Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 23


Report: Municipal Broadband Could Protect Consumer Privacy by Eric Galatas, Public News Service

As Congress considers remedies for large-scale privacy breaches by Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, a recent report suggests that local municipalities could play a key role in protecting consumers.

The American Civil Liberties Union study says if cities and counties build out their own broadband networks, they could ensure privacy protections and keep the internet open for all residents who depend on access for health care, employment and other essential services.



Utility funds may be used for fiber cable by The Gardner News



Easthampton committee may explore high-speed internet options by Mary C. Serreze, MassLive

Three years into a ten-year cable contract with Charter Communications -- now known as "Spectrum" -- a city committee could start to research other options for consumer broadband service.

"I have had a number of constituents request that the city research the possibility of taking a more active role in ensuring fast, affordable, net-neutral internet access," wrote Precinct 3 City Councilor Thomas Peake in a recent memo.



Broadband coverage push for rural areas by Waynesville Daily Guide

State Senators Consider Bill to Fund Broadband Expansion by Jason Taylor, MissouriNet

Rural internet access a priority by Robert Cox, Perryville News


New Mexico

Panel tackles lack of high-speed internet in Indian Country by Associated Press, The Herald Journal


New York

New York City Report Blasts Lack of Broadband Competition by Karl Bode, DSL Reports

New York City has released a new "truth in broadband" report the city claims provides a more accurate picture of broadband availability in the city than traditionally provided by incumbent ISPs. The full report (pdf) notes that two thirds (69%) of NYC homes and nearly three quarters (72%) of small businesses have the choice of just 1 or 2 broadband providers, while 14% of small businesses have no choice of commercial fiber provider. Gigabit broadband also remains hard to come by, with nearly half of New York City small businesses lacking access to gigabit speeds.


North Carolina

North Carolina Counties Work to Identify Broadband Service Gaps by Rachael Riley, Henderson Daily Dispatch (GovTech)

Entrepreneurship and innovation at heart of new downtown center by Brie Handgraaf, Wilson Times



Ohio Broadband Grants Would Total $50M Annually, Joins Growing State Level Focus on Broadband by Joan Engebretson, Telecompetitor

Ohio could be the next state to implement a broadband grant program if a bill that passed the state House of Representatives this week becomes law. The proposed Ohio broadband grants would total up to $50 million annually to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband in unserved or underserved areas, with individual grantees receiving no more than $5 million. Those eligible to receive funding include private businesses, political subdivisions, nonprofit entities and cooperatives.

Among the other states that already have created broadband grant programs are Colorado, New York,  Minnesota  and Massachusetts.

Dennis Kucinich Is Back in the Running by John Nichols, The Nation

Kucinich recognizes the real issue: “We have growing broadband monopolies which threaten the economic growth of our state and widens the digital divide.” And he’s proposing a real response: “a not-for-profit public utility in Ohio, a new broadband service which will dramatically reduce the cost of broadband, and provide a powerful high-speed platform for business growth while establishing net neutrality.”

While municipal broadband networks have been developed in cities across the country, statewide initiatives represent something of a new front in the fight for a free and open Internet.



Square One a new space for business starts by Sue Guinn Legg, Johnson City Press



Legal Shootout at the Broadband Corral by Timothy B. Clark, Route Fifty



City seeks broadband survey responses by Fredericksburg Today



Kitsap Public Utility District authorized to sell retail internet access by Nathan Pilling, Kitsap Sun

Under a new state law, the Kitsap Public Utility District can now retail internet access directly to customers on top of its fiber optic broadband network.

Previously, PUDs throughout the state were only authorized to roll out internet “backbone” infrastructure that other internet service providers could use to sell access to customers. Homeowners could petition PUDs to roll out that service to their neighborhood and assess themselves for the infrastructure improvements, but would have to hope that an ISP would pick up the retail side of the equation.

Two Views: Broadband should be open to all by Breean Beggs, Spokesman-Tribune

Imagine, Spokane: one fiber optic line to your home or business that every private internet service provider (ISP) could use to compete for your internet business. Just like the one system of city streets that lets you choose which company brings you packages (FedEx, UPS, or a local company) a publicly owned broadband infrastructure opens up the market to multiple private companies that must compete for your business by offering better service and lower prices.

The goal of Spokane’s Broadband Workgroup is not to create a new city-owned ISP, but to look for ways that the city can open up and expand its broadband infrastructure that already exists under our streets. Advances in software technology can allow one fiber optic cable to provide access to your home or business from multiple networks and providers, meaning that customers would no longer need to depend on one company to provide both the physical line to your home and the internet content.


West Virginia

Net neutrality's repeal has unclear affect on rural broadband by Jake Jarvis, West Virginia News



Feds Charge One of Ajit Pai's Broadband Advisers for Alleged $250 Million Fraud Scheme by Tom McKay, Gizmodo

What It's Like to Live in America Without Broadband Internet by Kaleigh Rogers, Motherboard Vice

The agony of rural America's inescapable broadband gap by Jared Keller, Pacific Standard Magazine

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

Ajit Pai’s ‘Broadband Advisory Panel’ Plagued by Corruption Accusations by Karl Bode, Motherboard Vice

The FCC loses a fierce consumer advocate as Mignon Clyburn resigns by Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica

"Mignon Clyburn will go down in history as one of the best FCC commissioners of all time," former FCC official and consumer advocate Gigi Sohn said today. "For nearly nine years, she has been a vocal and passionate advocate for the public interest and defender of the most vulnerable in our society."

Clyburn advocated for expansions of the Lifeline program that helps low-income Americans buy telephone and broadband service, Sohn noted. Clyburn has also been a leader on lowering prison phone rates and the issues of media ownership and net neutrality, Sohn said.