Community Broadband Media Roundup - September 25


Peachtree City approves fiber optic plan


Fairlawn steps closer to creating municipal broadband utility by Sean Patrick,

Lakewood council approves new fiber optics service provider for city buildings by Beth Mlady,


Maine PUC Considers Rule Changes to Increase High-Speed Broadband Statewide by Darren Fishell, GovTech


Committee updates city council (Austin) on broadband Internet by Jeron Rennie, KIMT

New York

Lawmakers urge PSC to speed up broadband review, State of Politics

As this study advances, we urge the Commission to take actions which expand competition in the  broadband marketplace. One such option, municipal broadband, should receive consideration and study. The City of Albany, for example, is beginning to explore the building of a municipal  broadband network and recently issued an RFP for a study to assess its current broadband options and the fasibility of building a municipal broadband network.  

Will Faster Broadband Speeds Entice Residents to the Countryside? by Denise Raymo, GovTech

Users would create a cooperative and be the system owners, paying a flat rate for Internet service and another fee dedicated to equipment purchase, upkeep and staffing.


Attorneys in Tennessee filed an appeal last week against the FCC, saying that the order that allows EPB to expand its fiber infrastructure infringes on state sovereignty. 

Tennessee explains why it should be able to limit city-run ISP by Jon Brodkin, ArsTechnica

The case could have far-reaching impacts. The FCC is testing the limits of its powers from Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which requires the FCC to encourage deployment of broadband to all Americans by using "measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market, or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment."

If courts uphold the FCC's argument that it can use this authority to preempt state restrictions on municipal broadband, cities and towns in many more states could petition the FCC to remove state laws. Expansion of municipal broadband networks would in turn create more competition in markets dominated by private cable companies and telcos, potentially boosting speeds and lowering prices.

Gigabites: Big ROI for EPB's Gigabit by Mari Silbey, Light Reading

According to an independent study commissioned by EPB, the company's fiber network has created between $865.3 million and $1.3 billion in city benefits. That's compared to the $220 million EPB spent to deploy the network in the first place. The study also suggests the new infrastructure has generated at least 2,800 jobs by attracting news businesses to the area.

Tennessee defends its community broadband ban in court by Karl Bode, DSL Reports

As we've covered ad nauseum over the years, Tennessee is one of more than twenty states to pass laws hindering or outright prohibiting communities from building their own broadband networks (or even striking public/private partnerships). The laws are almost always written by incumbent ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner Cable looking to protect turf.

Tennessee arguing “states’ rights” to block cheap internet by Paul E King, Pocketables

The argument against small towns probably comes down to who can funnel millions of dollars into a campaign chest, but it was put into law as a protection for private ISPs against the big bullying municipalities and their reasonably priced internet. In Tennessee, those small struggling underdogs that need protection from the big bad municipalities are generally Charter and Comcast.


City Broadband Plans: One Vision, Four Markets, Four Issues by Blair Levin, Benton Foundation

North Carolina, Tennessee Battle FCC Over Muni-Broadband Networks by Wendy Davis, Media Post

Community-Based Telecom Providers Recognized for Delivering Gigabit Broadband by The Rural Broadband Association, FierceTelecom

Broadband Opportunity Council

Last March, President Obama announced a comprehensive plan to bring high speed Internet to more Americans. This week, The Broadband Opportunity Council released a report showing the path to reach its goal of bringin faster Internet to the 75 million that are without a high speed connection in their homes.

Dig once: The no-brainer Internet policy the White House just endorsed by Brian Fung, The Washington Post

Broadband Inches toward utility status by Colin Wood, Government Technology 

White House: Municipal Broadband will Expand Internet Service and Increase Competition by Carson Bolter, IVN

US Report Calls Broadband a 'Utility,' Calls for Policy Overhaul by Karl Bode

While broadband may have shifted from "optional amenity" to a necessity, the report notes that "not all federal programs fully reflect" this shift. The government has paid fifteen years of lip service to these issues, best exemplified by our 2010 National Broadband Plan, a disjointed, politically-safe proposal that failed utterly to challenge the broadband duopoly status quo.

Unlike government broadband reports of the past fifteen years, however, this one at least acknowledges the elephant in the room (the lack of competition).

White House Declares Broadband Is A ‘Core Utility’ As Important As Water And Electricity by Nicole Arce, Tech Times

"Broadband has steadily shifted from an optional amenity to a core utility for households, businesses and community institutions,"says the report. "Today, broadband is taking its place alongside water, sewer and electricity as essential infrastructure for communities."

The council recommends that federal departments take certain steps to encourage broadband deployment and provide people who are not yet connected the ability to go online.

Specifically, the report is calling on the departments to expand support for broadband deployment programs by offering them access to federal loans and grants and streamline the permitting process to speed up deployment.

White House Lines Up Broadband Playbook by Mari Sibley, LightReading