Real Life Situation

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As I became involved in the Broadband Study Committee, I became fascinated with the range of issues that were impacted by a truly enhanced bundled broadband internet service.
Of course, email, phone and TV are primary but understanding of how business, education and telehealth for those interested in "aging in place" especially on an island has affected me firsthand.
I've been aware for a while about the future use of interactive connections between medical personnel and patients with out having to always go to a medical office or facility, but assumed it was for mostly urban areas, but its everywhere now.
After recent heart surgery, I had to be fitted with an heart monitor whose sensors attached to my chest constantly transmit data constantly to a national service.
That is, it would, if there was a consistent strong signal through the telephonic device.
The unit stores all data to eventually be downloaded when the 30 days is up, but the ability of the service to alert me to a pending a emergency based on the information they're receiving is seriously compromised.
So for all us who are trying to age in place it is another reason to strongly consider the need to upgrade our island to a truly sustainable improved fiber based broad band service to every home and business on Great Chebeague.


Ron McKinnon (chairman of Broadband Committee)

Things are Happening

Well, a lot has been happening with the Broadband Committee and the Board of Selectman.

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  • BBC (Broadband Committee) developed "Executive Summary" for Board
  • Last week there was a public workshop, including Mark Ouellette of Axiom for a roundtable discussion of Public/Private partnerships, hardware, future uses of Internet, copper vs. fiber.
    • This week, Mark returned for additional discussions.
    • The selectman authorized up to $5,000 for Axiom to commence a "Pole" audit. 
    • Poles are the typical (but not the only) method of running fiber. The first step is to count poles and determine condition.
    • BBC is developing plan for Axiom of other "next steps".
    • BBC formulating Public Outreach program (yes we'll be looking for a few volunteers to donate a few hours of time) to make sure Chebeaguers know more about this process.
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Poles, poles, poles

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Axiom's proposal contained some innovative cost saving concepts.

We started this effort thinking the only way to work was, with poles.

Turns out, a significant cost savings (hundreds of thousands of dollars) might be available using conduit (fiber inside) - laid on/in the ground.

Poles require:

  • Making poles ready to accept hardware
  • Repairing some poles
  • Replacing some poles
  • Taking responsibility for repairing what you hang on the poles (way up high)
  • Annual license payment to the pole owner.

So, some communities are running fiber, where appropriate, through a very thick plastic conduit. Schedule 80 which is much, much heavier than PVC pipe you're familiar with.

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  • It can lay on top of the ground
  • Can buried 4" or so.
    • Can be micro trenched
  • More accessible for repair (not -way up high)
  • Better protected against Winter ice storms etc.
  • Conduit can be laid by Islanders and local contractors with final connections made by professionals.
  • The communities call these "Fiber Saturdays"
  • No annual licensing fees.
  • Requires cooperation from land owners

Not that it is the perfect solution but -it is another technique to consider

Copper vs. Fiber

Here's a great comparison of Copper vs. Fiber.

I know we keep talking about it but, based on some common misconceptions, but here's an interesting comparison.

In 2017, we requested information from 10 potential providers. Two (one was Axiom) responded with Fiber solutions. Fairpoint proposed enhancing the copper system that serves us. 

Recently we asked 10 potential providers to bid on our Fiber Build Out. Axiom was the only responder and was submitted to the Board of Selectman (see previous post)

 

 Guess which one is the Fiber ?

Guess which one is the Fiber ?

It works best on my front lawn

 Ever done this ?

Ever done this ?

How often do islanders talk about the "sweet spot" in their house, where they get best cell reception ?

You may want to consider "WiFi Calling" (we make no representations nor take any responsibility for any of this).

But, there are some islanders that use it.

Basically, your phone links to your WiFi, which connects it to your cell carrier. So if you're Internet routers provides wide coverage in your home, it might be less "fussy".

Here's a couple of links which might help you. 

https://www.cnet.com/news/what-you-need-to-know-about-wifi-calling/

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203032

https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/troubleshooting-wifi-calling-android-video/

 

You may want to call your cell carrier first to discuss.

Presentation to Board of Selectman

On February 14th, we reviewed the Axiom Proposal with the Board.

Along with Axiom's numbers, they included some innovative ways to reduce cost. Things that other communities are already doing (more on that later)

Here's a couple slides from the presentation.

 Fairpoint's Data comes via undersea fiber cable up to the DSlam (next to Clam Shack). They run fiber (green line) to the Library and School. But, the rest of the island runs on copper.

Fairpoint's Data comes via undersea fiber cable up to the DSlam (next to Clam Shack). They run fiber (green line) to the Library and School. But, the rest of the island runs on copper.

 Axiom's Data is via Microwave from Portland. Then fiber (blue line) to DSlam, then copper, to you.

Axiom's Data is via Microwave from Portland. Then fiber (blue line) to DSlam, then copper, to you.

 Basically, both Fairpoint and Axiom use the same copper lines. On the best days, internet speed looks like this. DSL technology and the resistance and condition of copper lines can offer no more. There are a few exceptions but basically, this is the way the island looks now.

Basically, both Fairpoint and Axiom use the same copper lines. On the best days, internet speed looks like this. DSL technology and the resistance and condition of copper lines can offer no more. There are a few exceptions but basically, this is the way the island looks now.

The Axiom proposal for all Fiber would provide

everyone equal speed

well beyond the minimum definition of Broadband

Is My TV Smart?

There's a good chance your TV is SMART and has some applications inside which allow you to watch TV - from the internet.

But, you can also get those applications on a "Device" like an Apple TV or Roku. 

When Cable TV first arrived, it was simple. You just subscribed and they provided hundreds of channels.

Now, the internet, allows you to "choose your own" content,  in smaller bites, and probably save money.

Various apps (usually requiring a subscription) "unlock" content on the internet so your TV can view it.

AND, to confuse things even more - you can get a number of channels - absolutely free -with a simple antenna. Just like the "old days". Actually some great HD content. More on this on a later post.

We tried to make this graphic as simple as possible.

Why ? Because you may find that using a Device, with the internet, is cheaper than Cable/Satellite.

There are a number of people using devices. You can actually get a Roku or Apple TV installed by a professional, at a reasonable price.

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