- You can review the city's submissions here: http://1.usa.gov/W6C2nQ
- Short messages that convey how the projects will affect you are the most effective.
- I suggest we all keep our messages positive, unless you really don't want to see any of the projects funded. It's fine to explain why a given project is your personal top priority, but if people start sniping at projects they don't necessarily favor, I expect all will be rejected.
- Contacts: Dennis Egan and Beth Kerttula. Given the short times involved, phone calls, e-mails, and faxes will be better than letters via snail mail.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Friday, September 16, 2011
ACS Wireless Upgrade
ACS has upgraded their wireless Internet service to 3G. Now those within range can get download speeds of 500-800 kilobits/sec with higher bursts. This performance is similar to GCN broadband, but is available to many more Gustavus residents. I have heard reports that, with the repeater unit, reception is better than for cell phones, so even if your cell phone does not work at home the wireless Internet service might. Prices are reasonable, from $30-$80/month depending on the data plan chosen and maybe whether it is bundled with voice service. AT&T has not yet upgraded their cellular service in Gustavus, so it continues to deliver dial-up speeds. Other providers like Sprint and Verizon roam through either ACS or AT&T but I do not know which. Details from ACS...
Both GCN broadband and ACS 3G service barely qualify as "broadband" today, and the same is true of satellite service from HughesNet and StarBand. Speedtest.net gives all of these a grade of "F." So we need not and should not be satisfied with our current options.
Last October, Gustavus voters voted down a $150,000 wireless broadband network proposal to be funded from the Gustavus Endowment Fund. But in July the State of Alaska granted $235,000 to the City of Gustavus to plan and design a model last-mile community broadband network. The grant will not actually build anything, but it will result in a detailed, funding-ready, well-justified and engineered plan and design that we can use to seek funding for construction in the winter of 2013-2014. That planning effort is now underway, and you can learn all about it and get involved and subscribe to updates by visiting the project's web site.
So we have a new option to keep us connected in the short term, and a concerted effort is underway to plan for the long term.
Monday, March 28, 2011
For full details, see my 2011 State of the Net Report.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
The future of broadband Internet access and the Gustavus Community Network (GCN) looks bleak this fall.
- In May I gave the city council notice that I will continue volunteer maintenance and operations for the community network only through June 30, 2011. Sixteen years is enough, and I know maintenance and operations will never be professionalized unless and until I quit volunteering.
- Ballot measure 1, which would have lent up to $150,000 from the Gustavus endowment fund to build a community-wide broadband network, failed to gain the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass.
Rivada-Sea Lion's $60 million broadband stimulus grant application for a wireless network that would serve Gustavus and other communities throughout Southeast Alaska was denied.
Will GCN remain a city-owned public utility, and if so how will it pay for maintenance and operations next fiscal year, much less expand broadband coverage to the entire community?
Or will GCN be privatized and if so, can an operator be found and on what terms, and how will that affect service and prices?
Or will GCN simply cease to exist, and how will that affect the 79 Gustavus households it currently serves?These are questions the GCN committee will be considering this fall.
Friday, October 1, 2010
SoapboxOriginally posted on the Gustavus community page approximately November, 2009.
I am excited to have Paul Berry as our mayor! In his first month in office he has combined his understanding of city operations and issues with a vision of open and efficient government to streamline procedures, make the inner workings of the city more accessible, and draw up a road map of issues that need to be addressed, all with unassailable integrity and good humor.
A great example of his leadership is the work session notes he published on October 20. I highly recommend this "State of the City" report to anyone who wants to understand where we are and where we need to go.
And if you have something to add, I see Paul is having "coffee with the Mayor" Thursdays at 2 pm at the Fireweed gallery and coffee house. As always, you can also submit your comments and questions to the city council in writing. And for the latest city council news you can follow the city council forum.
In The Geography of Bliss Eric Weiner writes, "Canadian happiness researcher John Helliwell believes that quality of government is the single most important variable that explains why some countries are happier than others." Weiner explorers many other variables in the book including my favorite, connectedness to nature, but who could argue that good government is an important factor?
I would like to thank outgoing council members Sandi Marchbanks, Wayne Howell, Lou Cacioppo, and Bill Unkel for all their hard work promoting our collective happiness. Thanks largely to their efforts (and to all the other council members and city staff and volunteers and participating citizens) Gustavus is already the envy of small governments across Alaska. And now Paul is working to set an even higher standard.
Volunteer Webmaster, Community Section
City of Gustavus
Sunday, August 31, 2008
If you want to know more you'll just have to visit my web site.