Clearwater, FL – According to Internet industry trade group Wireless Broadband Alliance and research firm HIS Markit, more than 60 million Americans in urban centers and 16 million in rural locations don’t have access to or can’t afford broadband Internet. Now, a Clearwater-based group has introduced BRIDGE — a viable, affordable and far-reaching solution in its national Connected Revolution Contest which is launching July 4, 2018.
BRIDGE’s small, low-cost and easily deployable infrastructure equipment is called a “wireless switch.” The switch can tap into areas of fiber optic networks that are not in use or underutilized, also called dark fiber. It sends a wireless signal that’s faster than any Internet solution currently available, less breachable due to its multiple layers of physical security, and virtually limitless in its capabilities.
BRIDGE is the brainchild of an electrical engineer, Christopher Anderson, who worked on the team that brought the communications systems on NASA’s Mars Exploration Program to life. To promote this new technology, the BRIDGE team created an entity called The Connected Revolution and with it a pledge to deploy BRIDGE technology in 100 communities in America beginning this fall.
“This isn’t just about providing a faster Internet or increased access,” said Anderson. “This is about the creation of a whole new rich media ecosystem where everyone has the ability to access augmented reality experiences, able to support artificial intelligence, and equally important, be able to send a wireless gigabit-speeds signals to underserved areas.”
A BRIDGE switch is about the size of a shoe box and can be mounted on a building, a light pole, or any existing structure, reducing the capital expense of installation when compared to traditional fiber optic infrastructure. BRIDGE technology provides the types of unencumbered data flow to make augmented reality and artificial intelligence systems work without buffering, delays or bandwidth-related limitations.
The BRIDGE switch has been in development for over seven years. In that time, the large ISP providers have not been financially motivated to update existing fiber optic networks using the old capital and operating expenditure model that is nearly impossible to recoup. BRIDGE eliminates many of these costs, making the next generation in connectivity possible now.
Deloitte Consulting LLP has issued a report noting that the U.S. needs to spend between $130 and $150 billion in new fiber optic networks over the next five years to support upcoming 5G wireless as well as broadband competition and rural broadband coverage, but also notes that the market currently lacks sufficient incentives for such an investment. This is due to the fact that only a handful of major Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, control most people’s access to the Internet, and don’t see a financial advantage in investing billions more in a fiber optic system they’re still paying for some two decades after initial deployment. However, Deloitte predicts that without significant deployments of fiber-optic infrastructure, service providers will be unable to accommodate the 4X increase in mobile data traffic expected between now and 2021.
By the end of 2014, America has been charged about $400 billion by companies like Verizon, AT&T and CenturyLink for a fiber optic network that never materialized, writes Bruce Kushnick in the The Book of Broken Promises: $400 Billion Broadband Scandal and Free The Net. Although it varies by state, counting the taxes, fees and surcharges that customers pay every month, that comes to about $4,000 to $5,000 per household from 1992 to 2014. Yet, by all accounts, the U.S. is now 25th in the world in download speed and 40th in upload speeds, and much of America’s fiber optic networks remain dark due to the overwhelming and unrecoupable investment costs of lighting the “last mile” of fiber optic networks.
BRIDGE solves this dilemma by providing a faster, more reliable, and virtually unlimited alternative that costs 80 percent less to deploy than laying traditional fiber optic cable to reach that “last mile” or last 10,000 feet to bring service to those currently in need of it. Using Deloitt’s predicted spending needs as reported, that would decrease a potential $150 billion investment by a staggering $120 billion.
The Connected Revolution Contest is a national competition to promote the initial proliferation of BRIDGE networks throughout the U.S. To roll out the first demonstrations of BRIDGE connectivity, communities are invited to raise funds through tee-shirt purchases (via individuals), through civic leaders and through partnering with thought leaders in those communities. Winners are defined as communities that are the first to raise $500,000 to implement a BRIDGE system in their downtown core, which will bring free BRIDGE connectivity to all users within that demonstration area.
Communities can raise these funds by becoming members of the Street Team—those who invest in t-shirts, stickers, and pledge to bring awareness for BRIDGE in their communities via social media engagements. Funds can also be raised by the municipalities themselves or through forward-thinking investors. BRIDGE will provide a free, interactive augmented reality kiosk in all BRIDGE communities to demonstrate the true power and potential of the Internet. They will also receive free smart phone adapters that make the most commonly used devices better able to maximize their BRIDGE experience.
The Connected [R]evolution will also invest $1 million in its Developer’s Contest in BRIDGE communities for developer contests to help spur the growth of augmented reality applications so citizens can take full advantage of BRIDGE’s capabilities.
“Is the world ready for BRIDGE?” asks Anderson. “Just ask Fort Collins, Colorado. They took on big telecoms and won the right to provide the infrastructure for their own Internet.”
In fact, 19 more Colorado cities and counties have voted in favor of city-owned Internet, while Fort Collins approved $150 million to move forward with a recent initiative approved by more than 57 percent of its voters, despite strong opposition by Comcast.
“These cities and counties recognize that they cannot count on Comcast and Century Link alone to meet local needs, which is why you see overwhelming support even in an off-year election,” said Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Self-Reliance.
Taking into consideration the lower capital expenditures required to deploy BRIDGE in a city like Fort Collins, the $150 million currently set aside to bring city-owned Internet services could be reduced to $30 million for better coverage, faster service, and greater capacity via BRIDGE switch deployment.
About The Connected [R]evolution: The Connected [R]evolution is a for-profit entity created to support the initial deployment of BRIDGE wireless fiber technology in 100 cities throughout the United States. This team is responsible for communications, community support building, and deployment of BRIDGE switches in areas that have raised the necessary capital to invest in initial deployment in their downtown cores. BRIDGE is invented by Clearwater-based Redstone Technologies, who hold its patents and Intellectual Property rights and are responsible for issuing licenses to BRIDGE switch owner/operators. For more information, visit www.connectedrevolution.us and www.redstone-us.com