Building Community Capacity through Broadband (BCCB) Initiative. Frequently Asked Questions

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1 Building Community Capacity through Broadband (BCCB) Initiative Frequently Asked Questions Why is broadband important? Fast, reliable Internet service is essential infrastructure for economic and community development, supporting market expansion efforts, business creation and offering the ability to attract and retain businesses and young people in a community. It also is critical infrastructure for public safety, education, health care, employment searches and community engagement all elements that contribute to a high quality of life in a community. What is the BCCB initiative about? In 2010 the University of Wisconsin Extension applied for and received two federal grants, one for infrastructure to improve broadband access by installing fiber optic cable in four communities the Chippewa Valley region, Platteville, Superior and Wausau and one for outreach and education to maximize broadband use in those communities and the Menominee Nation. How and where will the cable be installed? Most of the approximately 630 miles of cable will be installed underground in existing state and local road right of way. The 12 wireless/wimax towers to be installed will be self supporting towers (no guy wires), less than 200 feet in height and compliant with Federal Communications Commission rules. The towers will be placed on city or county lands in the Chippewa Valley service area. (See the map on the last page of this document.) What will be the effects on the environment? Effects on the environment are expected to be minimal, as the fiber will be trenched underground on previously disturbed road right of way. Identified archeological resources, wetlands and any special habitat will be avoided to the greatest extent possible. UW Extension has contracted with the firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) to document the environmental effects in an environmental assessment that will meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act. 1

2 How can I find out more about fiber cable and the tower installations? Four public informational meetings are scheduled around the state. Maps will be displayed showing the locations of the fiber installation. Included here is a map showing the general location of the fiber and tower installations. For additional information, you may contact: Andrew Bernstein Building Community Capacity through Broadband CAN Fiber Manager UW Extension Office of Broadband Sustainability 644 W. Washington Avenue Madison, WI or What are some of the economic benefits of broadband? Creates new business opportunities for companies by expanding markets globally for online sales of goods and services. Supports tourism industry through online reservations. Allows participation in government programs requiring Internet based reports. Enhances ability to search for jobs and candidates for jobs. Helps attract and retain highly specialized employees. Eliminates travel costs through virtual meetings. Expands telecommuting. Reduces training costs through online education. Expands online degree completion for better paying jobs. Cuts health care costs through medical record sharing. Reduces costly helicopter patient transfers through remote review of diagnostics. Reduces cost to access public records. What is UW Extension s role in expanding broadband access in Wisconsin? UW Extension responded to voiced community needs for expanded high capacity Internet access. Staff at UW Extension acted as facilitators and catalysts to bring community members together and to write grants to secure federal stimulus funds. UW Extension s role will continue to be a role of education, seeing that the communities understand how to leverage the expanded technology today and into the future. Ongoing support for communication and local leadership also will be available to the demonstration communities. UW Extension s goals include: To educate local users about the importance of high capacity Internet and how they can use it to improve their lives and their communities. To serve as a catalyst for communities working to bring high capacity Internet access at affordable rates to their key community institutions. 2

3 To teach communities how to replicate and manage the successful community area network structure implemented in the Chippewa Valley region of Wisconsin. To help communities build demand for new broadband subscribers, which will provide opportunities for additional private providers. Why is UW Extension involved in an Internet technology grant? UW Extension is involved because broadband is a sustainable infrastructure needed by Wisconsin communities regardless of their size or location. Because there is a lack of understanding about broadband benefits, locally tailored educational outreach and hands on training is paramount. Over the past century, UW Extension has assisted communities in every county through community educators who address pressing problems in ways that develop ownership and capacity locally. This effort is a natural expansion to address an issue that can make the difference between communities perishing or flourishing. What grants did UW Extension and partners apply for? Two Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grants totaling approximately $32.3 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds from the federal government: 1. UW Extension and partners applied for and received $29.9 million in a Comprehensive Community Infrastructure (CCI) grant for middle mile infrastructure in four demonstration communities. The grant application requested $29,884,914 in federal support, with other funding for the $42.7 million project coming from statewide partners and local partners in the four communities: Chippewa Valley region (area defined as south to Mondovi, north to Spooner, east to Fairchild and west to Menomonie) Platteville Superior Wausau (Note: The Menominee Nation was not included in this grant because that community is working with a private provider for broadband service. The Menominee Nation also independently applied for and received a Public Computer Center grant.) 2. UW Extension and partners also applied for and received approximately $2.4 million in a Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) grant for local educational campaigns about the benefits of broadband in five demonstration communities, followed by a statewide campaign. The grant application requested about $2.4 million in federal funds, with almost $1 million more for the $3.4 million project coming from statewide partners and local partners in five communities: Chippewa Valley region Menominee Nation 3

4 Platteville Superior Wausau This education and outreach project includes: Media campaign to raise awareness, particularly among residents who don t have Internet access of any kind at home and households that have access but currently choose not to subscribe. Education and training through seminars, webinars and presentations at community gatherings for the general public and for entrepreneurs interested in opening online markets and/or new businesses. Expanded broadband access at public institutions that can serve residents who may not be able to afford home access. Mobile training with laptops for those in remote areas. Encouragement of experimentation with the service. When will the funded projects start? Educational efforts at the five demonstration communities, funded through the Sustainable Broadband Adoption grant, will begin in late Installation of fiber optic cable will begin in spring of 2011 and take three years to complete. Some institutions in these communities in the infrastructure grant, such as schools, are already served by broadband. How is this different from what already exists? The Federal Communications Commission definition of high speed Internet covers services down to 200 kilobits per second, which is fine for web browsing but slow for data intensive services such as sending medical records or video. When we say high capacity, we are talking about speeds between 1 gigabit and 10 gigabits per second, which is closer to what our international competitors have now. Will any households or businesses get high capacity Internet as a result of this project? Yes. While the CCI project focuses on access for community institutions, another 3,788 households and 427 businesses are projected to be connected as a result of the infrastructure work and partnerships with last mile providers over the next five years. 4

5 Who will own the fiber? The local community area networks will own the fiber within their communities and will work together to determine future needs. The long haul fiber between communities has 96 strands and will be divided among BCCB partners, with 42 strands owned by CCI Systems, Inc., 42 by UW and 12 by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. According to federal requirements, all fiber must be used in an open network. The private provider, CCI Systems, Inc., will be able to sell access to its fiber through the splice points every few miles. How will this work with the other Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grants received by the State of Wisconsin? The Wisconsin Department of Administration has received a grant for Wisconsin Education and Library Broadband Infrastructure Build out (WELBIB) and the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has received a grant for the Metropolitan United Fiber Network (MUFN). The projects focus on different anchor institutions and the infrastructure is complementary, allowing for information transfer at the highest available speeds. 5

6 Building Community Capacity through Broadband Project Location Map Area 3: Eau Claire to Superior Douglas Bayfield Ashland Iron Area 4: Central Wisconsin Vilas Burnett Washburn Sawyer Florence Price Oneida Forest Polk Barron Rusk Marinette St. Croix Pierce Dunn Pepin Chippewa Eau Claire Clark Taylor Lincoln Marathon Langlade Menominee Shawano Oconto Kewaunee Door Buffalo Jackson Wood Portage Waupaca Outagamie Brown Trempealeau Waushara Winnebago Calumet Manitowoc Area 2: Eau Claire La Crosse Monroe Juneau Adams Marquette Green Lake Fond du Lac Sheboygan Vernon Richland Sauk Columbia Dodge Washington Ozaukee Crawford Iowa Dane Jefferson Waukesha Milwaukee Grant Racine Legend Lafayette Green Rock Walworth Kenosha Proposed Fiber Existing Fiber Connections Proposed Tower Locations Area 1: Madison to Platteville EXHIBIT 1

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