Last week, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance shared a statement on the killing of George Floyd and the ongoing — and necessary — protests against police brutality in Minneapolis, where ILSR has an office and where the Community Broadband Networks initiative is based. We are reposting that statement here.
Broadband grants come to Tallapoosa County by Cliff Williams, The Outlook
Sacramento wants to give free Internet to low-income residents amid pandemic by Monica Coleman, ABC10
Colorado will miss its goal to hit 92% broadband coverage in rural areas by June by Tamara Chuang, Colorado Sun
I have been tracking from afar local grassroots efforts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to start a municipal broadband network for years. I've visited them locally and spoken to various people from citizens to elected officials about the different options. The following are my observations. I'm not trying to channel their thoughts on how to move forward.
Cambridge is a high-tech city with nearly ubiquitous coverage from Comcast, delivering more or less the same services they offer to millions of homes — which is too say mostly reliable and high-cost Internet access (that will be still higher cost next year and the next after that). In the case of Comcast, it comes with crippled upload speeds compared to fast download capacity. Customer service is . . . well, you do your best to never have to use it.
Vermont’s Department of Public Service recently released an Emergency Broadband Action Plan that is among the most aggressive of all state responses to the coronavirus pandemic. It proposes a two-step process to achieve universal broadband for everyone in the Green Mountain State, suggesting legislative and regulatory changes as well as the commitment of significant state money to achieve the goal. It commits to engaging a wide variety of stakeholders in the research, planning, and design processes as well as a reliance on the talent and knowledge base of the state's Communications Union Districs. The process outlined by the department prioritizes local control, higher speeds, and more reliability so that all of Vermont's citizens are connected via broadband by 2024.
Over the weekend, Frontier filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announcing that it would “welcome the inclusion” of the census blocks where it claims to newly offer broadband service into the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Phase one of RDOF will distribute $16 billion to providers to expand rural broadband access in unserved areas later this year.
This week on the Community Broadband Bits podcast, Christopher dives deeper into the history of how broadband monopolies severely restricted local Internet choice in North Carolina with HB 129, passed by the state legislature in 2011. In this first half of a two part conversation, Christopher and his guests, Catharine Rice and Jack Cozort, discuss early attempts to preempt municpal broadband authority in the years leading up to HB 129, speaking frankly about the sway telecom lobbyists held over state legislators.
Little-known Internet network plans Western Colorado expansion to link students, nonprofits to supercomputers by Tamara Chuang, Colorado Sun
Louisiana co-op broadband bill faces hurdles in legislature by Mark Ballard, Government Technology
Legislation in the Louisiana state house that would urge electric cooperatives to help bring high-speed Internet to rural areas cleared its third legislative hurdle Monday.But the rural co-ops opposed the bill arguing that recently amended wording in the measure would preclude the cooperatives from competing for the broadband Internet business.
A bill close to being passed by the Louisiana State Legislature would allow electric cooperatives to expand Internet access but only in parts of the state without broadband currently. This limitation in the bill, SB 406, will keep Internet choice out of reach for many rural Lousianans and could even hamstring co-ops’ efforts to expand broadband to unserved areas.
“The language would restrict us from competing with others in the broadband market but would not stop them from cherry picking (customers) from cooperatives who choose to get in the broadband market,” Jeff Arnold, CEO of the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives, explained to the Advocate.
Washington and Massachusetts are both working with publicly owned broadband networks to deploy emergency Wi-Fi hotspots in underserved communities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In Washington, a state-led initiative is deploying hundreds of new Wi-Fi access points with the help of community networks, including Northwest Open Access Network, a statewide middle-mile network, and several Public Utility Districts. And on the other side of the country, Massachusetts has enlisted the help of municipal network Whip City Fiber to establish Wi-Fi hotspots in communities with poor connectivity
Across the country, more people than ever are working and learning from home, making a quality Internet connection vital for everyone in every locality during the Covid-19 pandemic. For Americans in inadequately connected areas — rural and urban — adapting to a more isolated and remote learning and working lifestyle proves extremely difficult when lacking a reliable Internet connection.
Many electric cooperatives and other broadband providers have quickly rolled out solutions to ensure that their subscribers are connected and well-equipped to adapt. Many of them are also working with community institutions to ensure all residents have some level of connectivity, especially children for remote learning purposes.
OzarksGo Brings Broadband to Busses
The fourth edition of our report, Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model for the Internet Age, reveals the steady growth of cooperative fiber since we originally released the report in 2017. In the report, we present rural telephone and electric cooperatives as a proven model to connect rural communities across the country with high-quality Internet access. This version updates the maps and analysis in the report with the most recent federal data.
BroadbandNow.com — a company that mostly focuses on crunching different data sets to provide information on where broadband is available — has released its second report on municipal broadband barriers.
Their first one had some basic factual failings, and we were concerned that it would mislead people. The new report has corrected some of those errors, but it makes new ones that again lead us to caution against making decisions based on claims within it.