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.
This is the first in an ongoing series of state legislative roundups of bills that advance the prospects of success for community broadband networks. Feel free to reach out to Jericho Casper with tips or corrections.
High-Speed Hirings - Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It
Investments in broadband infrastructure at the municipal level are on the rise, creating more employment opportunities in the broadband industry. Advocates for municipal broadband who feel called to make a change in their communities should check out these job openings:
In Adams County, Pennsylvania the non-profit media group Community Media of South Central Pennsylvania is leading the charge to build a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network for the approximately 102,000 residents spread out across the rural county’s 520 square miles. But with restrictive state laws that prevent municipalities from providing broadband service and scarce funding for non-governmental entities to build broadband infrastructure, victory is far from certain. The goal right now is to secure $3 million to bring fiber access to 1,200 homes in New Oxford and Abbottstown, two of the 34 municipalities that make up Adams County, encircling Gettysburg.
Though Washington is home to one of the nation’s fastest growing tech hubs, many communities throughout the state lack adequate broadband infrastructure. The stark divide between those Washingtonians with reliable home broadband connections, and those without, became especially relevant last year, when many were forced to rely on their home Internet access for work, school, health, socialization, and much more.
A year into the pandemic, it seems lawmakers in Olympia are finally waking up to the connectivity issues currently plaguing the state. In January, bills aiming to advance broadband connectivity by allowing public entities to participate in the retail broadband market were presented in the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature. The two bills have both cleared their respective chambers, and are waiting to be heard in committees of the opposite legislative chamber.
HiLight — Hillsboro, Oregon’s (pop. 105,000) citywide Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network — has officially launched and begun connecting its first subscribers. After five years of consideration and planning, it’s an exciting moment, with hundreds of homes and businesses brought online over the last few months. Over the next seven years, at least $28 million will be put towards the rollout, bringing the municipal network to tens of thousands of locations across the city.
This week on the podcast we're joined by Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom, to talk about the pressing broadband issues of today and tomorrow. Christopher and Berin share what they see as the biggest barriers to universal, high-quality Internet access today, including the jurisdictional issues facing communities large and small, as well as the regulatory solutions which would facilitate more rapid and efficient infrastructure deployment.
They debate whether we should spend public dollars not just on rural broadband where there are no options, but in town centers with slowly degrading copper networks where monopoly providers have signaled little intent to ever upgrade that infrastructure.
A recent announcement by fiber network builder, operator, and consulting firm Lit Communities signals both a proof of concept for a new public-private partnership and that progress is accelerating for residents in one region of Ohio who will soon enjoy Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) service from a new provider.
This episode, co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet) are joined by Deb Socia (President/CEO, The Enterprise Center), and Brian Worthen (President, Visionary Communications and CEO, Mammoth Networks) to talk about overbuilding.
The group talks about the importance of reclaiming the term as what it really is: plain old competition. They discuss the economics of building competitive broadband infrastructure in rural and urban areas, pending and related Washington Public Utility District legislation, and why we don't see more small, competitive fiber builders around the country.
The Talladega Superspeedway isn’t the only place in Alabama showcasing blazing fast speeds. A little more than an hour north of the famed NASCAR venue, the Cullman Electric Cooperative is racing to build a new Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network, bringing gig-speed Internet connectivity to the cooperative’s 44,000 member-owners spread out across Cullman, Winston, Morgan, and Lawrence counties in the north-central part of the state.
In June 2020, Cullman Electric Co-op officials waved the green flag, announcing the start of network construction for Sprout Fiber Internet. Seven months later, having hung 120 miles of the mainline fiber ring, Sprout Fiber’s first paying customer went online in Berlin, the first town in the cooperative’s service area to be connected to the fiber network.
In 2020 the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative said sad goodbyes to Lisa Gonzalez and Katie Kienbaum, but we have three new thoughtful and talented people joining us.
Sean Gonsalves, Senior Reporter, Editor and Researcher
DayNet, a new Internet utility emerging in Dayton, Texas, began construction of a citywide Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network at the start of the year. When the network is fully built, which is expected to be complete by 2023, it will include 110 miles of fiber. Pricing and speed tiers have not been announced, but network planners expect to deliver speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) for residential service at a cost of about $80 a month.
Washington's Grant County Public Utility District (PUD) has a long history of supporting the region’s potato farmers, but for the past 20 years the county-owned utility has been planting more than potatoes in the fertile soil of the Evergreen State. Its open access Fiber-to-the-Home network is more than three-quarters complete and moving into its final expansion phase, bringing benefits to county residents on and off the farm.
We’ve been having a lot of conversations with cities and communities recently looking for solutions to bridging the digital divide. If you’re new to the broadband space and looking for guidance on short- and long-term results, here’s a good place to start. Christopher joined the Michigan Moonshot's Community Education series recently with a presentation titled “A Community Guide to Solving the Digital Divide.”
It breaks down in an accessible way the key concepts, options, and costs to consider. Communities across the country face an array of situations in bridging the broadband gap, including city size, the scope of the problem, available infrastructure, existing ally organizations, and funding avenues.
The notion that states and the federal government should go to great lengths to make sure any funds they distribute for broadband infrastructure don't accidentally create competition for private providers is one that perplexes us. While the monopoly cable and telephone companies (and their Republican allies) have gone to great lengths over the last two decades to push the narrative that anything more than monopoly control in an area constitutes "wasteful spending," we're not so sure.
Join us Thursday, March 4 at 2 ET, to talk about overbuilding with Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet), Deb Socia (President/CEO, The Enterprise Center), and Brian Worthen (CEO, Mammoth Networks).
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