Business Models for Rural Broadband

October 27, 2006
Columbia University
207 Warren Hall
New York, New York

Broadband is increasingly available in rural areas around the globe. How does rural broadband availability in the US compare? What factors determine its economic viability and which technologies are being deployed? What do case studies of rural broadband reveal about costs and business models, the providers, the technology and government involvement?


9:30 AM Welcome

  • Darcy Gerbarg
    Conference Organizer, Senior Fellow CITI
  • Robert Atkinson
    Director of Policy Research, CITI

9:45 AM Rural America's Demand for Broadband Services

What are rural America's broadband needs? Do rural communities' broadband needs differ from urban America's? Who in Rural America has Broadband today? What is the value proposition for rural communities?

  • Eli Noam
    Director, CITI- Chair
  • Bob Rowe
    Senior Partner, Balhoff & Rowe, LLC
  • Victor Glass
    Director of Demand Forecasting and Rate Development, National Exchange Carrier Association - [presentation]
  • Rick Schadelbauer
    Economist, Legal & Industry Division, National Telecommunications Cooperative Association
  • Bruce Egan
    Economist and Senior Research Fellow, CITI - [presentation]
  • Chris Savage
    Partner, Cole, Raywid & Braverman, L.L.P - [presentation]

11:30 AM International Perspective

Broadband access is a global issue. Which technologies hold the most promise and what business models seem workable in remote and sparsely populated areas? Who is funding deployments and what impact on communities are these deployments having?

  • Heather Hudson
    Professor, Director, Telecommunications Management and Policy Program School of Business and Management, University of San Francisco - [presentation]
  • Rahul Tongia
    Senior Systems Scientist in the School of Computer Science (ISR) and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University - [presentation]

12:00PM Lunch

1:30 PM The Business Case for Broadband in Rural Areas

A number of companies are successfully providing broadband to rural communities. Who are they and what is the secret of their success? Are multiple broadband infrastructures sustainable in rural communities? Or is a "monopoly" more likely? What are the cost and performance characteristics of various technologies? Which best "fits" various rural geographies and demographics?

  • Don Helms
    Bresnan Communications - [presentation]
  • Brett Glass
    Lariat Communications
  • Eugene (Gene) B. Johnson
    Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, FairPoint Communications, Inc. - [presentation]
  • Jack Hoffman
    Chairman, Vermont Broadband council - [presentation]
  • James Stegeman
    President, CostQuest
  • PJ Louis
    Managing Partner, Avondale Capital LLC - [presentation]

3:30 PM Public Policy Implications

Will market forces be able to bring broadband to all of rural America or is government intervention necessary? Where the market fails, should government subsidize multiple competing broadband infrastructures, regulate a monopoly infrastructure, provide broadband services directly, facilitate or subsidize infrastructure build out and/or service providers?

  • Jay Etta Hecker
    Director, Physical Infrastructure Issues Government Accountability Office (GAO) - [presentation]
  • Sharon Cates-Williams
    CIO and Commissioner, Suffolk County Department of Information Technology
  • Larry Landis
    Commissioner, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission
    Vice Chairman Inter-Carrier Compensation Task Force, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), member universal service joint board - [presentation]

4:30PM Concluding remarks


Please register online at Corporate rate: $75. Academics, government officials, ITS Members, and non-profit attendees: $25. CITI Affiliates: please contact Ben Bloom at 212-854-4222 for special registration arrangements.

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