I'll leave you with perhaps the granddaddy of the broadband discussions in Macon County, a meeting that took place in December 2011 hosted by MCNC and Advantage West at Southwestern Community College: [LINK]




Commentary and Call to Action

We geared up and won World War Two in less time than the period that has elapsed since the need for higher speed internet has been recognized.


To keep track of national developments in increasing access to broadband, keep an eye on the FCC web page "Measuring Broadband America." [LINK]

In the coming days, the 2017 report should be posted on that page. 

Perhaps the best way to ensure we get faster internet is to keep reminding your elected officials at the local, state and federal levels...and call your internet provider to ask them what they're doing to increase their internet speed.

Contact Details and Links to More Information

Franklin Town Board of Aldermen [LINK]

Macon County Commissioners [LINK]

State Representative [LINK]

State Senator [LINK]

US Congressman [LINK]

US Senators [LINK

FCC Consumer Guide to Getting Broadband [LINK]

NC Broadband [LINK]

National Broadband Map [LINK]

National Telecommunications & Information Administration Blog [LINK]

If you have any comments to add, please leave them on our Facebook Page. [LINK]


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