Myth-Busting Talking Points

Myth Response
Industry has made significant investments in broadband infrastructure in Minnesota – they are doing the job, and additional public funding is not necessary. While we value how much these firms are doing to invest in the next generation of technology, we know they still need help.

Making sure everyone is connected is such a monumental task that we cannot let them shoulder the burden alone.

Industry can’t be the “patient investors” that public sector can be.

With CAF2[1], Minnesota doesn’t need to pony up additional public funds.


· CAF2 requires that providers build only “up to” 10/1 Mb – which bakes in second class citizenship for rural.

· CAF2 funded networks will still rely on aged copper last mile networks that will limit future service upgrades no matter what electronics are installed.

· Subsidizing incumbent providers to provide this minimum level of service will discourage any competitive providers from future investment in these still underserved areas in the near term. We would not be satisfied with new sewage treatment facilities that do not meet current federal standards; why would we be happy with federally-subsidized networks that don’t meet current broadband standards and fall far short of where technology is going?

CAF2 networks (10/1) are good enough.


· 10/1 Mb download/upload speed is not world class; it is second class. Not good enough today; definitely not good enough for tomorrow.

· Today’s federal broadband standard is more than 30 times faster than it was in 2008. If in the next four years, the standard changes only by a factor of four, the federal standard by 2020 would be 100 Mbps. The proposed Minnesota state broadband goal is 100 Mb by 2022.



Wireless is good enough. Wireless is the future. America’s broadband future is tied to investment in fixed networks.

Fiber is the foundation of all wireless technology.

Wireless infrastructure without fiber backbone is like airplanes without airports.

· Data consumption in the U.S. is growing rapidly, with traffic expected to double over the new few years. Nearly all data traffic moves over fixed networks. Cellular carries only 2% of data traffic today, and is expected to grow to only 7% by 2018.*

* USTelecom Broadband Industry Stats: U.S. IP Traffic, 2013-18, at (visited September 18, 2014) and Cisco Visual Networking Index at (visited September 18, 2014)

Satellite service is good enough. This technology has several significant drawbacks:

· Latency. Latency is due to the simple fact that data signals need to travel on a long distance, through the atmosphere. So, there is a sometimes an irritating delay, which matters especially when you are using applications that need some degree of synchronizing. For instance watching online movies, using voice over IP, teleconferencing or gaming. Imagine having a videoconference with several seconds of lagging between the participants!

· Interference. With satellite Internet, data-carrying electromagnetic waves need to pass through the atmosphere. The worse the weather gets, the more chances you have to completely lose access. Storms or snow can interrupt a satellite connection.

· Pricing. When comparing different Internet access technologies, satellite-based ones are, by far, the most expensive. To get a high speed connection, you need to pay a big initial subscription fee, plus the usual monthly fees.



Myth Response
Fiber is a “Cadillac” service. Fiber is more like a Toyota – never breaks, cheaper to maintain.

· Fiber networks are up to 35% cheaper to maintain than copper networks. They do not break as easily, and last longer than copper wires.

· Fiber networks offer symmetrical service: Upload speeds = economic development.

· Fiber is better value for the investment: Fiber optic versus copper wire transmission can be boiled down to the speed of photons versus the speed of electrons. While fiber optic cables don’t travel at the speed of light, they come very close—only about 31 percent slower.

· When traveling over a long distance, fiber optic cables experience less signal loss than copper cabling. Copper cables can only transmit information up to 9,328 ft due to power loss, whereas fiber cables can travel up to 25 miles.

Unlike copper wires, fiber optic cables are impervious to electromagnetic interference (EMI). Because there is no electric current traveling through the core they cannot catch on fire.

“Overbuilding” is a poor use of resources.


· Regardless of the current state speed goal now or into the future, community members will want to be served by high quality broadband networks that will meet today and tomorrow’s needs.

· With a choice, most community leaders would opt for a new, 21st Century broadband network that is currently capable of providing services that meet the state’s 2022 100 Mb goal or even 1 Gb service, rather than a network that is built to meet only the FCC 25/3 Mb standard at the high end and the federal CAF2 standard of 10/1 Mb at the low end.

· While the state has little legal power to require that CAF2 funded networks be built to a higher standard, telecom providers and state regulators are constantly negotiating current and future regulatory frameworks. State officials should encourage the incumbent CAF2-funded providers to use their CAF2 dollars to build out networks that are world class.

If you choose a rural lifestyle, you can’t expect broadband. The government has no obligation to ensure that broadband is available in hard-to-serve areas. · We all do better when we all do better. All Minnesotans benefit when rural communities are vital and thriving.

· Innovation and economic vitality can happen anywhere there is world-class broadband. Without broadband infrastructure, rural communities and rural economies cannot compete.

Myth Response
Broadband is expensive.


Not compared to other investments:


Cost to build (or replace) a Septic System:

A three- or four-bedroom house typically requires a 1,000-gallon septic tank, and the cost for the tank and installation averages between $8,000 and $15,000. For a house with five or more bedrooms, you’ll most likely want a 1,500-gallon tank, and that will cost $15,000 to $25,000. The cost to replace an existing septic system is $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the size and complexity of the job.


Cost to build (or resurface) a highway:

Construct a new 4-lane highway — $4-$6 million per mile in rural and suburban areas, $8-$10 million per mile in urban areas. Construct a new 6-lane Interstate highway –about $7 million per mile in rural areas, $11 million or more per mile in urban areas. Mill and resurface a 4-lane road – about $1.25 million per mile.

Cost for a firetruck:


There are two costs with fire apparatus, the cost of the vehicle and the cost of the equipment that truck carries. So a fire engine depending on class could be under $100,000, whereas a ladder truck could cost up to $300,000 and that is with both trucks unequipped.


In fact, broadband is the cheapest infrastructure investment on a per mile basis, with an impressive ROI.

· According to an analysis by Strategic Network Group*, for every $1 invested in broadband infrastructure and adoption, $10 is returned in direct and spinoff impacts to the local economy.


*The Return from Investment in Broadband Infrastructure and Utilization Initiatives, January, 2014.


Myth Response
Nobody really needs all that speed.






· Comcast markets its 25 Mbps download speeds as its “starter” service. CenturyLink marketing recommends 40 Mbps as the “right” bandwidth for a tech savvy family. Both companies now advertise Gigabit services to households.

· Smaller ISPs are also delivering Gigabit services. In Minneapolis, US Internet offers 10 Gbps. Paul Bunyan Communications is expanding its Gigazone Gigabit service across 5,000 square miles of north central Minnesota. Other broadband cooperatives, municipal, and private sector ISPs, including Midcontinent and Hiawatha Broadband also deliver Gigabit services.

· As Gigabit becomes more ubiquitous, the accepted speed definition of broadband will continue to increase.

broadband use chart

[1] Minnesota’s four price cap carriers (Consolidated Holdings, CenturyLink, Frontier and Windstream) all elected to receive Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II funding, totaling more than $85 million annually for six years. In exchange for funding, carriers commit to provide voice and broadband services to a specified number of locations in their statewide service territory defined as high cost that are not served by a competing, unsubsidized provider. The CAF II program targets specific locations that meet rather narrow requirements for subsidized broadband deployment. Areas ineligible for funding: have broadband services that exceeds 3 Mbps download/768 kbps upload; lack broadband, but exceed the $207.81 high cost standard; partially served census blocks