Wired Communities, Smart States:
Is Digital Infrastructure the New Public Works?
November 19-20, 1997
El Pomar Conference Center
and Broadmoor Hotel
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Summary Report prepared by John Niles
11-12-97 Media Advisory


Center for the New West — Denver
Global Telematics — Seattle
El Pomar Foundation — Colorado Springs

Sponsors Who Made this Forum Possible!

Council of State Governments - West
National Association of State Telecommunications Directors
Utah League of Cities and Towns
Center for Civic Networking
FARNET, Inc -- States Inventory Project
Colorado Rural Development Council
New Telecom Quarterly
Cable World

ICG Telecom Group
Lucent Technologies
U S WEST Communications
America West Airlines
Arizona Public Service Company
Phelps Dodge Corporation


Opportunities created by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, coupled with new technologies and continuing economic development impulses, are motivating many U.S. state and local governments to commit public taxing authority and bonding capacity to build infrastructure for high-speed, broadband telecommunications services, particularly Internet access and video services.

These builds provide an alternative or supplement to investor-financed infrastructure. A variety of relationships between government and private sector telecommunications companies can result, including conventional customer-supplier relations, provider partnerships, and competition between government and business.

This El Pomar Forum assembled public officials, policy research professionals, and practitioners in the design, development and operation of "smart" communities and government networks. The agenda put a spotlight on success stories and ongoing controversies to highlight the opportunities and risks for public sector agencies wanting to remove the obstacles to high-speed, broadband deployment in order to take advantage of new telecomputing technologies in government agencies and beyond.


The Forum Chairman was Phil Burgess, President and CEO, Center for the New West, 303-572-5400 or E-mail: pburgess@newwest.org .


The Forum was moderated by John Niles, President, Global Telematics, Seattle, Washington, 206-781-4475 or E-mail: newwest@globaltelematics.com


November 19 — Day 1 (evening, 6:00 - 9:30 p.m.): Framing the Issue

• Reception and Dinner

Community and Government Networks: Visionary Leadership or Mission Creep? by John Niles, President, Global Telematics, Seattle.

This presentation framed the topic by distinguishing the issue of government infrastructure networks with facility ownership from the community networking movement emphasizing web site content and applications. Also covered the ongoing migration from POTS to PANS, including the growing proportion of traffic moving from circuit-switched voice networks to packet-switched data networks. A framework for considering the issues was presented.

November 20 — Day 2 (8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.):

The day was made up of presentations to frame the issues, intermixed with discussion.

State and Sub-State Regional Strategies

1. ICN, Iowa Communications Network, a State of Iowa government-owned and operated fiber communications network.
David Roederer, Economic Development Coordinator, Iowa State University; Former Chief of Staff to the Governor

2. State of Utah Electronic Highway, a government-sponsored "telecommunications partnering" approach to statewide infrastructure development. See also SmartUTAH.
Gordon Peterson, Chief Information Officer, State of Utah

3. "Do you want grass, cows, milk, or cheese?"
Kevin Taylor, General Manager for Local Markets, U S WEST Communications.

4. "Any Way they Can" -- Oregon's experience with three collaborative models to bring fiber optic infrastructure to rural regions by leveraging massive telecommunications investments. The first was a cooperative formed by a utility district, local government and private consultants to exploit easements along the Oregon coast. The second was a demand aggregation process that caused a six million dollar investment in fiber over 83 miles to a remote community. The third idea used a critical function of state government to motivate installation of fiber 110 miles into Eastern Oregon. Online version of this presentation.
Jeff Ritter, Telecommunications Specialist, Oregon Economic Development Department

5. Other State Government telecommunications network deployment trends, and their relationship to rural telecommunications development policy.
Bruce Egan, Executive Vice President, INDETEC International; Affiliated Research Fellow, Columbia Institute for Tele-Information (CITI).

City Strategies

1. Municipal electric power utilities leading the way in using energy management as a first step in a cooperative strategy for building a ubiquitous broadband network; e.g., City of Tacoma, WA.
Steve Rivkin, Attorney at Law, Washington, DC; Author, Positioning the Electric Utility to Build Information Infrastructure, U.S. Dept. of Energy Research Report.

2. How some local governments are coordinating multiple private providers in the new competitive environment. (Presentation deferred; summary written version in the record.)
Walter Bobkiewicz, Telecommunications Director, City of Long Beach, California.

3. Overview of local government network construction and operation from a local government telecommunications planning and public interest viewpoint.
Brenda Trainor, Board Member, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA); Senior Vice President, Media Connections Group; former Telecommunications Manager, Clark County, Nevada.

4. Public right-of-way as an asset; as a leverage point in government negotiations with private sector incumbent and new competitive telecommunications carriers.
Paul Morris, City Attorney, West Valley, Utah; Chair, Telecom Task Force of Utah League of Cities and Towns.

Cross Cutting Issues

1. Non-tax revenues, use of bonds, "buy v. lease" and other government finance issues (deferred item).

2. Constitutional issues in government ownership of telecommunications networks (deferred item).

3. Reacting flexibly to technological change, including new copper and wireless ways to deliver broadband services. An industry overview of what's coming.
Joe Glynn, Director, Product Marketing, Megabit Services, U S WEST Communications.

4. Can state and local government broadband infrastructure investment boost the digital economy through network externalities that are otherwise unavailable, similar to the way that Federal investment in the nationwide Internet backbone is claimed to have done?
Richard Civille, Executive Director, Center for Civic Networking

Summary Report

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