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Posted January 9, 2023 by sean

Kicking off the new year, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s office announced $234 million of the state’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF) will be used to deploy new high-speed Internet infrastructure in the Peach State, courtesy of the American Rescue Plan Act.

The lion’s share of those federal funds, being administered by the state’s broadband office, will be gobbled up by the four national telecom giants operating in the state. The rest of the grant money will be shared by a half dozen electric cooperatives for smaller projects.

In total, the grants were awarded to 12 different applicants to fund 29 different projects across 28 counties.

Posted January 9, 2023 by ry

Join us live on Friday, January 19th, at 2:00pm ET for the latest episode of the Connect This! Show. Co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by regular guests Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and special guests Shayna Englin (California Community Foundation) and Geoff Wiggins to talk about the January 13th location challenge deadline, what's going on in LA County and with the California Public Utilities Commission, and what it's like to buy a house in Ohio and find yourself stuck in the middle of the area's Internet service providers.

Email us at broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Posted January 4, 2023 by ry

It's a new year, which means there's plenty to talk about in the broadband space. Join us live on Friday, January 6th, at 2:00pm ET for the latest episode of the Connect This! Show. Co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by regular guests Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) to talk about the recent renomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC, why location challenges won't matter for state BEAD allocations (and why that's a big deal), and what the planning funds will do for states preparing for infrastructure money. Later, Dane Jasper (Sonic) joins the show to talk about the recent announcement by AT&T and BlackRock private equity of a joint venture to help the monopoly provider enter markets outside of states where it has traditionally operated.

Posted January 4, 2023 by sean

While many of us were in the midst of celebrating the holiday season, a number of significant broadband developments were being unwrapped in the nation’s capital.

Posted January 3, 2023 by ry

This week on the podcast, Christopher Mitchell join's Drew Clark on Broadband.Money's Ask Me Anything series, and in true fashion, he never ducks the hard questions. With audience questions, Drew and Christopher cover wide ground, including why the national broadband marketplace needs publicly owned infrastructure options, the benefits of open access models, how cities can prepare for BEAD and other federal funding, and other steps communities can take to make sure that when they do work with third-party ISPs that they maintain some measure of control (like performance-based contracts).

Posted January 3, 2023 by sean

As the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is set to unleash an unprecedented amount of federal funds to expand high-speed Internet access as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s “Internet for All” initiative, all 50 states and U.S. territories have now received their initial planning funds. Just before Christmas, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced Massachusetts as the final state to receive its portion of the planning funds. While each state has received a set amount of BEAD and DEA planning funds, the amount of additional federal funds each state will get hinges on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) new broadband availability maps.  

Posted December 23, 2022 by sean

As we head into the holiday break, we present you with a bit of commentary made possible by a practical gift created by our GIS and Data Visualization Specialist Christine Parker.

You can read about it in The Daily Yonder, who published our piece on the challenge process for the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) new Broadband Availability Map.

It details why it’s important to make the map as accurate as possible and points readers to Christine’s short videos and PDF walk-through guide on how to file a challenge.

You can find it here.

Happy Holidays!

 

Posted December 21, 2022 by Karl Bode

When it comes to affordable broadband, Vermont has always been a trailblazer. From early adoption of municipal broadband and cooperatives to more recent experimentation with CUD (Communications Union District) fiber deployments, the state’s efforts are inspiring communities nationwide looking for new, creative solutions for the stubborn digital divide. CUDs provide individual communities significantly more power and leverage through cross-community alliances and partnerships, allowing them to accomplish more than they could have by themselves. And they’re a major part of Vermont’s plan to bring affordable access to every resident in the state.

Posted December 19, 2022 by ry

It's December, which means it's time to pull the staff together and get a handle on what happened in the broadband landscape in 2022. Joining Christopher is GIS and Data Visualization Specialist Christine Parker, Associate Researcher Emma Gautier, Outreach Team Lead DeAnne Cuellar, Senior Reporter and Communications Team Lead Sean Gonsalves, and Senior Researcher and Research Team Lead Ry Marcattilio.

Posted December 15, 2022 by Karl Bode

Whether UTOPIA Fiber or the growing number of cities establishing open access fiber network agreements with Strata Networks, Utah continues to be on the cutting edge of developing creative, highly-localized alternatives to entrenched regional monopolies, the first step in genuinely bridging the nation’s stubborn digital divide. Officials in American Fork, Utah say they’ve struck a new partnership with Strata Networks to build a 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) capable fiber network to improve connectivity for the city’s 34,000 residents. Elsewhere in Utah, cities continue to craft new partnerships with UTOPIA, the nation’s largest open access network. 

Posted December 13, 2022 by Karl Bode

A bipartisan coalition of Pennsylvania lawmakers have introduced legislation that attempts to reverse some of the state’s most-stringent provisions hamstringing municipal broadband builds. But experts suggest that while the bill may be well-intentioned, a cleaner approach would be to eliminate the state’s harmful and dated restrictions on municipal broadband entirely. SB1363, a new bill introduced in November to the Pennsylvania legislature, attempts to scale back at least some aspects of the state’s problematic restrictions on municipal broadband. 

Posted December 12, 2022 by Ann Treacy

North East Mississippi Electric Power Association (NEMEPA) cooperatives celebrate another year of funding and progress toward building better broadband across nine service areas.

At a recent event, Northern District Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley said: "We are going to be one of the most connected states in the United States of America in some of the most rural areas of America."

It has been amazing to watch. This has been not just a top priority for me but also our co-ops.

Collectively, the NEMEPA cooperatives already offer broadband to over 84,000 members and expect to expand to over 182,000 members once the work is complete.

Posted December 9, 2022 by ry

On the latest episode of the Connect This! Show, co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by regular guests Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) to step back and remember the ups and downs as well as twists and turns in 2022. Did the supply chain fears that dominated news cycles ever really materialize? Will we ever have a functioning FCC? Is Congress completely out of touch with regard to the cost of broadband? Is fixing the urban broadband problem fundamentally different from fixing the rural broadband problem? The panel weighs in, and Christopher gets a little hot under the collar.

Email us at broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Posted December 8, 2022 by Christine Parker

With good reason, many are confused about the information shown in the FCC's new Broadband Availability map, the challenge process, and why we should care about helping the FCC make corrections. We believe it is important to contribute to improving this map to enable an equitable allocation of Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program funds to states next year. In an effort to provide a better understanding of the map itself and the challenge process we created a short series of instructional videos and a click-through guide. 

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