Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative (CCEC) broke ground last month in Oregon on the construction of the Beacon Broadband Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network, launching a project that will connect 13,000 businesses and residents in areas that have historically been left behind when it comes to broadband investment. The project is estimated to cost $60 million, running more than 1,400 miles of fiber across Coos-Curry Electric’s service territory. The buildout time is anticipated to take three to four years.
The Searsport Broadband Committee is pushing forward with a plan to bring a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network to town residents. The committee hopes to hold a special town meeting soon, where residents will be asked to vote on a bond to pay for it.
Searsport, Maine (pop. 2,600), known for being “the home of famous sea captains” and the “Antique Capital of Maine,” is certainly not an antique when it comes to the town's perspective on the necessity of broadband and the long-term benefits that come from investing in fiber.
Numerous towns located in a region of southeastern Maine dubbed “Paddler’s Paradise” by outdoor adventurers and watersports fans are exploring more collaborative ways to improve local Internet connectivity. The Greater Portland Council of Governments (GPCOG) recently issued a request for proposal [pdf] on behalf of several towns located in the Sebago Lakes region of Cumberland County, Maine. Proposals are due May 31st.
GPCOG, in partnership with Cumberland County, the Community Concepts Finance Corporation, and the Northern Forest Center, is seeking technical assistance to coordinate a regional, multi-town approach to better broadband.
Yesterday, following weeks of anticipation, State Gov. Jay Islee signed the Public Broadband Act (H.B. 1336), removing all restrictions on public broadband in the state of Washington, according to the bill’s primary sponsor, State Rep. Drew Hansen, D-23. This critical leap forward in Washington drops the number of states with laws restricting community broadband to 17.
Rep. Hansen’s tweet announcing the passage of H.B. 1336:
BREAKING: Governor Inslee just signed my Public Broadband Act so we have ENDED ALL RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC BROADBAND IN WASHINGTON STATE!!
Next step: contact your local gov’ts (utility districts, ports, counties, etc.) & tell them you want public broadband.
Co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by Reid Fishler (Senior Director, Hurricane Electric) and Fletcher Kittredge (CEO, GWI). They'll talk about the issues that come up in building and maintaining backhaul routes and exchange points, like resiliency, competition, capacity, reliability, efficiency, cost, and innovation.
The show will begin on Tuesday, May 20th at 5p ET/4p CT.
Email us email@example.com with feedback and ideas for the show.
Watch here, or below.
Baratunde Thurston hosted Bruce Patterson on the most recent episode of his podcast How To Citizen. The episode is a deep dive into the consequences of a lack of competition in Internet access, and how the city of Ammon on stepped up to meet the challenge. Baratunde talks with Technology Director Bruce Patterson about how he got into this space, how the project got started, and the wealth of positive outcomes it has help drive for the community.
Listen here, then watch the video below on how the network is saving money, creating competition for broadband services, and creating powerful new public safety applications.
Last week we wrote about the partnership between Long Prairie, Minnesota and the forward-thinking and locally minded local telephone cooperative CTC to build a citywide fiber network and bring affordable, high-speed Internet to everyone in town. Long Prairie isn’t alone, however, among north-central Minnesota communities needing better options. For Ely and Little Falls, CTC has likewise become a natural partner.
On Episode 12 of Connect This!, hosts Christopher Mitchell and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by returning guests Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and Kimberly McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) to talk about the recently released Treasury rules outlining the upcoming infrastructure funds going to states and local governments for critical infrastructure.
Earlier this year in March, the Biden Administration signed the American Rescue Plan Act, which included, among many other things, multiple sources of funds for broadband infrastructure. The U.S. Department of Treasury was tasked with writing the rules of how local governments can spend the various funds. The Interim Rule has been published and it appears to significantly limit local ability to invest in needed networks.
The mayors of nine cities in eastern North Carolina have had enough of Suddenlink's poor service. WRAL reports that they've called on the state legislature to overturn HB 129 and let them build their own networks after years of unreliable connectivity:
“[HB 129] forbade any kind of municipality from establishing broadband as one of their utilities,” Rocky Mount mayor Sandy Roberson said.
Roberson said Internet service in Nash and Edgecombe counties had been a problem for years.
There have been so many complaints against the area’s major provider, Suddenlink, since the COVID-19 pandemic began that the mayor of Tarboro called for the state Attorney General to investigate the company in January.
Florida Legislature rewrites utility pole bill to include language backed by municipal electric utilities
North Carolina’s County Broadband Authority Act includes clause drawing criticism from electric co-ops
Oklahoma Governor signs mapping bill, vetoes measure adding Tribal representation to state broadband council
The State Scene
A Florida bill, which included provisions that would have forced Florida’s municipal electric utilities and their ratepayers to pay private Internet Service Providers’ utility pole make-ready costs, was significantly revised before passing the State House by a unanimous vote of 115-0 on April 28.
A couple of months ago we wrote about the city of Tucson’s efforts to bridge the digital divide by building a wireless citywide network. On this episode of the podcast, Christopher talks with Collin Boyce, the city’s Chief Information Officer, to hear more about how the effort started, what they’ve learned along the way, and the impact it’s having on the community.
Tonight, at 6:45 ET, we will have a special episode of the Connect This! show with Doug Dawson, Kim McKinley, and Travis Carter to respond to the Interim Rule issued by President Biden's Treasury Department, which basically makes it difficult for most local governments to use the funds for broadband infrastructure. (We have a forthcoming story to explain this in more depth.)
The Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation (ATMC) is expanding gigabit fiber Internet access with financial assistance from federal and state grants to provide high-speed broadband to residents living in some of North Carolina's most rural, poverty-stricken regions.
A $7.9 million federal allotment from the USDA’s ReConnect Program, to which the North Carolina-based telephone cooperative is contributing matching funds, has kickstarted a $15.87 million Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband deployment project in one of the Coastal Plains’ southernmost counties.