Cities and towns all over Massachusetts are looking for alternatives to the big incumbent Internet Service Providers in their communities as citizens across the Commonwealth have grown weary of the high-cost, second-rate Internet service – and lack of competition – that plagues markets dominated by monopoly providers. A growing number of local leaders and community advocates are positioning themselves for the possibility of creating municipal telecommunications utilities to build publicly-owned broadband infrastructure.
Across the Commonwealth of Virginia, a diverse array of regional partnerships have formed between local governments, county broadband authorities, electric and telephone cooperatives, and private ISPs as state broadband expansion efforts continue to advance. With $850 million in state appropriations for broadband connectivity and $1.15 billion in local government and private service providers’ funding matches, the state is on track to invest $2 billion dollars toward broadband expansion in the coming years.
From New York City to Newfield in Upstate New York, local officials in the Empire State have kicked off projects to connect the unconnected to high-speed Internet service. The biggest of those projects is underway in New York City as Mayor Bill de Blasio recently delivered an early Christmas present for city dwellers who want to see a term-limit set on the digital divide in the Big Apple.
Municipal broadband networks have struggled to get a foothold in Washington state given the historical restrictions that have been put on local governmental entities, barring them from offering retail broadband service. But, as state lawmakers lifted those restrictions earlier this year, several PUDs are well-positioned to seize the moment, building on the momentum generated by a collaborative effort led by a publicly owned corporation known as Petrichor.