Community Broadband Media Roundup - April 9


SF receives ‘several’ proposals to build a fast citywide Internet service for all by Joshua Sabatini, San Francisco Examiner

San Francisco received “several” proposals by Monday’s deadline to build a citywide Internet broadband network connecting all homes and businesses.

Mayor Mark Farrell is working to lead The City toward creating a citywide fiber-to-the-premises Internet service at one gigabit speeds. The project would be developed as a private-public partnership with an initial 15-year agreement.

Broadband, bike share on City Council agenda by Anne Ternus-Bellamy, Davis Enterprise

Los Angeles Considers Building Broadband Network For All by Karl Bode, DSL Reports

California’s Legislature Seeks to Protect Network Neutrality and Promote ISP Competition by Ernesto Falcon, Electronic Frontier Foundation

San Francisco Is Quietly Building an Open Access Fiber Network by Karl Bode, DSL Reports



6 Colorado communities vote to establish municipal broadband, joining dozens of others across the state by John Aguilar, Denver Post

Six more Colorado communities this week have voted to overturn a 2005 state law that prohibits local governments from setting up their own broadband network, joining 86 others in the state that have already done so.

Voters in Severance, Lake City, Lyons, Frisco, Firestone and Limon voted overwhelmingly in favor of allowing municipal broadband Tuesday, with margins of 347-92 in Limon and 222-18 in Lake City, for example.

Since 2008, cities and towns across the state have cast off the law, known as Senate Bill 152, as they have found existing high-speed Internet service to be unavailable, too slow or too expensive — especially in rural areas of Colorado.

Colorado Kills A Crappy, Anti-Competitive Law Bought by Comcast by Karl Bode, DSL Reports

More Colorado Towns Vote Down A Comcast State Law Hamstringing Broadband Competition by Karl Bode, TechDirt

Colorado's rural broadband push may foreshadow a national trend by Colin Wood, StateScoop

In addition to new laws, six Colorado cities on Tuesday voted to exempt themselves from a 2005 law that outlawed government- and community-funded networks from competing with the private market. The latest round of voting makes for about 120 Colorado cities and counties to have exempted themselves from the law. While about 20 other states have similar laws prohibiting the creation or expansion of such municipal networks, Colorado's provision allowing localities to vote out of the law is unique.

Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, says the activity in Colorado is a reflection of heightened attention on the issue of broadband Internet nationally. Colorado cities have had the option to vote out of the law since its passage more than a decade ago, but Mitchell, who has been advocating for the right of community-based networks since the mid-2000s, says most Colorado cities were happy to wait for existing providers to deliver improved service. But then they got tired of waiting.

Municipal broadband expected to get support from more Colorado towns after Tuesday’s vote by John Aguilar, Denver Post

Boulder to hold input session on community broadband by Jensen Werley, BizWest

Engineering and design of broadband network gets go ahead from Craig, Moffat County by Eleanor C. Hasenbeck, Craig Daily Press



City of Gainesville invites businesses to negotiate an agreement for Internet broadband services by WCJB-20



Broadband Bill May Bring Better Internet To Rural Georgia by Tasnim Shamma, WABE



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



Community Broadband Sticker Shock? Try a Different Approach by Trevor Jones, Bangor Daily News

Monterey to vet local Internet company's financials for new broadband proposal by Heather Bellow, Berkshire Eagle

The town is about to hire Bay State Municipal Accounting for help in its attempt to convince the state to allow Monterey-based Fiber Connect LLC to complete its system build-out here.

Fiber Connect has already wired about 40 percent of the town, and is continuing until it reaches about 70 percent by the end of the year, according to town Broadband Committee Chairman Cliff Weiss. The company, which is using its own money to wire Monterey, and also 70 percent of Egremont's premises, was not approved as a suitable provider by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, which oversees the state's last-mile funds to help rural towns without access get faster Internet speeds.



Lake Shore: City to research broadband service options by Nancy Vogt, Brainerd Dispatch


New Mexico

How a rural electric co-op connected a community by Leah Todd, High Country News

By the 1930s, 90 percent of urban dwellers in the U.S. had easy access to electricity. Not so in the rural parts of the country, where only 10 percent of the population had electricity in their homes. Major electric companies said it was too hard to extend electric service to those areas; they couldn’t make enough money.

The New Deal established rural electric cooperatives to do the work the big companies would not. The U.S. set out on a massive subsidy program, offering low-interest loans to rural electric co-ops.

“Essentially, rural infrastructure has generally been delivered by nonprofits,” said Chris Mitchell, a researcher with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance who studies cooperatives and other community-led broadband networks. For-profit companies need to make more money than they invest. Co-ops don’t. Any extra revenue over co-ops’ costs simply goes back into the service, or to co-op members. Now, nearly 100 years since the New Deal, more than 1,000 nonprofit telephone and electric cooperatives operate in rural America.

Small towns look for a road forward, paved with fiber-optic by Kate Shimel, High Country News

Co-Ops Bridge The Digital Divide In Rural N.M. by Marisa DeMarco, KUNM


New York

NYC Official Quits FCC Broadband Committee, Alleging Industry Bias by Bevin Fletcher, CED Magazine



Rural Pa. demands broadband access; providers cite logistical difficulties by Min Xian, WHYY



Congress's Biggest Opponent of Net Neutrality Is Getting Destroyed in Midterm Election Polls by Karl Bode, Motherboard Vice

While competition for the telecom corruption crown is fierce, it’s hard to find a politician more beholden to big ISPs than Blackburn. Blackburn has hoovered up telecom sector campaign cash for years, then loyally and routinely opposed every and any effort to hold uncompetitive telecom giants accountable for anti-competitive behavior and poor service.



Rural customers lag as broadband Internet sprints ahead by J.B. Smith, Waco Tribune



Broadband Internet expanding in remote areas in Dinwiddie, Amelia counties by Megan Woo, NBC 12


West Virginia

Designation may hurt broadband initiatives by Tim MacVean, The InterMountain



Watch Out Telcos, There's a New Muni Broadband Wave on the Horizon by Mari Silbey, Light Reading

In the latest wave of municipal interest in broadband network infrastructure, there is general consensus that cities and commercial operators are going to have to find new ways to partner. While a few communities are taking broadband entirely into their own hands, most are actively seeking help from the private sector, recognizing that particularly as the smart city movement gains momentum, local governments aren't best suited to handle the complexity of network operations and the rapid pace of technology change.

ACLU to cities: Provide broadband services to counteract federal rollbacks to net neutrality by Wisconsin Gazette

Mozilla awards final grants from its $1.2 million Community Gigabit Fund by Anna Hensel, VentureBeat

While many communities no longer see gigabit networks as a “silver bullet” that can jumpstart their economy, the adoption of gigabit networks is only quickening. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, more than 130 communities in the U.S. now have a municipal broadband network offering Internet speeds of at least 1 gigabit per second.

Ajit Pai faces heat over proposal to take away poor people’s broadband plans by Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica

Cities to FCC: Stop Undermining Us by Mari Silbey, Light Reading

Reclaiming Our Local Democracy by Christiana McFarland, Cities Speak Blog

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, the city is not permitted to extend its municipal broadband service to woefully underserved rural neighbors, despite widespread support from people who live there. The city of St. Petersburg, Florida, is prevented from regulating the plastic bags and drinking straws that litter their waterways and harm wildlife.

In every case, these cities have had their power to solve problems and improve their communities stripped away by their state representatives. These examples are not rare instances — across the country, state legislatures and courts are usurping city authority at alarming rates.

FCC Broadband 'Advisory Panel' Under Fire for Cronyism by Karl Bode, DSL Reports