In a recent article, “Tell The Story We Know: Broadband Competition is Too Limited,” Jonathan Sallet laid out the case for robust broadband competition as a necessary step in expanding high-quality connectivity nationwide. The article, co-published by the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society and the Coalition for Local Internet Choice,identified greater broadband competition as one of the four “building blocks” needed to reach the goal of connecting all Americans to modern Internet access by 2030.
John Lester, General Manager of Clarksville Connected Utilities (CCU) in Clarksville, Arkansas, knows a thing or two about the value of a municipal broadband network.“ Just keeping the dollars in Clarksville is gonna have a big impact," he said when I called him earlier this month to learn more about the city’s planned foray into residential broadband services. Residential broadband is only the most recent evolution for Clarksville’s municipal fiber network, which already connects utility infrastructure as well as area businesses and community anchor institutions in the city. Home installations are due to start soon.
Not even a pandemic can stop this week's guest, US Internet CEO Travis Carter, from finding ways to bring better connectivity to his company's subscribers and the community.
Marketplace Tech’s Molly Wood interviewed Christopher Mitchell, the director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative, this morning on national radio. The pair discussed how broadband providers are responding to increased demand during the Covid-19 outbreak and what barriers there are to expanding Internet access to families sheltering-in-place.
Latest telco and electric cooperative fiber broadband partnership offers a unique model by Carl Weinschenk, telecompetitor
It’s still quite common for telcos and electric cooperatives to go it alone on fiber deployments, however. Last June, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) released research that said 140 U.S. telecom and electric cooperatives have deployed gigabit broadband services, primarily in rural areas. The majority of these were independent projects, rather than partnerships between the two types of companies. The 2019 research showed a big increase from 2017, when ILSR identified 87 gigabit broadband deployments by telco or electric cooperatives.
“While most of us take a high-speed Internet connection for granted, many living in rural areas feel disconnected,” states North Carolina television station WRAL’s new documentary, “Disconnected.” The documentary features local officials, healthcare professionals, small business owners, and families from across the state discussing the importance of high-quality broadband access and the struggle to connect rural areas.
UTOPIA Fiber announced last week that it had completed network construction in Layton, Utah’s ninth largest city. The announcement comes just in time for increasing reliance on home broadband connections as more people shelter-in-place in response to the Covid-19 outbreak. Already, UTOPIA has seen an uptick in sign-ups for its regional open access fiber network, even setting a new daily record. While some of the growth can be attributed to Salt Lake City’s booming population, many new subscribers point to the need to work from home as the reason they decided to sign up.
With everything from shelter-in-place orders to partying on Florida beaches, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) across the country have had to figure out their own responses to Covid-19. Some ISPs have cut all installs and have disbanded their offices as much as possible to work remotely and try to prevent spread of the novel coronavirus. Others have detailed new protocols. Almost all are seeing some increases in bandwidth usage. Lots of ISPs have special, temporary offers to get low-income families signed up during this time of need.
As I write this, it's March 2020 and the world is in the early days of a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus and COVID-19 have stranded many students and parents at home where they are working, streaming, and trying to "flatten the curve" to limit infections. In many ways, this sort of situation is an ideal time for this Senior Researcher to pass the torch.With feelings of bittersweet excitement, I'm accepting an opportunity which will allow me to use all the great knowledge I've soaked up at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance to work for the State of Minnesota. I'll miss sharing with you stories of local communities, their investments in community broadband networks, and the innovative approaches they take to improve local connectivity.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is seeking a Broadband Writer and Editor to join the Institute’s Community Broadband Networks Initiative in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Community Broadband Networks team works to ensure all Americans have fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access. The new Broadband Writer and Editor will manage our site, MuniNetworks.org, and work closely with rest of our small but dedicated team.
In an effort to keep families connected as schools and workplaces close in response to the novel coronavirus, many Internet service providers (ISPs) are taking steps to make their services more accessible and functional for those of us who are staying home for the foreseeable future.
Some policies are being officially encouraged by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) through Chairman Ajit Pai’s new Keep Americans Connected Pledge, in which providers agree to open Wi-Fi hotspots to the general public and to not disconnect or charge late fees to those struggling to pay bills due to the pandemic. Other ISPs raising speeds, suspending data caps, and offering free Internet access to certain households.
Somerville voters agree to seek grants to create municipal broadband network by Keith Edwards, Central Maine
Westmoreland approves broadband project at town meeting by Olivia Belanger, Sentinel Source
On February 17, Christopher Mitchell spoke on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Central Time" about the need for broadband access in unserved areas and how communities have taken a different approach to increase reliable and affordable Internet access. The discussion also touches on funding program, which is an important factor for local providers to expand broadband infrastructure in rural areas.
As schools and businesses ask people to stay home to reduce the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus, I wanted to share some thoughts about how I expect broadband Internet access networks will handle the change and increase in broadband traffic in residential areas.
Our first reaction is that, as with so many areas with network effects, the rich will get richer. This is to say that historic inequities will be exacerbated — people that have been able to afford the high-quality networks will probably see very little disruption and those who have older networks may be effectively disconnected.
Better Network Scenarios
Those on fiber optic networks probably won't notice major changes in demand. This is the easy one — it is why we have long believed that fiber optics should be the goal for the vast majority of Americans.