Posted December 11, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

Join us for the next episode of Connect This! on Monday, December 14th, at 5:00 pm ET, where Christopher will be joined by Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet), Sarah Morris (Director, New America's Open Technology Institute), and Doug Dawson (President, CCG Consulting) to discuss what we might expect from the federal government on broadband next year.

Watch on YouTube Live or below or listen to audio below below.



Posted December 10, 2020 by sean

Cape Cod is home to 250,000 year-round residents spread out across 1,306 square miles in 15 towns. Many of its residents, small business owners, and research scientists at nearby laboratories would like to see two things: a more diverse regional economy and alternatives to slow speeds and high prices brought on by the duopoly of Comcast and Verizon. Members of a citizens group in the town of Falmouth might have the answer, with a new study which shows a Fiber-to-the-Home network might be in the region's future.

Posted December 9, 2020 by christopher

The FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund results are a puzzle. The auction resulted in far more gigabit - 85% of locations - than anyone expected, at far lower subsidy than expected. However, there is a lot of frustration and confusion because it is not clear that some of the top bidders can deliver. 

Posted December 9, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

H. Trostle (they/them) is a project manager on the Community Broadband Networks team. They have a Master's in Urban and Environmental Planning from Arizona State University and a B.A. in Political Science and Classical Languages from Macalester College. At Arizona State University, Trostle focused on Indigenous Planning: their final applied project was for the Office of Navajo Government Development. Between degree programs, Trostle worked on the Community Broadband Networks team as a researcher from 2015 to 2018. Trostle is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and grew up in a small town in northern Minnesota. They are especially interested in infrastructure issues and community development in rural areas.

Connect with them at htrostle [at] ilsr [dot] org.


Posted December 8, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

A new project borne out out of the Michigan Moonshot Initiative promises to help thousands of families and students without home Internet access get online. Led by the Merit Network, a coalition of partners (including Toyota, Cisco, the Detroit Public Library, the Washtenaw County Broadband Task Force, and county school districts) is installing Wi-Fi hardware at 50 sites around the southeastern part of the state to bring broadband access to thousands. Nine locations are up and running, with more soon to follow. 

Posted December 8, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This week on the podcast Christopher talks with Michelle Barber and Andre Lortz. Both serve on the Kaysville City Council and are members of the group Citizens for Kaysville Fiber, but today they join us to talk as regular citizens of the city of 30,000 in Utah.

Posted December 7, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

In a new case study, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance explores the wide-ranging community benefits of Greenlight, the city-owned Fiber-to-the-Home network in Wilson, North Carolina. The case study details how it has been able to quickly adapt and expand service during the pandemic.

Posted December 4, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

States have gotten creative over the last half year in making use of CARES Act funding to improve connectivity for families and students, but one project in Mississippi shows that oftentimes a good old Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) build is best.  The West Jasper School District (enrollment 1,700), sixty miles southeast of Jackson, partnered with telephone and network operator TEC to do just that with a project aimed at bringing Internet access to 125 families that do not have it in the area. 

Reaching the Unconnected

Posted December 3, 2020 by sean

Today, the Purdue Research Foundation's Innovation Partners Institute (IPI) has resurrected the spirit that gave wings to an earlier an effort to improve education for students in the Kankakee Valley School Corporation. IPI has partnered with Wabash College, SBA Communications, Watch Communications, and the State of Indiana to connect 500 households to a free wireless broadband network in support of remote learning.

Posted December 2, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

On Episode 4 of Connect This! Christopher is joined by Jeff Christensen (President, EntryPoint Networks), Dane Jasper (CEO and Co-Founder, Sonic), and Travis Carter (CEO, US Internet) to talk about open access models, and the challenges and opportunities they present. During the discussion they discuss barriers to entry, differentiation, dark fiber, and why we don't see more cities pursuing projects like this. They also have a little fun sharing what they think the FCC has gotten right and wrong over the last 4 years, and what Comcast's recent announcement about bandwidth caps will mean for users and competing Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Mentioned during the episode was Chris' conversation with NetEquity Networks' Isfandiyar Shaheen and Althea Networks' Deborah Simpier about innovating financing models for expanding fiber networks.

Posted December 2, 2020 by sean

As House GOP leaders ask the Government Accountability Office to audit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ReConnect program because of concerns federal funds are being used to “overbuild,” Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have filed legislation that aims to build broadband infrastructure on a national-scale.

The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act is a bill that harkens back to when the federal government – through FDR’s Rural Electrification Administration, established in 1935, and the Rural Electrification Act, passed by Congress in 1936 – invested in local cooperatives and brought electricity to the abundance of Americans still living in candle-lit homes without electrically-powered refrigerators.

Posted December 1, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

The state of Kansas continues to build momentum with the announcement of a new, ten-year broadband grant program designed to drive network expansion in unserved and economically depressed areas. It will go towards connecting tens of thousands of residents in the state who currently have no or few options for Internet access, while bringing commercial development and connecting farms desperately in need. 

Posted December 1, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This week on the podcast Christopher talks with Steve Lange, IT Manager for the city of Wadsworth (pop. 26,000) in eastern Ohio, which built its hybrid fiber-coax municipal network CityLink back in 1997. 

The two talk about the history of the network, its push to bring more competition to the town, and its operational structure — the network, unlike in many places, is separate from the city’s municipal electric department. Christopher and Steve also talk about the phenomenal momentum the network has built over the last few years, almost tripling it subscriber base to 5,400 this year, with Steve attributing this to their focus on thoughtful planning and customer service.

Posted November 30, 2020 by sean

The failure of policy and leadership at the federal level in addressing the digital divide was ever more clearly exposed as Covid-19 restrictions were put into place last spring. And, as the pandemic continues to rage, daunting connectivity challenges remain. 

Posted November 25, 2020 by Ry Marcattilio-...

In the past here at, we’ve taken the opportunity afforded by this most thankfullest of holidays to have a little fun. And while in previous years we’ve at least nodded towards broadband as a theme, 2020 has been, well, unique. So, full disclosure: this story isn’t about Internet access. But it is about turkeys (one, in particular) and made us all laugh at a recent staff meeting. For this year, that’s good enough.

A Surprise Visitor