Community Broadband Media Roundup - May 14


City Committee to Look at Future of Internet in Pasadena, Just Days After Weekend's Charter Spectrum Citywide Outage by Pasadena Now

Pasadena’s Chief Information Officer Philip Leclair, who heads the Department of Information Technology, will make a presentation about the growing demand for reliable broadband services in the City, how the current situation compares with what other California cities are doing, and what direction his department is recommending so the community could meet its broadband needs in the future.

The City operates its own robust fiber optic network servicing its own data connectivity needs as well as some businesses and educational institutions, but over 99 percent of households in the City depend on three commercial service providers: Spectrum, AT&T and Frontier Communications.

In a memorandum for the Committee, Leclair indicated it may not be feasible for the City to invest in expanding its own fiber optic network beyond its current reach, and instead would rather recommend that the commercial providers be allowed to upgrade their services especially in Pasadena’s residential neighborhoods.

Farrell’s citywide internet plan could benefit transit, public health agencies by Joshua Sabatini, SF Examiner



Longmont battling NextLight misconceptions with few remaining multi-family property managers by Sam Lounsberry, Longmont Times-Call

For Boulder's 2018 ballot, fracking, broadband, soda-tax update up for discussion by Alex Burness, Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder has for about two years been seriously evaluating how the city might attract, or maybe even create, a cheaper, faster, third-party competitor to the duopoly of CenturyLink and Verizon.

After spending a lot of money and time on this evaluation, city staff has recommended that the City Council narrow its paths to achieving Boulder broadband goals.

Building out the fiber network needed for this project could cost as much as $140 million, according to estimates. City staff is most bullish, at this point, on options that would see Boulder either establish itself as the "backbone" of a fiber network, contracting with a private company to build out and operate the network; or see the city pay for and build the network, then become an internet service provider "through a new business operation within the city government."

City of Aspen looks to open up its broadband network by Curtis Wackerle, Aspen Daily News

City of Aspen expanding its broadband reach, will benefit county by Carolyn Sackariason, Aspen Daily News



Five-County Study Finds Broadband Access Lagging by Dan McGowan, Inside Indiana Business

Study Finds a Lack of Internet Access Is Having a Big Impact In Southern Indiana by Mike Grant, Washington Times-Herald (Government Technology)

A lack of broadband availability is causing problems for the southern part Indiana. Those are the findings of a study by Purdue University in a five-county area of southern Indiana. The study was done for the Southern Indiana Development Commission at the request of the Martin County Business Alliance. It assessed the availability and need of broadband in Martin, Daviess, Lawrence, Knox and Greene counties

"It is a lot bigger problem than we thought," said Greg Jones, executive director for SIDC. "We have 9,000 households that lack access to broadband and there are a lot of kids in them. They can't get online and efficiently do their homework. It really puts them at a disadvantage."



Penobscot seeks broadband providers by The Ellsworth American

Our View: Local groups take initiative on broadband in rural, small-town Maine by Portland Press Herald Editorial Board

As much as anywhere, that is true in Maine, where slow connections are holding back areas of the state that are already struggling, keeping businesses from expanding and communities from growing.

But unlike so many of our big problems, this one has an answer. Rural or under-served communities, in the absence of much of any comprehensive effort from Augusta or Washington, are stepping up to save themselves.

That good work, happening in spots throughout the state, got a boost last week when the Post Road Foundation, a national nonprofit aimed at bridging the digital divide, announced that three Maine projects will be among the five nationwide to take part in a pilot project. The city of Sanford, the Old Town-Orono Fiber Corp. and a collaboration of groups Down East will each work with the foundation to evaluate the costs and benefits of placing high-speed smart fiber on utility poles. A group from rural Michigan and one from the Blue Ridge Mountain region of Georgia and North Carolina were also selected.



Internet access is a necessity, not a luxury, must be prioritized like electricity and heat by Quinton Zondervan, Cambridge Day

Alford voters OK next steps toward broadband network by Kristin Palpini, Berkshire Eagle

Approval of several articles on the warrant were necessary to establish the broadband network. They included creating a broadband maintenance stabilization fund and a five-member commission, AlfordLink Commission, to administer it. Voters also elected to dissolve the Municipal Light Plant, created in 2015, to work on broadband. 



Ambitious Plan Would Bring Statewide Public Broadband to Michigan by David Grossman, Popular Mechanics



New state office seeks to bring high-speed internet to rural Missouri by Kae M. Petrin, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri will soon open a state office devoted to helping rural communities get access to high-speed internet.

The Department of Agriculture and Department of Economic Development launched a joint broadband expansion initiative last week as part of a 16-point plan to address the needs of the state’s agricultural and rural communities.


North Carolina

High-speed internet is not a frill. How we can get NC wired. by Ned Barnett, Charlotte News & Observer

Editorial: Thumbs up on Fibrant move by Salisbury Post



What area Congressional candidates said about the opioid crisis, broadband 'discrimination' and more by Kelsey Thomasson, Centre Daily News

The candidates also addressed the lack of broadband access in many rural parts of the district.

Friedenberg said companies like Comcast and Verizon are working to “systematically undermine municipal broadband efforts.” There needs to be more choice and competition to drive down cost and be able to dictate what level of privacy customers want, he said.

“This is discrimination to our rural areas,” Herschel said.



Hudson might seek levy to build 1 gig internet infrastructure for neighborhoods by Paula Schleis, Akron Beacon Journal

City officials are considering asking residents to help pay for high-speed internet infra­structure that would reach every household in the city and offer 1 gigabyte service at a cost that’s less than other current options.

Last week, Hudson City Council gave the first of three required readings on legislation that would put a 2.7-mill, 10-year levy on the Nov. 6 ballot to pay for the $21 million project. The final reading and a possible vote could come at the end of May.



With Municipal Broadband, Cities Are Taking Back the Internet—and Making It Faster and Cheaper. Can Portland Do the Same? by Erik Henriksen, Portland Mercury 

Last year in Fort Collins, Colorado, a group backed by private ISPs, including Comcast, spent almost $1 million to fight a municipal broadband proposal. “The big spenders were nonetheless defeated by a citizens’ group that spent only $15,000 to support the bond measure,” reported Fortune, “which passed with 57 percent of the vote... approving up to $150 million in financing for a city-run broadband utility.”

There’s a reason ISPs fought so hard: According to an estimate by the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance, “competition in Fort Collins would cost Comcast between $5.4 million and $22.8 million per year.”

ISPs also push for laws that prohibit and restrict municipal networks, often finding allies in conservative lawmakers. Twenty states “already have laws restricting municipal broadband in some way,” wrote Ars Technica last fall, “effectively shielding private broadband providers from competition even as many residents lack robust broadband options.”

These laws are generally sold under the guise of providing a “level playing field” and “fair competition” for ISPs.



Scott Co. Telephone gets $1.9 million grant to provide broadband services to Surgoinsville by Bill Jones, The Rogersville Review



Officials, Residents Grapple With Lack of Broadband in Rural Lewis County by Alex Brown, The Chronicle



Column: Broadband critical to small business success by John Gard, Green Bay Press Gazette

The adage that small business is the “backbone” of the American economy rings especially true throughout Wisconsin.

More than 25 percent of our population is classified as “rural,” and we don’t have a single city with more than 600,000 people in it. These main street, mom-and-pop businesses employ more than 50 percent of the Wisconsin workforce and keep our economy moving forward.

As we celebrate National Small Business Week, I hope that we not only support our local businesses but take time to recognize and seriously address an issue that many of our entrepreneurs struggle with daily — a lack of broadband connectivity in rural areas.



The Big Lie ISPs Are Spreading in State Legislatures is That They Don’t Make Enough Money by Ernesto Falcon, Common Dreams

In their effort to prevent states from protecting a free and open Internet, a small handful of massive and extraordinarily profitably Internet service providers (ISPs) are telling state legislatures that network neutrality would hinder their ability to raise revenues to pay for upgrades and thus force them to charge consumers higher bills for Internet access. This is because state-based network neutrality will prohibit data discrimination schemes known as “paid prioritization” where the ISP charges websites and applications new tolls and relegate those that do not pay to the slow lane.

In essence, they are saying they have to charge new fees to websites and applications in order to pay for upgrades and maintenance to their networks. In other words, people are using so much of their broadband product that they can’t keep up on our monthly subscriptions.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

A Public Option for the Internet by Alex Shephard, The New Republic

Large ISPs Urge FCC To Kill Remaining Line Sharing Rules by Karl Bode, DSL Reports

ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell Speaks at Broadband Communities Summit 12 by wdme net, SGS City

Schumer: Broadband is a Utility That May Require Price Caps by Karl Bode, DSL Reports