Cuyahoga County, Ohio (pop.
Tomorrow night, the Gainesville City Commission was slated to discuss how the city will spend its $32 million in American Rescue Plan funds and how much of that should go towards extending the city’s fiber network for residential service. The meeting has been postponed due to COVID-19 concerns and will likely be rescheduled in the coming weeks. Still, broadband advocates, led by the citizen-group Connected Gainesville, are pushing for city commissioners to set aside $12 million of the city’s American Rescue Plan money to fund the first phase of construction over the next year.
On this week's episode of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast, host Christopher Mitchell is on vacation and the writing team takes over the show to talk about what brought them to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance as well as the communities they’ve spoken to recently.
A month ago we announced the launch of Let's Broadband Together, a coalition of organizations and advocacy groups led by Consumer Reports to collect as many broadband bills as possible and crowdsource the data necessary to fight the trend towards deliberately confusing, obfuscatory broadband pricing in the United States.
If you've had the intention to help out but were looking for that reminder, here it is. Head over to Let's Broadband Together and take a speed tests, submit a PDF of your bill, and answer a few questions. More submissions mean a better the dataset and more comprehensive evidence to support reform.
Click here to begin, and join Consumer Reports, ILSR, and dozens of other organizations.
The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative connected its first 900 households in Lempster, Clarksville, Colebrook and Stewartstown to its core network, funded with a $6.7 million grant from the state’s Connecting New Hampshire Emergency Broadband Program. Last month, having been awarded another $6.5 million from the federal Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the newly created NHEC subsidiary NH Broadband began expanding the network into the towns of Sandwich and Acworth, which will bring fiber Internet service to 1,500 homes and businesses by early 2022.
Nonprofit Alleghenies Broadband is leading a cohesive effort across a six-county region in south-central Pennsylvania to bring high-speed Internet access to areas that are unserved or underserved by reliable networks.
Part of its work is a recently completed Request for Proposals (RFP) in search of forming a series of public-private partnerships to help identify target areas and offer robust solutions to bring new infrastructure to the businesses and residents who need it most. As that process continues to unfold, however, the nonprofit is already working with city and county leaders to pursue a range of wireline and fixed wireless options that will result in better service and publicly owned infrastructure.
A Regional Approach
Ten years ago the local cable provider in Tuttle, Oklahoma (pop. 7,300) went bankrupt. After looking at community-owned networks around the country, city officials decided that it should invest for the well-being of its local economy and its residents, as well as to give local government the tools it needed to increase efficiency and save money. Its network, Tuttle Fiber, is complete today, and will deliver universal, fast, affordable, and locally accountable Internet access for decades to come.
This week on the Community Broadband Bits podcast, Christopher Mitchell is joined by Executive Director of the ConnectMaine Authority, Peggy Schaffer to discuss strategies that might make Maine and other states successful in solving connectivity issues with the $42 billion in broadband funding the new infrastructure plan sets aside to go directly to states.
Springfield prides itself as a “City of Firsts.” Located in central Massachusetts, 90 miles west of Boston, Springfield is where the nation’s first armory was located and where the first U.S.-made automobile was built. It’s also the birthplace of basketball and Theodor Geisel, better known by his pen name “Dr. Seuss.”
Last month, the city took its first step to explore whether it will become the first of New England’s five biggest cities to build a municipal fiber-to-the-home network.
The three-day virtual conference will be packed with presentations and community-led discussions from experts who’ve worked on tribal community networks. Their conversations will cover a range of topics to assist Indigenous leaders interested in pursuing connectivity solutions, including funding sources, advocacy, digital tools, and a range of other matters.
From the announcement:
Jamestown - home to 30,000 residents, the largest population center in western Chautauqua County - could become the first city in the state of New York to construct a citywide municipal fiber network using American Rescue Plan relief funds.
In April, Mayor Eddie Sundquist formed a task force to assess the potential for a municipal fiber network in Jamestown. The city is currently working with EntryPoint Networks on a feasibility study to estimate the overall cost of the project, as well as surveying residential interest in building a municipally owned open access broadband network in Jamestown.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes $65 billion for expanding access to reliable, high-speed Internet service, passed in the U.S. Senate yesterday. The full text of the bill, posted on U.S. Sen. Krysten Sinema’s (D-Arizona) website, appears to be identical to the draft of the bill detailed here by the law firm Keller & Heckman.
For those of us who favor local Internet choice, the bill is a mixed bag filled with The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Let’s start with …
Two utility cooperatives in South Carolina have teamed up to bring fiber-to-the-home Internet service to members living in Anderson, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens and Spartanburg counties. It’s a partnership that has given birth to Upcountry Fiber, a new subsidiary owned by Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative (BREC). The plan is to build out the network incrementally with construction expected to take five years to complete. BREC is not only focused on serving its 25,000 members, when the network is fully built-out, all 64,890 households and businesses in Blue Ridge’s 1,800 square mile service area will have access to gigabit speed fiber connectivity.
On this week’s episode of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, Christopher Mitchell and ILSR Senior Reporter, Editor, and Researcher Sean Gonsalves talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate today — the episode was recorded last week, before the vote.