Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 16


City weighs cable service future by Austin Walsh, San Mateo Daily Journal

City looks at options to speed up telecom by The Morgan Hill Times



Considering Fort Collins-provided broadband? This Q-and-A might help by Nick Coltrain, The Coloradoan



Georgia’s Rural Broadband Program Still Lacks Funding by Tyler Jett, Chattanooga Times Free Press (GovTech)



Long-serving LUS Director Terry Huval announces retirement by Ben Myers, Lafayette Advocate



SanfordNet broadband project to start July 1 by Tammy Wells, Sanford Journal Tribune

2 rural towns pioneer new route to faster internet by Darren Fishell, Bangor Daily News

The communities of Calais and Baileyville are putting their own money into getting faster internet speeds than most of the state. It will be a dramatic turnaround, allowing the average user to download a 45-minute high-definition television show in roughly one-and-a-half minutes.

They are following the lead of other Maine cities and towns, but one thing’s different in Calais and Baileyville, which last year came together to form the nonprofit Downeast Broadband Utility.


New Mexico

Tribes lead the way for faster internet access in New Mexico by Leah Todd, High Country News


North Carolina

Advocates On Road Trip to “Change the Rural Narrative” by Taylor Knopf, North Carolina Health News

Sputtering debate over NC internet access may have new urgency by Kirk Ross, Carolina Public Press

Don't get throttled. NC needs rules to protect internet users. By Chuck Tryon, Raleigh News & Observer

One change that would most help rural NC by Tom Campbell, Richmond County Daily Journal



Expand internet access by Ashtabula Star Beacon

Not waiting for the feds, Ohio representatives approve rural broadband fund by Colin Wood, StateScoop

And while no broadband advocate is likely to turn down the chance at fresh dollars to connect residents to what is considered in their circles to be the most important invention in recent human history, a few, like Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, say some of the bill's provisions, or lack thereof, are worrying.

"I'm really disappointed they didn't explicitly disallow satellite as a broadband service," Mitchell said.

Satellite internet service can reach FCC's definition of high-speed internet — 25 Mbps download/3 Mbps upload — but it typically comes with other restrictions like daily bandwidth caps, a relatively high cost, and high latency that hinders many applications and services. It's technically broadband, but not the cheap and abundant utility that most have in mind.

"Broadband is not just about speed," Mitchell said. "It's about a lot of other characteristics that sometimes people take for granted until they use satellite and realize speed is not everything."



High-Speed Internet A Public Utility In Hillsboro? It's Possible by Hillsboro Patch news team

Oregon finalizes net neutrality law despite likelihood that ISPs will sue by Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica



City fiber network presents opportunities, hurdles by Jacqueline Allison, Anacortes Now


West Virginia

Commission approached concerning broadband by Steve Rappach, Weirton Daily Times

Most of Citynet’s claims in Frontier suit remain after federal judge’s order by Max Garland, West Virginia Gazette-Mail

A federal judge has allowed all counts in Citynet’s lawsuit against Frontier Communications to go forward, although claims focusing on Frontier’s alleged misrepresentation of the type of broadband network it built in West Virginia will advance only in a limited capacity, according to a recent order.

The lawsuit, filed under the False Claims Act (FCA), alleges internet provider Frontier misused about $40.5 million in federal stimulus funds and built a high-speed fiber broadband network in the state that shut out competitors like the Bridgeport-based Citynet.

Public-private partnership brings broadband to rural communities by Tate Blanchard, WTRF



Broadband rollout still challenging in NW Wisconsin by Ron Brochu, Business North



Rural Broadband’s Only Hope: Thinking Outside the Box? By Elizabeth Zima, GovTech

In some ways, Christopher Mitchell, the director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative for the Minneapolis-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, agrees with Pettit.

"These are big challenges that call for another rural electrification administration approach. That is the scale of the problem," he said. "The reason we had initial rural electrification was because the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Administration, particularly a guy named Harold Ickes, who realized that the private sector would not bring good infrastructure to rural America, so they created all these co-ops." 

Ironically those rural electric cooperatives are building fiber networks in rural areas frequently without government help today. "If we wanted to improve rural access quickly we would focus on the electric and telephone co-ops in rural areas," he said. "Instead, the federal government is giving billions of dollars to AT&T and CenturyLink."

When it comes to broadband, millennials vote with their feet by Roberto Gallardo, Robert Bell, & Norman Jacknis, The Daily Yonder

When they live in remote rural areas, millennials are more likely to reside in a county that has better digital access. The findings could indicate that the digital economy is helping decentralize the economy, not just clustering economic change in the cities that are already the largest.

Telehealth -- The ideal marketing tool for rural municipal networks by Craig Settles, The Daily Yonder

When states overrule cities: report finds preemption is spreading by Patrick Sisson, Curbed

Preemption has important ramifications for many of the new business models and technologies changing cities and real estate, including home sharing, ride hailing, and the potential introduction of municipal broadband. While statewide regulations can simplify operations, they also sacrifice local nuances and control, and in many cases, take away a localities rights to control or introduce new services. Twenty states have banned localities from creating their own broadband systems.

The report concludes that some state legislators have adopted a pro-preemption position, believing that cities need to be “put in their place.” The report suggests cities should approach the debate from an economic perspective. Allowing cities more autonomy, the argument goes, gives them the power to be better economic engines for the entire state.

With Facebook on the ropes, Internet providers seek to press their advantage in Washington by Brian Fung, The Washington Post

ACLU: If Americans Want Privacy & Net Neutrality, They Should Build Their Own Broadband Networks by Karl Bode, TechDirt