OneCleveland the model for citywide broadband

OneCleveland the model for citywide broadband

Summary: Cleveland is the model for municipal wireless, according to an upcoming report from the Haas Charitable Trust. Because government has purchased dark fiber and private industry has donated fiber, equipment and access, Cleveland has a powerful network poised to deliver 21st century solutions.


Lev Gonick, VP of information technology at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland and a major force in OneCleveland (part of Intel's Digital Communities), has a prerelease excerpt from a  major report from the Haas Charitable Trust, "Broadband Community Networks: Building the Digital Commons," which features the OneCleveland broadband initiative as a "model" for municipal wireless broadband across the U.S.

Here's an excerpt of the excerpt. Interested readers should also look at Gonick's proposal for a multi-tiered wireless framework. (Via MuniWireless.)

OneCleveland is a nonprofit provider of community-based ultra high-speed broadband to educational, governmental, research, cultural and healthcare organizations. It is about to extend its services into Northeast Ohio as a whole, including the cities of Akron and Youngstown.

The clients are nonprofits, research, cultural and educational institutions of all kinds, as well as government agencies. ...

Through these partner/members, OneCleveland serves individuals at one remove – that is, people subscribing to the member organizations, or working with them, or making use of them, receive the benefit of OneCleveland’s super connectivity. The ultra broadband network has mostly been created by lighting up dark fiber that covered a remarkable amount of the city of Cleveland and its suburbs. Most of the fiber was donated by its owners, and a lot of the backbone equipment used to operate the network was given by Cisco Systems. Global Crossing’s core router in downtown Cleveland provides the principal link to the Internet.

... What is now needed – and Cleveland is the perfect place to do it because its institutions have an unusual willingness to partner while still preserving their competitiveness – is some concentrated experimentation in other kinds of content development. In particular, government and community agencies need to set the technologists to work to develop ways in which social services can usefully and economically make use of broadband distribution. Can healthcare, notably the large part of it that involves education, be better disseminated over interactive broadband? Can welfare-to-work (again, the educational elements) be better achieved via broadband? Can employment opportunities, job retraining, services for senior citizens, and hundreds of other services for all parts of the population be efficiently (and humanely) delivered over broadband to people in their homes or at some convenient gathering point?

Topics: Broadband, Networking

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  • government ownership of the means of production ...

    Didn't somebody try having government own the means of production? And wasn't the outcome abandoning the effort, after thousands began leaving Warsaw Pact countries for the West?

    Seems like there's a lesson to be learned there.

    Re-inventing the wheel is one thing. But re-inventing the flat tire? -Eric
    • This is infrastructure, not production, though

      Infrastructure is different than production. Who owns the roadways? Who maintains them? In the Middle Ages, ownership of transportation passageways was more common than it is now. The owners cared more about collecting the tolls than they did about maintaining the safety and usability of their "product". There was little or no recourse for the users of those passageways. If the customer didn't like the road, what else were they going to do? There was no other option, thus no incentive to improve or to maintain the infrasturcture. Those times are still referred to as the "Dark Ages"--ages when we lost progress.

      When my local roads are in bad condition, I get a chance to vote the CEO (mayor, county councilman, etc.) out of a job every few years. I can ask to see the account books to see where the funds collected are being allocated. I can then call for some accountability from my locally elected officers. I don't have those opportunities with my local phone company.

      Also, I do not live in a metropolis. Waiting for a large corportation to decide my neighborhood is "ready" for an information infrastructure could take another generation. I'm from a society where, if a job needs done, then people roll up there sleeves, pitch in, and get it done.

      I accept that neither private nor public management system is perfect. But, when it comes to infrastructure, I'd prefer to hang on to the responsibility, thank you.