Municipal broadband networks already serve more than 500 communities across the country, but some states are trying to keep that number from growing. Nineteen states have established legal barriers or even outright bans on publicly owned networks, according to well-respected communications law firm Baller Stokes & Lide. The outlook for municipal connectivity may be starting to improve though, despite incorrect reports that state-level broadband preemption increased over the past year.
In the Internet access industry, large corporations typically fight to maintain their positions as monopolies. Even if they have no intention of serving certain communities, big cable and telecom companies work to prevent others from gaining a foothold, fearful that they may someday lose subscribers. On the other hand, municipalities that operate publicly owned networks often encourage, mentor, and collaborate with neighboring communities to get people connected. Now, EPB Fiber Optics in Chattanooga is partnering with municipalities and cooperatives interested in offering Internet access.
Working Past Restrictions
In June, Indiana’s Hendricks Power Cooperative and Endeavor Communications Cooperative announced that they will be partnering to expand fiber optic connectivity in west central Indiana. Endeavor will provide gigabit Internet and voice services over Hendricks's fiber optic network, bringing broadband to more than 5,000 households within the next four years.
Members Want It
According to the June press release, growth in Hendricks, Putnam, and Montgomery Counties have left businesses and residences in need of high-quality connectivity. The region is outside the Indianapolis metro and growing. Because it has been historically rural, large corporate Internet access companies have not made the same investments they’ve made in urban areas.
Most Internet service providers are gone. Sonic has survived — and thrived by Sophia Kunthara, San Francisco Chronicle
Huntington Beach, Calif., revitalization includes broadband by Priscella Vega, Daily Pilot
Council approves fiber-optic network deal with Astound Broadband by Edward Booth, Davis Enterprise
When Daphne Sykes was 21, an accident nearly severed her spine and left her paralyzed from the neck down. At the time, she was a rising senior at UNC-Charlotte getting ready to start a career. During the medical odyssey that followed, she and her family persevered through rehab and occupational therapy, adjusting their routines and their home. Today, almost four years later, she’s a college graduate working remotely as an accountant from her family’s home in rural Cabarrus County, thanks in no small measure to high-speed Internet access. The Internet is vital to Daphne’s quality of life.
As you make plans for the fall, consider adding Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, to your list. From September 30th to October 2nd, broadband experts, advocates, and practitioners will be gathering there for the Great Lakes Connect Broadband Development Conference.
This year’s conference theme is “The Future of Digital Communities” and will include three tracks:
The South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG), a group of 16 cities, has joined with Los Angeles County and will work with American Dark Fiber to develop a fiber optic network throughout the region.
Thanks to the Blandin on Broadband blog for bringing our attention to this story!
Farming has gone high tech with feathers, high-speed Internet access, and cutting-edge robots. Jack Kilian a University of Minnesota engineering master’s graduate is behind the Poultry Patrol, a robot for managing turkeys and chickens.
Poultry Patrol, Sign of the Future
Broadband mapping effort to ramp up in Alabama — ‘Absolutely essential’ by Sean Ross, Yellowhammer News
Poorly connected Arkansas appoints statewide broadband manager by Colin Wood, StateScoop
AT&T redlines poor and rural Californians because it can, Frontier because it can’t afford otherwise, CPUC study says by Steve Blum, Tellus Venture Associates
Chicopee has not only reached their crossroad, they’re building it. After debating the pros and cons, the city of around 60,000 people in western Massachusetts recently began to develop their Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) residential pilot project. The service, Crossroads Fiber powered by Chicopee Electric Light, will begin with four fiberhoods in Ward 1.
When rural broadband advocates talk about the connectivity needs of farmers, they often discuss real-time crop prices, monitoring the status of fields, or the ability to submit data-intensive reports. An innovator in North Carolina has a different take on why fast, affordable, reliable connectivity is important to his ag-related business and it involves hog waste. He explains how North Carolina’s municipal networks and cooperatives need to be able to operate without restriction if the state’s agribusiness is to advance.
Methane is Power, but Broadband is a Must
American Fork, Utah, wants to build an open access fiber network to all homes and businesses in the community of 26,000 people. This is the second attempt at a community owned network for the north central city after changes in state law thwarted their first undertaking in 2001.
An increasing number of local communities are realizing that investing in publicly owned Internet network infrastructure will lead to better connectivity. In order to help these communities in the early planning stages, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and NEO Partners LLC have developed the Community Networks Quickstart Program.
We're Considering A Community Network, But….