THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY JASPER DISTRICT 1 CITY COUNCILMAN ANDERSON LAND:
Here we go again with the City of Jasper wanting to do some form of Broadband initiative. Again I say "NO", not at the cost of $4,465,832.00. I have asked one of the most experienced persons in the area of broadband Mr. John Hargrove for his opinion, attached is that opinion. Mr. Hargrove had the opportunity to review the RFP and chose not to submit a proposal from his company. because of the vagueness of the RFP.
It has been stated that I am against every idea other council members bring to the agenda and am uncooperative. To that I say this, I will continue to fight to get the citizens the relief they need on their utility bills. That is my priority as well as other things. After that goal is accomplished, if the other council members want to bring their items to the agenda, I am open to discussing them. It seems like the council is only interested in using the money we have received from SRMPA on everything but giving back to the citizens in their utility bill.
Anderson M. Land Jr.
THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY RURAL BROADBAND ADVOCATE JOHN HARGROVE, OF BUNA:
After reviewing the proposals and the document RFP:
1. I do not see a business use case demonstrating why the City must spend tax dollars on the proposed fiber infrastructure. It appears to be a statement of 'We want fiber to the home and business and are willing to spend tax dollars to do it'. If that is the voter mandate, that is a fine one. It just does not appear to be stated anywhere why this needs to be done with tax dollars.
2. There are dozens of state and federal funding programs that can do this with a 15% match from the City taxpayer or even zero match. Someone is not doing due diligence on this, or the RFP would have been designed differently.
3. The 2000+ households referenced in the proposals already have access to cable, ATT Uverse, LTE, and 5G internet sources. If someone wants broadband, they have access now. The take rate of any new fiber system would be competing for that business, and the industry experience indicates it would be in the 20 to 30% range or about 600 customers. 600 customers will not support the cost of operating the proposed system, leaving the city taxpayers on the hook for making the difference each year or letting the system fail and wasting the 10 million investment.
4. 1 and 10 GIG speeds
1. This is marketeering garbage. Even streaming two 4K shows simultaneously only requires 50 Mbps download in bursts. Today's broadband use averages 5 Mbps during the peak usage hour. People only need 25/3 or at worst case, 50/10 for any use case, whether a home or small business,
2. EVERY system I have designed or looked at from cable providers to gigabit fiber systems, fails to deliver rated speeds most of the time reliably. That is reality. Cable/fiber providers in east texas struggle with reliability and performance, frequently, the gig circuit is only a 200 Mbps or less circuit in practice and during peak usage times.
3. 10 GIG promises, this is technically possible. But again why? nothing in the near future short of quantum computing clusters will require that in the rural environments. 10Gig to the home or business is a nice idea but there is no use case in the 5 year time frame and having the capability has to be weighed against the cost of doing it now with no use case.
4. 10 Gig from a traffic engineering viewpoint. If 40 customers were demanding 10 Gig streams, that saturates the fiber system normally provisioned by Fiberlight or AT&T from data centers in Houston or Dallas. So it is not realistic to promise that as a feature or capacity. It calls into question what is being promoted here.
5. My design for the City would be
1. Go obtain grants to equipment the library as a digital hub for the city
2. Build fiber trunks and 10 Gig wireless backhaul from the library to key places in the city (City hall, firestation or two, the utility service center etc).
3. Deploy a gigabit public wifi system for public access within the city proper
4. Encourage existing businesses to host WIFI use areas possibly with grant support to enable the poor and indigent to have a safe place to do online health, job searches etc
5. Setup digital rooms in the library, city hall, etc for citizens to reserve time to use for their digital life needs.
6. This would be done with very little city of jasper tax dollars. The majority would come from grants from federal or state sources and private foundations.
7. A design outlined in #5 is what would really help the city and its citizens with the new digital life and help reduce the digital divide in northern Jasper county.
In summary, I view this series from projects going back several years as a waste of tax dollars, time, and energy trying to do the wrong strategy for the right reasons.
John E Hargrove PE TX
RURAL BROADBAND Advocate