Community Broadband Media Roundup - May 16


Construction begins on plans to bring Google Fiber to Hunstville by Karl Bode, DSL Reports



Lakeland, Fla., weighs feasibility of fiber optic broadband by Christopher Guinn, GovTech

National business groups have fought the expansion of municipal broadband at the state and federal level. A representative from the industry-backed political advocacy group Florida TaxWatch attended the last fiber optics discussion, and Bright House Networks hired a court reporter to record the meeting.

Five of the seven commissioners said they would consider creating a publicly owned and operated Internet utility, depending on the results of an upcoming financial analysis and risk assessment.



Gov. Baker touts 'flexible, community-based' solution for rural broadband in Western Massachusetts by Patrick Johnson, MassLive



High-speed hurdle? Proposed Missouri law would restrict municipal broadband networks by Jon Swedien, Springfield News Leader

Missouri lawmaker sneaks broadband provision into traffic bill by Brad Jones, Yahoo Finance


Deadline looms for Missouri bill to set municipal broadband strictures by Alex Koma, StateScoop

But municipal broadband advocates blast that line of thinking, given the state of broadband availability in the state. A 2015 Federal Communications Commission study found that 29 percent of Missouri residents don’t have access to broadband service, a rate well above the national average of 17 percent.

“In the year of 2016, when a lot of people in Missouri need internet access, it’s fascinating to me that the state is trying to discourage more investment in broadband,” said Chris Mitchell, director of the community broadband initiative for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “That, in itself, is just mind boggling.”



Politicians fail in bid to squash municipal broadband in Missouri by Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica

After lobbying from muni broadband advocates, the "conference committee stripped Rep. Fraker’s language out of the bill," the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) wrote. CLIC reports that proponents of the muni broadband restriction "also attempted to slide its language into HB 1912, a bill concerning county buildings. But under threat of filibuster, the sponsor of the amendment backed off and offered his own amendment to strip out his broadband language. The session ended on May 13, 2016, with no new restrictions on local Internet choice."


Charter now Comcast's biggest nationwide rival after TWC approval by Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica

Not really 'broadband' - US grant program has 4Mbps speed standard by Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica

Group of senators say subsidized broadband program doesn't actually offer broadband by Lily Hay Newman, Slate

The U.S. Department of Agriculture runs the Community Connect Grants program and other programs to bring broadband to the rural U.S., but Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Angus King, I-Maine; and Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., wrote a critical letter to the agency last week.*

Spotted by Ars Technica, the letter particularly calls out the download and upload speed standards defined by Community Connect. There isn't one central definition of "broadband," but the Federal Communications Commission started defining broadband as 25Mbps download speed and 3Mbps upload speed in January 2015. Community Connect offers 4Mbps download as broadband (this number matched the FCC's definition of broadband before 2015), while USDA's Rural Broadband Access Loan program just upgraded its "broadband" to 10Mbpsdownload.*

Federal pilot seeks to boost broadband connectivity in rural communities nationwide by Eyragon Eidam, GovTech