Vermont’s Department of Public Service recently released an Emergency Broadband Action Plan that is among the most aggressive of all state responses to the coronavirus pandemic. It proposes a two-step process to achieve universal broadband for everyone in the Green Mountain State, suggesting legislative and regulatory changes as well as the commitment of significant state money to achieve the goal. It commits to engaging a wide variety of stakeholders in the research, planning, and design processes as well as a reliance on the talent and knowledge base of the state's Communications Union Districs. The process outlined by the department prioritizes local control, higher speeds, and more reliability so that all of Vermont's citizens are connected via broadband by 2024.
This week on the Community Broadband Bits podcast, Christopher dives deeper into the history of how broadband monopolies severely restricted local Internet choice in North Carolina with HB 129, passed by the state legislature in 2011. In this first half of a two part conversation, Christopher and his guests, Catharine Rice and Jack Cozort, discuss early attempts to preempt municpal broadband authority in the years leading up to HB 129, speaking frankly about the sway telecom lobbyists held over state legislators.
Washington and Massachusetts are both working with publicly owned broadband networks to deploy emergency Wi-Fi hotspots in underserved communities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Washington, a state-led initiative is deploying hundreds of new Wi-Fi access points with the help of community networks, including Northwest Open Access Network, a statewide middle-mile network, and several Public Utility Districts. And on the other side of the country, Massachusetts has enlisted the help of municipal network Whip City Fiber to establish Wi-Fi hotspots in communities with poor connectivity
The fourth edition of our report, Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model for the Internet Age, reveals the steady growth of cooperative fiber since we originally released the report in 2017. In the report, we present rural telephone and electric cooperatives as a proven model to connect rural communities across the country with high-quality Internet access. This version updates the maps and analysis in the report with the most recent federal data.