Imagine if Borders and Barnes & Noble, claiming it was killing their book sales, asked lawmakers to ban cities from building libraries. The legislators would laugh them out of the State House. Yet the same thing is happening right now with respect to Wi-Fi and other municipal broadband plans, and it is being taken all too seriously. In fact, although it is almost universally acknowledged that broadband access is essential to economic growth and education, phone and cable companies are lobbying furiously to prohibit municipalities from providing free or discounted broadband to their residents.
Community Network Map
Communities invest in telecommunications networks for a variety of reasons - economic development, improving access to education and health care, price stabilization, etc. They range from massive networks offering a gig to hundreds of thousands in Tennessee to small towns connecting a few local businesses.
This map tracks a variety of ways in which local governments have invested in wired telecommunications networks as well as state laws that discourage such approaches.Our map includes over 450 communities (updated Jan, 2015):
- 89 communities with a publicly owned FTTH network reaching most or all of the community.
- 76 communities with a publicly owned cable network reaching most or all of the community.
- Over 180 communities with some publicly owned fiber service available to parts of the community.
- Over 110 communities with publicly owned dark fiber available.
- Over 40 communities in 13 states with a publicly owned network offering at least 1 Gigabit services.
Nineteen states have barriers in place that discourage or prevent local communities from deciding locally if such an investment is a wise decision. We strongly believe these decisions should be made locally, based on needs, capacity, and desire of the community itself.
Click on the pin of a network to learn more about it or click on a state with barriers (in red) to learn about the limitation. Below the map, you may select what types of information you want to display.
If you want more information about a specific network, check if we have tagged it in a previous post, search our site for it, or check another source of information such as the excellent database maintained by Broadband Communities Magazine.
For general information about community networks, see our Fact Sheets or read about three of the most advanced networks in the nation or an example of incremental public investments to create a network. For a better sense of how big corporations convince states to discourage community networks, see our report on North Carolina: The Empire Lobbies Back.
We continue to expand this map with other forms of publicly owned networks. Still to come are wireless networks, networks serving community anchor institutions, and more. Get updates by signing up for our one-email-per-week list announcing new stories and resources.
Please do let us know if we missed any community networks or if you want to report an error. Stay up to date with information about these networks by following us on Twitter, fanning us on Facebook, and/or tuning into our weekly podcast.
Media Contact: Christopher Mitchell, 612-276-3456 x209
Credit for this map's design should be given to Eric James. The data comes from a combination of sources, notably Broadband Properties Magazine, FTTH Council, Jim Baller, and information collected for years by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Thank you to the Ford Foundation for enabling us to maintain this map.