Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Virginia Communities Reject State Preemption Bill
Last week, Virginia State Delegate Kathy Byron introduced a bill that, if [no-glossary]passed[/no-glossary], will cripple attempts for municipalities to improve local connectivity. HB 2108, the “Virginia Broadband Deployment Act, imposes specific requirements on municipal networks that would greatly limit whether communities could offer Internet access or work with private sector partners.
The City of Roanoke and Franklin County wasted no time in unanimously passing resolutions to oppose the Virginia bill.
Franklin County Formally Opposes HB 2108
The Franklin County Board of Supervisors swiftly drafted their resolution in order to take it to the press conference in Richmond the next day. Reprinted below is the text of the Franklin County Resolution:
WHEREAS, broadband access and reliability are essential to citizens, businesses, and non-profits in Franklin County; and
WHEREAS, citizens, businesses, and non-profits desire faster and more reliable broadband speeds; and
WHEREAS, areas of Franklin County lack broadband access; and
WHEREAS, we seek to maximize County policy and funding options to improve broadband access and reliability; and
WHEREAS, Franklin County seeks to protect the proprietary information of local businesses;
NOW BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, we the Franklin County Board of Supervisors do hereby formally oppose House Bill 2108, the Virginia Broadband Deployment Act.
City of Roanoke: "We Say No Way"
The City of Roanoke Council unanimously passed a similar resolution condemning the bill. Several council members specifically discussed the impact of such legislation on the new Roanoke Valley Network and on their community’s Internet access.
The Roanoke Times covered the discussion in detail. Councilman John Garland described how he is about to lose the sale on a house because the interested buyer cannot work from home on a DSL connection. Garland noted that the speed available at the house is what the proposed bill defines as "high-speed."
Councilman Bill Bestpitch also expressed frustration with how the state bill completely missed the reality of Roanoke’s situation:
“If we had private carriers willing to provide services at a competitive rate, we would never have wanted to get into this business.”
As other Virginia counties, cities, and towns consider the gravity of the situation and the fact that this bill could doom them to a future of grossly inadequate connectivity, these local resolutions can serve as models for their own communities.
New Bill Could Make Colorado Friendly State for Municipal Broadband
Treasury Announces First States to Get Capital Projects Funds
This morning, the Department of Treasury announced the first round of Capital Projects Fund (CPF) awards to states putting together portfolios to deploy new infrastructure to unserved households.
Missouri Bill Helps Monopolies Limit Broadband Competition
Freshly proposed legislation in Missouri would prohibit towns and cities from using federal funds to improve broadband access in areas telecom monopolies already claim to serve. It’s just the latest attempt by incumbent telecom giants to ensure that an historic wave of federal broadband funding won’t harm their revenues by boosting local broadband competition.
NY State Budget Bill Sets Table for Municipal Broadband
There are some golden nuggets for municipal broadband in New York's recently enacted state budget bill, which includes $1 billion for the ConnectALL initiative. Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office calls it “the largest ever investment in New York's 21st century infrastructure (that) will leverage public and private investments to connect New Yorkers in rural and urban areas statewide to broadband and establish the first municipal broadband program of its kind in the nation.”
Michigan Moves to Limit Federal Funds for Municipal Broadband
With an unprecedented amount of federal funds to build broadband networks flowing into individual states, lawmakers in some states are doing the bidding of the big monopoly Internet Service Providers and potentially blowing a once-in-a-generation chance to invest in the locally-accountable infrastructure that offers the best chance to bridge the broadband gap for millions of families once and f
"You Can't Use an Old Map To Explore a New World": Explaining the Affordable, Accessible Internet for All Act - Part 3
Without good information from Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the federal government is essentially shooting in the dark when it comes to determining how to best target the allocation of resources for underserved and unserved communities. Even private sector investments are less efficient because of the lack of good data about broadband availability and pricing. That’s why the second major section of the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act (AAIA), currently languishing in the U.S. Senate, aims to address the nebulous nature of broadband data at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).