News

Posted March 29, 2021 by jericho

 

Snapshot 

Colorado House passes bill that reduces broadband board membership and conceals mapping data

Michigan legislature approves bill granting ISPs property tax exemptions 

New Mexico and Virginia bills await governors’ action 

 

The State Scene

Tennessee

Tennessee is home to some of the most creative local solutions to bridging the digital divide. Municipal fiber networks across the state, including Chattanooga’s EPB Fiber network, Morristown’s FiberNet, and Bristol’s network, have been a boon to economic development, job creation, educational initiatives, and overall quality of life in the past decade.

Posted March 26, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance's Net Inclusion conference this year is a webinar series, running eight consecutive weeks between April 7 and May 26. One-hour webinars at 1pm ET on Wednesday each week will feature a diverse cast of policy experts, advocates, city officials, and nonprofits to talk about what's going on at the local and state level. Register free here.

Posted March 25, 2021 by sean

Knoxville, a city of approximately 187,000 residents and the home of the University of Tennessee, is aiming to become the Volunteer State's next gig city. Earlier this month, the Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) Board of Commissioners approved a business plan that, if approved, will set the utility on a path to bring high-speed Internet connectivity to its more than 468,000 customers spread out across Knoxville, Knox County, and small parts of seven neighboring counties.

Posted March 24, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

One component of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a $3.2 billion program designed to get families connected to available service that they otherwise might not be able to afford. The program provides a subsidy of up to $50/month for service (or $75 for tribal lands) as well as up to $100 for a device (with a household contribution) for as long as the money lasts.

On Episode 8 of Connect This!, hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by Angela Siefer (National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Olivia Wein (National Consumer Law Center) to talk about how it will work and what their expectations are, including who will be able to take advantage of the program and what problems there might be for both the people who need it and the small ISPs that would like to participate. 

Posted March 24, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

Franklin, Kentucky’s (pop. 8,400) electric utility is gearing up for an expansion of its partnership with Warren Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation (WRECC) with the help of $2.3 million from the recent FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The new partnership will allow Franklin EPB to add new service to roughly 250 locations adjacent to a current project in the area.

The expansion project will add subscribers in the northeast region of Simpson County and nearby parts of the city of Franklin in the south-central part of the state, where the two entities are operating a two-area fiber pilot.

Posted March 23, 2021 by christopher

The disaster in Texas resulting from an electric grid that was deliberately left exposed and likely to fail in rare cold weather events has received a lot of dramatic coverage, as well it should given the loss of life and damage to so many homes and businesses. It also raised some questions in my mind regarding competition and markets that have consequences for designing and regulating broadband networks that we should all consider moving forward.

Posted March 23, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This week on the podcast, Christopher speaks with Julie Bushell, President of Paige Wireless and Co-chair of Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Precision Ag Connectivity Task Force.

Posted March 22, 2021 by jericho

Snapshot

A California ballot initiative would empower voters to build their own Internet access solutions.

The Oklahoma House sends seven broadband bills to Senate.

New York and North Carolina initiate statewide digital inclusion programs.

Virginia is second state to pass comprehensive privacy legislation. 

See the bottom of this post for some broadband-related job openings. 

The State Scene 

California Legislation Could Lead To Massive Investments in Public Broadband

Posted March 22, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

One component of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a $3.2 billion program designed to get families connected to available service that they otherwise might not be able to afford. The program provides a subsidy of up to $50/month for service (or $75 for tribal lands) as well as up to $100 for a device (with a household contribution) for as long as the money lasts.

Join us for Episode 8 of Connect This!, where hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by Angela Siefer (National Digital Inclusion Alliance) and Olivia Wein (National Consumer Law Center) to talk about how it will work and what our expectations are, including who will be able to take advantage of it and what problems there might be for both the people who need it and the small ISPs that would like to participate. 

Posted March 18, 2021 by sean

After a decade of hopeful planning, disappointing setbacks, design work, and putting out multiple RFPs to move the project forward, the non-profit OTO Fiber Corporation in Maine is on the verge of lighting up a six-mile fiber network this summer. With three miles of fiber deployed in Orono and the other half covering a portion of Old Town, the budding network will provide FTTH service to a limited number of residences and businesses in both towns. It’s a pilot project that, if successful, will serve as a core network which can eventually be extended to cover the entirety of both communities.

Posted March 17, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) as a host organization for two Leading Edge Fellowships, which demonstrates the potential of humanistic knowledge and methods to solve problems, build capacity, and advance justice and equity in society. Leading Edge Fellowships place recent humanities PhDs with nonprofit organizations committed to promoting social justice in their communities.

Posted March 17, 2021 by sean

Is a major metropolitan Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network on the horizon for one of the Sunshine State’s most populous cities?

Longtime Jacksonville, Florida (pop. 890,000) resident Eric Geller is spearheading a citizen-led effort to rally residents and officials around a vision that would catapult Jacksonville into the fiber-connected frontier of Internet access and reinvigorate the economy of a city that was once known as the "Bold New City of the South."

Posted March 16, 2021 by maren

Block Island, a popular summer tourist destination nine miles off the coast of Rhode Island, is on the verge of building a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network. As it goes live, the network will bring gig-speed Internet connectivity to the more than 1,000 residents who call the community home.

Posted March 16, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This week on the podcast, Christopher talks with Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet), Deb Socia (President/CEO, The Enterprise Center), and Brian Worthen (President, Visionary Communications and CEO, Mammoth Networks) to talk about overbuilding. 

Posted March 15, 2021 by Ry Marcattilio-...

Callabyte Technology, the Fiber-to-the-Home subsidiary of Callaway Electric Cooperative, recently announced a new expansion into the town of Wardsville (pop. 1,800), after strong interest by residents, businesses, and local officials. It marks just the latest in a succession to area communities exhibiting a strong demand for fast, affordable, reliable Internet access.

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