COLUMN – Fiber remains the best option for broadband – Kenbridge Victoria Dispatch

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I remember how everyone’s hopes were raised in Charlotte County when Microsoft partnered with MBC and promised to provide free wireless to all students in the county using the spectrum of spaces. newly released television whites, while Kinex was building nearly 15 miles of fiber in several areas and in most of the county’s schools.

We were asked to participate in the wireless testing, but declined because we knew it would take years for this to become a reality and it would never replace fiber. However, we decided to stop building fiber in Charlotte County because if they rolled out free wireless, while it doesn’t compare to fiber, it would take away any incentive for people to buy the internet. over fiber, and we would suffer a financial loss to Microsoft, and we weren’t prepared to take that risk.

Jim garrett

Ultimately, wireless failed and Charlotte County lost a participant willing to build more fiber.

I was reading Elon Musk’s satellite internet editorial and how promising it is. While this may have been news to some, it was not news to me because I live in this industry and keep track of all the supports and construction and subsidies in the state and in industry.

I have tried for years to get communities interested in fiber so that citizens don’t have substandard internet and put themselves at the top of the class instead of just second-rate media. However, for years I failed to get municipalities interested in fiber because of the cost. Most would support wireless, but that was just a gap that would eventually need to be replaced, which ultimately stalled the deployment of fiber. Satellite, while improved, is a barrier that diverts money away from fiber and will only hurt the investment in fiber that our community needs so badly.

During the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) conducted by the FCC last year, SpaceX’s satellite service carried so much political weight that it was allowed to bid against fiber on almost the same priority, which gave them so much political weight. allowed to bid across the country, driving down the price subsidy so low that many winning bidders struggle to find the balance of money needed to build fiber in the areas they won.

SpaceX has won a few census blocks, but very few overall, and a lot of localities are really upset because that has blocked any future money for fiber. SpaceX’s satellite would probably have been a good thing a decade ago, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the price, the fiber.

If enough people get the SpaceX satellite in a census block, with their 80 to 100 megabyte internet that is affected by weather conditions and has much higher latency times than fiber, the FCC will exclude this area from subsidies. federal, as well as the state, blocking any future fiber investment.

Kinex won $ 10 million in RDOF auction to build fiber optics to every census block group in Prince Edward County that does not have broadband, to each census block group in the county of Lunenburg which has no broadband except for two that another bidder won, and every census group of blocks in Cumberland County which does not have broadband from the courthouse to Farmville . I had to bid against SpaceX to win this grant so I could build fiber optics in almost 8,000 homes and make sure our region doesn’t end up with a second-rate internet that could take a decade or more. to be replaced by the gold standard. , fiber.

Will the satellite work? Yes. Is it better than nothing? Yes. Is it comparable to fiber? No never.

Go ask the first hundred or so clients we built in Lunenburg County or our ongoing fiber construction at Cumberland Courthouse, Dinwiddie, Charlotte County, Chatham and so many other areas in which we built the fiber. Don’t take my word for it. Search it on Google. MBC (the large fiber network built by the Tobacco Commission that became the long-haul model for the United States) tested a terabyte link on its network almost ten years ago.

We have 100 gigabyte links across Farmville using the same fiber that we direct to businesses and people’s homes.

SpaceX offers speeds of up to 100 megabytes which are sometimes affected by weather conditions at a much higher cost than our lowest input speed of 75 megabytes which we run on 1 gigabyte circuits that can be opened at 1 gigabyte with a simple keystroke, and it’s unaffected by time. SpaceX has an installation fee of $ 500 and we charge zero, although we spend a lot more on labor and customer equipment.

Kinex has invested in our communities and wants to see our community thrive because it helps us all.

We are currently working on engineering, planning, contracting, financial lending, and hopefully additional grants to bring this fiber-to-the-home project to fruition. We need the support of citizens and county councils to make this a reality. Satellite is a temporary medium until fiber arrives, so focusing on fiber now will be a game-changer and put our region on the map. Kinex’s plan invests $ 10 million in awarded grants and an additional $ 10 million in revenue generated over the life of the project to ensure that everyone in the areas mentioned above is served.

Please don’t take a shortcut and change the citizens of our region. Let’s build a fiber network.

Jim garrett is the owner of Kinex Telecom Inc., a broadband provider in Lunenburg.

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