Community Broadband Media Roundup - September 11

 

California

Senate Bill 649 is a power grab: Letters by Letters to the Editor, Press-Enterprise

One man’s DIY Internet service connects isolated Marin County hamlet by Benny Evangelista, San Francisco Chronicle

Brandt Kuykendall’s daughter needed fast Internet access to help her excel at school. But he couldn’t find cheap, reliable service that would connect their scenic yet secluded coastal Marin County home.

So Kuykendall taught himself how to create a high-speed wireless Internet service. In about a year and a half, Dillon Beach Internet Service has grown to connect about 145 homes, charging a flat $50 per month, with no equipment rental fees, taxes or installation charges.

 

Colorado 

Fort Collins broadband issue clears legal hurdle by Kevin Duggan, Coloradoan

Lenard Larkin wants to bring new voice to Loveland City Council by Craig Young, Reporter-Herald

On the issue of municipal broadband service, Larkin believes the city of Loveland should offer high-speed internet directly to its residents. 

"I favor the most efficient, economical option for the people, which is the municipal, also called the retail, model," he said. "It has been found that public-private partnerships are inefficient."

Broadband internet: Greenly wants your vote to offer internet service by Tyler Silvy, The Tribune

 

Michigan

Keweenaw County asked to consider broadband planning by Graham Jaehnig, The Daily Mining Gazette

 

New Hampshire

Internet connectivity a challenge in increasingly tech-heavy school curriculums by Ashley Saari, Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Peterborough State Representative Peter Leishman has previously sponsored bills attempting to give town’s more options when it comes to internet service, namely by giving them the power to issue a bond for public works or improvements of a permanent nature, including broadband infrastructure.

The bill had been before the state house and senate multiple times in the last ten years, but it’s never passed. Internet service providers object to the bill, which would allow towns to pay for installation of infrastructure in areas where a provider is already present but is offering a service that’s not sufficiently high speed.

Leishman, who was a sponsor of the bill in the last session of the house, said that a new committee is being formed in the house to discuss broadband, and to hopefully propose new legislation that can help municipalities to fill the gaps, particularly in areas where service providers aren’t interested in building up that infrastructure because of low population volume.

If that solution is still found to be allowing towns to bond to build their own internet infrastructure, that bill cannot be reintroduced until next session, said Leishman. But there may be other solutions that are found that could ultimately solve the problem.

 

New Mexico

Webinar series extends economic development outreach statewide by Sandy Nelson, Las Cruces Sun-News

 

New York

cow-face.jpgKudos to Cohoes for broadband plan by Albany Times-Union Editorial Board

Dig Just Once to Tackle Noise Pollution and Get More Done by Vanessa Aronson, Gotham Gazette

 

Tennessee

State now accepting applications for new state Broadband Accessibility Grant program by Staff Report, Times Free Press

 

Virginia

Rural Caucus learns about bridging state homework gap by Bob Stuart, The News Virginian

New internet provider option arrives in Roanoke aboard municipal broadband network by Jacob Demmitt, The Roanoke Times

While the RVBA provides its own internet service to business customers, it also allows other providers to lease space on its network. That way, new and existing companies can compete in the market without the need to invest in building their own, often redundant, networks.

When the RVBA formed and began spending taxpayer funds on its fiber network, localities touted the effort as a way to bring more internet provider competition into the region, lowering prices while increasing connection speeds.

 

Washington

Darrington nonprofit working to offer internet access by Kari Bray, Everett HeraldNet

 

West Virginia

Broadband workshop scheduled Sept. 19 in Charleston by Andrea Lannom, The Register-Herald

“Closing the digital divide in rural America and expanding broadband access has been a priority for me,” Manchin said. “I successfully led the effort to advance over $4.5 billion in federal funding for mobile broadband deployment in rural America and this workshop will be an important step toward connecting West Virginia communities with this funding and additional funding options and models for broadband infrastructure projects that will work for West Virginia. I encourage every stakeholder, community, and individual to reach out to me and attend this workshop so we can work toward closing these broadband gaps together.”

Tom Payne: Most of WV missed out on desirable business features (Gazette), by Tom Payne, Charleston Gazette-Mail

In order to attract business and high paying jobs, West Virginia must provide modern broadband communications capabilities statewide. Currently, in my experience traveling throughout the 2nd Congressional District, not only was 4G level communications not readily available, 1G communications was the only level of communications available in most of the rural counties and communities of the 2nd Congressional District. The most notable exception was the ready availability of 4G level communications in Berkeley and Jefferson counties and the Charleston area. 

High-speed broadband availability is the most important factor in a business decision to locate new business facilities. While broadband, in my opinion, ultimately settles the decision leading to the selection of a new business location, other factors, such as high quality transportation infrastructure; first-class school systems, including vocational technical training; high quality housing; high quality healthcare availability; low crime rates, including opioid drug addiction rates; the strength of families in each community, among other factors, can also have significant influence in the final site selection decision.

 

 

General 

The Monopolies that No One Is Talking About by Gabrielle Daley, Public Knowledge

Leaving aside the discussion for a minute on whether tech platforms like Google and Amazon actually might meet the definition of a monopoly under our nation’s antitrust laws (a precise and economically rigorous definition usually left to the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, or the federal (and sometimes state) court system), we seem to have forgotten about an important part of the digital ecosystem and whether it has a monopoly problem. It’s the one that’s hiding in plain sight and the evidence is in your mailbox (or inbox) every month when you get your cable bill.

Why does it matter if cable internet service providers have market power? When companies monopolize they may hurt consumers because they no longer have the incentives to compete on price or service, with the unsurprising result that even while profits for companies increase consumer satisfaction plummets and prices continue to rise.

 

Broadband is getting faster and more available-- but is it enough? By Colin Wood, Statescoop

It's obvious that there's a shortage of market competition, said Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

"It looks to me like companies that have done too little investment are trying to justify that," Mitchell said. "The FCC's numbers, these numbers, they all show most people don't have a lot of choices."

The data collected by the FCC used in the report is collected at the census block level, Mitchell said. This means, for example, that a resident who lives near a hospital that has access to broadband but doesn't necessarily have access himself would be statistically misrepresented as having access. This means the figures presented in the research are maximum values — the actual number of people who have access to these choices is lower. ...

"We are in the worst of both worlds," Mitchell said. "If we had a lot of competition, we would have more investment and better choices. If we were still in an era in which we had one investor and they were more heavily regulated, we would probably be paying less and have faster speeds because that would be what the regulators would demand. Instead, we have very light regulation and no competition."

Where the Digital Divide is the Worst by Mike Maciag, Governing

Net Loss? Keeping the neutral in neutrality by Dennis Myers, News Review

Rural Broadband Expansion At Issue in CenturyLink-Level 3 Deal by Mariam Baksh, Morning Consult 

Image of the cow in the pasture courtesy of DominikSchraudolf via pixaby.