Community Broadband Media Roundup - March 5


San Francisco: Building Community Broadband to Protect Net Neutrality and Online Privacy by Katharine Trendacosta, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Mayor Farrell Advances Plan for Municipal Fiber Internet by Ellen McGrody, Bay City Beacon

This week, the San Francisco Municipal Fiber Blue Ribbon Board released a report recommending a set of provisions that ISPs using the city’s infrastructure will have to follow, the latest in a set of recent moves towards to the rollout of municipal fiber in San Francisco. Since taking office last month, Mayor Mark Farrell has overseen significant commitments toward the rollout of the proposed fiber optic network.

San Francisco Internet Challenges Feds, Major ISPs by Garrett Bergthold, San Francisco Weekly



Longmont officials, low-income housing residents grappling with property manager to get NextLight by Sam Lounsberry, Longmont Times-Call

Stalled negotiations between the property manager of Longmont affordable housing complexes and officials with the NextLight municipal high-speed internet service have confused residents about their potential access to the broadband network.

Mission Rock Residential manages both Quail Village and Cloverbasin Village low-income apartments, and has left residents to choose between private-sector internet providers such as Comcast — which has an exclusive marketing agreement with Mission Rock — by shunning proposals from the city to install NextLight.

While Mission Rock is far from the only property management company or landlord to stay off the award-winning NextLight fiber-optic network, some Cloverbasin residents say its deal with Comcast and exclusion of NextLight contradicts its business model of providing affordable housing; the city's internet service offers speedier connections often at lower rates than private providers.



Senate unanimously passes bill encouraging broadband internet expansion by Nick Bowman, Gainesville Times



Quincy officials eye municipal internet network by Sean Philip Cotter, Wicked Local Quincy

A municipal internet network would give people an alternative, and, hopefully, one that is less expensive, Cain said.

Cain’s resolution specifically mentions broadband internet, which comes to homes via landlines. In Braintree, the Braintree Electric Light Department has provided municipal broadband service for years.

Cain said he’s open to exploring any way of providing internet service.

“Let’s put together a plan and an assessment,” he said.


New York

North Country hungry for broadband details by Pete Demola, Sun Community News

Rural New York Communities Prepare for High-Speed Internet by Chris Potter, Government Technology

Bad Internet in the Big City by Susan Crawford, Wired



Could Portland Adopt Municipal Broadband? By Christen McCurdy, The Portland Skanner

According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Networks page, more than 750 American communities have built publicly owned broadband networks.

“When a community is served by a municipal network, the infrastructure is a publicly-owned asset, similar to a road or an electric utility. There are a variety of models from full retail, in which the city takes on the role of an Internet Service Provider like Comcast or AT&T, delivering services directly to residents and businesses, to Institutional networks in which only municipal facilities receive services,” said Lisa Gonzalez, a senior researcher for the institute’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative.



Bringing broadband to rural Virginia by John Edwards, Roanoke Times



Washington State Passes Nation's Toughest Net Neutrality Law by Natalie Delgadillo, Governing



Push for internet via TV airwaves comes to Wisconsin, despite broadcaster opposition by Erik Lorenzsonn, The Cap Times

Meanwhile, Mitchell said that the Institute for Local Self-Reliance is supportive of white space technology, although he said that the ultimate goal should remain a fiber-optic network — a more costly, but much more reliable and fast connection.



Internet Service Providers Systematically Favor White Communities Over Communities of Color by Kaleigh Rogers, Motherboard Vice

A 2016 report from Free Press, an open internet advocacy group, found that 81 percent of white Americans have access to home internet, compared to 70 percent of Hispanic Americans and 68 percent of African Americans. This gap is most severe at the lowest income level, according to the report, but that’s not the whole story.

“Even if you account for people’s income, there’s still a disparity in black and brown communities that can’t be explained by financial difference,” said Brandi Collins-Dexter, the senior campaign director for media, democracy and economic justice at Color of Change, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group.

Bipartisan bill aims to prove the value of broadband access for all by Issie Lapowsky, Wired

Court Rules FTC Lawsuit Over Throttling Can Proceed by Karl Bode, DSL Reports

In short, the ruling means the lawsuit against AT&T for lying about throttling can move forward. It also means the FTC still has some authority to regulate broadband providers, of particular note given the success ISPs have had in convincing the Trump administration to gut the FCC's more comprehensive authority over ISPs.

The FCC’s New Broadband Map Paints an Irresponsibly Inaccurate Picture of American Broadband by Karl Bode, Motherboard Vice

The Problem With America's New National Broadband Map by Rob Pegoraro, CityLab

The map’s biggest downfall lurks behind its search-by-address function, which suggests a precision that its underlying data usually can’t deliver. The FCC data doesn’t get more granular than census blocks—statistical areas that can span a city block or several counties. Within census blocks, internet access can vary quite a bit. Just because your closest neighbors have broadband doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have any.

An FCC spokesman said the agency is considering asking for more detailed coverage data from providers, but warned that this could be “burdensome.”

The map also doesn’t cite prices. The FCC doesn’t collect that information, much less factor in complications like the discounts that cable firms offer for bundling TV, phone, and internet service.