Community Broadband Media Roundup - July 16


Net neutrality makes comeback in California; lawmakers agree to strict rules by Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica

A California net neutrality bill that could impose the toughest rules in the country is being resurrected.

The bill was approved in its strongest form by the California Senate, but it was then gutted by the State Assembly's Communications Committee, which approved the bill only after eliminating provisions opposed by AT&T and cable lobbyists. Bill author Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has been negotiating with Communications Committee Chairman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) and other lawmakers since then, and he announced the results today.

In America’s tech capital, tens of thousands go without home Internet. Here’s how San Francisco wants to fix it. by Brian Fung, The Washington Post

Should San Francisco’s network move forward, it would become one of only a few in the United States to operate this way, analysts say, making it a bold experiment not just as an infrastructure project but also as a matter of  policy. Today, fewer than 200,000 U.S. households benefit from these types of open-access infrastructure policies, said Christopher Mitchell, a broadband advocate at the Institute for Local Self Reliance.

San Francisco’s proposal faces opposition from incumbents such as AT&T and Comcast. (AT&T declined to comment for this story. Comcast didn’t respond to a request for comment.) Industry officials routinely show up to community meetings on the city project to stay abreast of it, Farrell said, and they’re engaged in heavy marketing of their own services. AT&T has also rapidly increased its own fiber deployment in San Francisco “in part because of the municipal threat,” Mitchell said.



Louisville, Superior leaders to meet on muni broadband, rec center updates by Anthony Hahn, Boulder Daily Camera

The question of how, and if, the respective governments approach actually implementing such infrastructure has vexed officials for the last two years.

Superior trustees urged a slower approach when presented with two potential ballot options — an increase on annual sales tax or a mill levy both equaling approximately $840,000 to fund network infrastructure — last summer. The town's municipal election is scheduled for November, and leaders are seemingly more preoccupied with whether to put an initiative funding the recreation center construction on the ballot, rather than trying to rush any broadband initiatives.

Public-Private Partnerships, Local Involvement Central to Colorado Broadband Success by Heather Heimbach, Broadband Breakfast

Greeley and Windsor, Colo., Look for Paths to Broadband — Including Building Their Own Networks by Sara Knuth, Greeley Tribune [GovTech]



In rural Kentucky, a battle to provide reliable internet by Luke Barnes, ThinkProgress



Biz Bits: Allo near top in internet speeds by Matt Olberding, Lincoln Journal Star


North Carolina

Energizing Rural North Carolina: The importance of infrastructure by Jason Parker, WRAL TechWire



Should TVA get into the broadband business? by Johnson City Press



Connections up, prices down: Broadband authority delivers by Frank Smith, The Roanoke Times

A worthy project: internet to all of Virginia by The Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board

People who are used to having reliable, high-speed internet service available 24 hours a day on computers or on their phones might have little idea how much lacking it can affect people and communities.

It’s not just the inability to stream movies, play games, connect on social media or shop online.

Areas without good internet are at a disadvantage economically. Businesses and industries are unlikely to expand into an area where there is no broadband internet service. Entrepreneurs wanting to start a business will look elsewhere. Existing businesses might find it hard to compete and even to do routine business if they can’t have a strong online presence. People who telecommute, freelance or otherwise work from home aren’t likely to live there, or they will face difficulties that people in other areas don’t have.



By Gluing Fiber to the Ground, Startup Thinks It Can Slash Broadband Installation Costs for Local Government by Ben Miller, GovTech

Christopher Mitchell, director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative, said bringing down the installation time and cost of last-mile connections could change several things for local governments looking to build networks. For one thing, it could make it easier to justify building into less densely populated areas.

“If you can really lower the costs of getting the last mile out there, then you don’t need as many customers to break even,” Mitchell said.

Small internet providers face a fight for their lives by Nicole Lee, Engadget

Why Bury Broadband Fiber When You Can Just Glue It to the Road? by Kaleigh Rogers, Motherboard Vice

5G Compromise Bill Still a Hit to Local Government by Dave Nyczepir, Route Fifty

Already the proposed legislation has earned the praise of the wireless industry, with trade association CTIA stating S. 3157 “will help America win the global 5G race by accelerating deployment of next-generation wireless infrastructure while preserving local authority.”

But Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, said the legislation is wrongheaded. He argued timely rollout of 5G, or fifth-generation wireless, technology will happen regardless of federal action, and carriers should agree to a fair price for using public rights of way.

“If we don’t immediately steamroll localities’ decision making, then we will miss out on new technology? If China deploys 5G more rapidly than us, then we’re going to lose?” Mitchell told Route Fifty. “China has more roads than us. China has more people than us.”

“I don’t see how we lose a single job if China has more 5G than we do,” he continued.