LIVE BLOG:OneCleveland: A Competitive Regional Advantage

Submitted by Betsey Merkel on Wed, 04/26/2006 - 23:14.

How do we reinvent the Midtown economy? What are our opportunities to expedite services in government, commercial, and education? What are our opportunities to design new approaches to visualization, conceptual learning and virtual experiences? (If you haven't had a chance to read the article "Digital Natives" yet, go here.)

OneCleveland builds relationships with telecommuniction providers to connect, enable and transform. A primary goal is to improve adoption of the use of technology and reduce costs. OneCleveland is talking about providing significant bandwidth access: 650 gigabites.

These kinds of broad fiber type of services will provide the kinds of connections necessary to support high definition televsion channels, for example. Think of this as multimedia converging on many lines. Broadband for the home is approaching 100.

111 Cleveland municipal schools were connected through one connection through the Clinic. New advances in networking multimedia for the early adoption industries such as health care and education which seem to be early adoption industries. The more capacity, the more applications possible.

Where are the applications? There is a pent up demand in Higher Ed and K -12. Industry is beginning to need the big bandwidth to produce efficiencies and new applications.

How do industries manage the remote processes? This broadband is capable of addressing these emerging needs. For remote offices, and virtual design work, for example.

Communities are starting to seethe broadband opportunities. One model that works: IT attraction factor - by having a region with the broadband capabilities OneCleveland is able to provide - such as the potential service to NEO - companies are attracted to begin to use the local broadband technology to generate new development opportunities.

OneCleveland's mission over the last two years has been to connect. The emphasis in the last 6 months has been to focus on larger institutions where there is an aggregated demand.

Too be near the broadband fiber enables greater access for the local businesses. OneCleveland is working on business attraction and business connections. The NEO community is getting alot of awards - one of seven most intelligent cities; nominated by Intel as a Digital City; and just received an Ernest and Young award.

Municipalities are looking closer at how to leverage this asset as a business attraction. Deploy fiber to the innovation zones, incubate the new opportunities; use th incubator model to leverage new innovations.

History: OneCleveland came out of Case. Early on the initiative received donated fiber and some equipment. The City of Cleveland was at the cross roads of a national effort to install fiber. This was completed just before the dot com bust. The bust happened and companies left leaving the fiber - - dark. To put this the fiber down under private efforts would cost $6 - 8 M.

OneCleveland is hoping to drive the cost down by developing a community wide broadband intranet to promote economic development. "The family plan." There is a need to break down the barriers.

Once you break down the barriers, the connections start building. Once everyone connects, the businesses starts changing. One Cleveland is targeting the businesses, services, government, and health care. If access is missing, the businesses will not stay or be interested in staying.

Once the capablities are improved the content will innovate. OneCleveland recently did a permit project with the City which reduced the permit process from several days to 2 hours.

Question: Who is paying for this? OC believes the community has the capacity to pay for this. OneCleveland was started with the assistance of donations, and bank credit; it now has 30 organization members, and 150 remote sites. The organization reached a break even point in 18 months. The (aggregated) demand enables lower cost services for each person. One Cleveland does partner with local providers to provide the service. The successful model engages an anchor tenant and then from there the cost diminishes, and new opportunities emerge and result.

A model: Medina wants to build out $8M worth of infrastructure in the community. This is the economic development model for that city. The Port Authority is now engaged.

Case and OneCleveland is putting dark fiber down the Euclid corridor and working with the RTA to build a wireless canopy.

There aren't that many people (other models across the country) building wireless meshes. Political roadblocks have cost Philadephia and San Francisco time. But, they have not built their activity with an economic development model in mind. Now, the community has leveraged the front end hype but now must address other roadblocks, such as engagement with government.

OneCleveland is promoting a very diverse business base of industries. With technology anything is possible and this opens the door to diversity.

Charge is based on use, and the number of connections - this drives down the cost. The challenge is getting to the real small businesses. OC is working with providers to bundle services, and help develop the applications.

Midtown example: spin off business from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and those that service/support the large organizations are what are providing opportunity in the area. Build off these existing businesses. OC would lke to seed an incubator in the Midtown area.

The business worker who we would like to attract are the knowledge workers. CCF saw the value in donating to the Cleveland Municipal Schools to educate future local workers.

OC would like to create the community buy-in. Using equipment to increase capacity with partners.

Q: How much investment must be made by hospitals? A: Most hospitals already have the equipment. The greatest challenge is to connect to the neighboring institutions. Security comes into play with networking and public safety. Alot paraphenalia and devices are being added. RTA is enabling capability.

Comment: The present workforce is not ready for the new applications. We need a local skilled workforce. Tying the education and commuity into the network is very important. There is a need to create innovative programs to train the workforce; there is a need to create the educated workforce that is needed here - the attraction model needs to be linked to the workforce and education components.

CareerBoard, for example, works but not to create the links with employers to create the new approaches needed in workforce development. We can use the library system to reinvent workforce development. One example is to create a virtual university - these are the kinds of things we need to be thinking about.

EBS wireless spectum ideastream will manage the infrastructure. The real challenge as a community is to create mechanisms to maintain the access. How does this connect to other parts of the community?

The government has a low standard for Internet bandwidth. We have been reticent as a nation to step up and define the national vision for technoloy. This is lax, in part due to a hesitancy on the part of the providers to move forward - to do so would require more investment on their part to update infrastructure to accommodate higher level access.

To have access to the vertical rights. The major issue is the last mile: the political/social barriers.

Having a hybrid model of wireless and broadband is a good answer - having a pervasive wireless model is huge. IPTV (TV on your computer) 1.6 Megabits is what is needed.

Federal, state and community standards need to mature in order to have a broad impact.

There is a simple model to build in the community that works for aggregating capacity within a community or a region. OC costs are 50% lower than other providers because of the ability to connect.

OC is interested in addressing small businesses need to aggregate services. Bundle pricing for services.

Other communities have much more competitive environments for services. By working with Adelphia last year, for example, OneCleveland increased Adelphia business by 60%.

The best thing to do would be to network the innovation zones...

Adoption, content development and access are the targets for OC. What is regionalism? OC is starting to develop new social applications for the Voices and Choices web model...

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