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Thursday, 26 April 2012

USA Roadtrip - Part 1

In case you are not aware, I am currently enjoying week 1 of a visit to the USA. Since Monday I have been in Dallas at the Broadband Communities Summit, and it has been quite some week so far! Aside from meeting many old friends, being a speaker also gives you the opportunity to meet yet more people. I am no longer a shy networker, especially when community broadband in the UK can benefit from the contacts made on such visits. Whether it is the chance to hear first hand about alternative and successful business models, discuss regulatory similarities and differences, rant with like-minded people about poor policy decisions and funding, or to find new innovations, tools and equipment, these visits are always fruitful. The sessions at this event, particularly on Tuesday, were full on. My notes are plentiful, my pockets are overflowing with business cards, and my trip has already been extended at least one more week and two more States. I doubt I will get to visit all 52 but I'm now up to 11 over the next few weeks and that's before we sail down the East Coast!! The great and the good of the broadband world are here - I know I will miss a few out but ...Dave Isenberg, Jim Baller, Tim and Leslie Nulty, Todd Marriott, Donny Smith, Blair Levin, Gary Evans, Christopher Mitchell, and Craig Settles (here via Twitter as he had to cancel last minute). And I now have about 20 more to add to my list. I am no longer surprised when I hear the US is suffering many of the same issues as the UK and EU - politicians and regulators seem to be as short sighted and deaf to grassroots' logic and needs the world over - but I am pleased to report that the ratio of talkers vs the number of doers seems to be slowly heading in the right direction. There is one helluva lot of JFDI going on these days!! We could easily have doubled the number of speakers on our panel -DIY Community Fibre solutions. It was a great session and people did not leave their seats at the end until way beyond the scheduled finish. Once again, I am glad I smoke. I've met some of the most incredible people outside since Monday evening, and my itinerary and knowledge keep growing because of them. It's a full day of sessions again tomorrow so I quite simply have not found time to write up my notes or even to ponder much of what I have learned, but I will distil a few thoughts over the coming weeks. The best bit so far? I learned tonight, whilst outside, that the B4RN dig video has gone viral in our little world. Lancashire is suddenly famous and that feels well-deserved. (And something BT can only dream of achieving). The worst bit? Jet lag. Yuck. Next stop - Lafayette, LA (my very own state!) to visit LusFiber, eat as much gumbo as possible, and enjoy the Festival Internationale, as well as meet the Mayor, Joey Durel, and hopefully have a lengthy chat with Sue Spradley to find out much more about US Ignite..... More news and views shortly. Big thank you again to Gigaclear, BBC Mag, Jaguar, ECFiber, Abacus and a few private individuals who have made all of this possible. Oh and the girls, whose good-natured tolerance of their unconventional mother deserves a mention!!

1 comment:

chris said...

Green with envy, meeting all our heros you are. Not envious of the jet lag though. Next time you'll have to get there a few days early to let it settle!
Keep blogging then we have a record, and thanks for all the photos and vids of kit, keep em coming.