In early August, the city of Holland, Michigan (pop. 33,000) voted to fund the construction of a citywide, open access fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. It’s the culmination of almost a decade of consideration, education, planning, and success, and builds on decades of work by the Holland Board of Public Works (HBPW) and city officials to build and maintain resilient essential infrastructure for its citizens. It also signals the work the community has done to listen to local residents, community anchor institutions, and the business owners in pushing for an investment that will benefit every premises equally and ensure fast, affordable Internet access is universally available for decades down the road.
On the southern border of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley, Pharr, Texas is the home of the largest commercial bridge from Mexico into the U.S. Now the city is working on building an equally impressive virtual bridge to every home in Pharr with the construction of a municipal fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network. The progression has been steady despite pandemic induced setbacks, as city leaders are determined to solve the connectivity challenges in Pharr by leveraging the assets the city already owns while taking advantage of the unprecedented amount of federal funds now available to help communities expand access to broadband.
Now that Internet Service Providers have submitted (or were supposed to submit) their most recent data on exactly where they claim to offer broadband service, the FCC announced last week, starting on September 12, states, local and Tribal governments, service providers, and other entities can submit bulk challenges to the data currently in the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) system. While the agency is making a gallant effort to fix its notoriously inaccurate maps, we still see a few potential holes in the fabric.
In May, we published a story about the fate of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), based on a prediction model we built that was intended to visualize how long we might expect the $14.2 billion fund to last before needing new Congressional appropriations to sustain it. We’re back today not only with a new and improved model (based both on more granular geographic data and fed by an additional 16 weeks of enrollment data), but a new dashboard that pulls together a host of information from the Universal Service Administrative Corporation on where and how the Affordable Connectivity Program money is being spent.