News

Posted March 22, 2022 by Henry

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by Nancy Werner, General Counsel of the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). 

During the conversation, the two talk about NATOA and its role in supporting community broadband projects, how the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Act is structured, and how exactly BEAD grant money can be used. They also get into the nitty gritty of funding MDU deployment projects with BEAD money, and what priorities need to be considered to access those funds. The show ends with a discussion about the promise and shortcomings of taking a simplified approach to setting right of way and franchise fees.

Posted March 21, 2022 by sean

Consultants working with the City of Mansfield – the seat of DeSoto Parish – are nearing completion of a comprehensive community assessment as the small northwest Louisiana community of about 4,500 is setting the table to build a municipal fiber network.

In October 2021, Mansfield’s five-member city council voted unanimously to hire Louisiana Connected to lead the study in partnership with Lit Communities. After the council vote, Mansfield Mayor John H. Mayweather, Sr. described the decision as the first step in establishing a public-private partnership to bring reliable and affordable high-speed Internet access to every household and business in the city.

In a press statement released after the October vote, Mayor Mayweather said:

Posted March 18, 2022 by Karl Bode

Buoyed by an explosion in new grants and the recent elimination of state restrictions on community broadband deployments, Washington State is awash in freshly-funded local broadband proposals that should go a long way toward shoring up affordable Internet access across the Pacific Northwest. Thirteen Washington State counties, ports and Tribal associations recently received $145 million in Broadband Infrastructure Acceleration grants aimed at boosting Internet access and affordability statewide.

Posted March 18, 2022 by Emma Gautier

Located in southeastern Iowa, Dubuque (pop. 60,000) has considered the advantages of building a municipal network a number of times over the past fifteen years. Back in 2005, the city – as well as several other Iowa communities – voted to “grant the right to create municipal systems” (Telegraph Herald, 2009). The new legislation, however, did not result in many new telecommunications utilities. 

Posted March 17, 2022 by Henry

In this episode of the Connect This! Show, co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by regular guests Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) to talk about cities building broadband. Later, the panel will be joined by special guest Sascha Meinrath. 

The panel will reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly of urban broadband projects around the country. What are cities doing right? What are cities doing wrong? We're taking a look at the big picture, and asking what ISPs, municipalities and others can do to get creative in addressing digital equity concerns head on.

Posted March 15, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-...

Two years after launching a community-based model to help residents overcome the digital skills challenges that keep so many offline, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) announced in February 2022 that it has received a $10 million grant from Alphabet subsidiary Google to dramatically expand the impact of its Digital Navigator Corps model across the country. The money will allow NDIA to take the Corps nationwide to 18 new communities (including Tribal sites), helping thousands of people overcome adoption barriers with the help of local experts. 

Posted March 15, 2022 by Henry

This week on the podcast, Christopher is joined by ILSR Community Broadband Networks Research Team Lead Ry Marcattilio-McCracken and Communications Team Lead Sean Gonsalves.

During the conversation, the three discuss stories from the big list of American Rescue Plan Community Broadband Projects, Sean’s Broadband Breakfast Telehealth Op-Ed with Craig Settles, and why healthcare providers aren’t advocating for universal healthcare. They also get into ILSR Researcher Christine Parker’s recent piece breaking down Broadband Now’s Broadband Pricing Changes report. Christopher ends the show by ranting about inaction by cities to address the digital divide, with Sean and Ry weighing in.

Posted March 14, 2022 by sean

Named for its iron-rich natural springs, Yellow Springs is a hip and diverse village of approximately 3,600 Central Ohioans that most recently made headlines because of the controversy over comedian and actor Dave Chappelle’s opposition to a housing development proposal in the hometown of its most famous resident.

While the Village Council ultimately sided with Chappelle and other resident opponents in scaling back the planned development, in January the council gave their unanimous support for a different project that promises to connect village residents.

Posted March 11, 2022 by sean

Last year, nearly two dozen community leaders in Baltimore were brought together with national experts for a five-week crash course on network engineering, federal policymaking, community broadband networking, and grassroots organizing.

It was an online program called “The Digital Equity Leadership Lab (DELL)” – an initiative created by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation in response to “other digital inclusion programs across the U.S. that have failed to consider the technical aspects of the Internet and social inequalities alongside broader Internet policy and advocacy goals.”

Posted March 10, 2022 by Karl Bode

Last November the LA County Board of Supervisors quietly and unanimously approved a project that could dramatically reshape affordable Internet access in the largest county in the United States. The newly approved plan first aims to deliver wireless broadband to the 365,000 low-income households in Los Angeles county that currently don’t subscribe to broadband service, starting with a 12,500 home pilot project. But the vote also approved a new feasibility study into a Los Angeles county-wide municipal fiber network.

Posted March 9, 2022 by DeAnne Cuellar

The State of Texas is notorious for pitting communities against one another. This time around, it's the little town versus the big city in the funding arena to improve Internet access.

Posted March 8, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-...

This week, we bring you a special field report from Maryland-based radio and podcast producer Matt Purdy. Through interviews, Purdy documents the connectivity struggles that have persisted in Baltimore's historically marginalized neighborhoods for decades. Those challenges have only become more pronounced with the pandemic, prompting local officials to begin making moves in the direction of something we've not yet seen in a community the size of Baltimore: building a city-owned, open access fiber network.

Posted March 8, 2022 by Henry

In this episode of the Connect This! Show, co-hosts Christopher and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) are joined by Christy Batts (CDE Lightband), Robert Boyle (Planet Networks), and Jim Troutman (Jim Troutman (Tilson Broadband & NNENIX) for an exciting technical conversation.

The panel will dig into serving MDUs, building passive vs active networks and more!

Subscribe to the show using this feed on YouTube Live or here on Facebook Live, or visit ConnectThisShow.com.

Email us broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Posted March 8, 2022 by Henry

This week on the podcast, radio producer Matt Purdy reports a story on Baltimore’s efforts to build a municipal broadband network that prioritizes equity for historically marginalized communities.

This show is 13 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed. You can listen to the story on this page or visit the Community Broadband Bits page.

Posted March 7, 2022 by Ry Marcattilio-...

Pierce Pepin Electric Cooperative (PPEC), headquartered in Ellsworth, Wisconsin (pop. 3,300), announced in July of 2021 the start of a new phase of life, and the beginning of a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) project that will connect its 6,800 members by 2025.

The $32 million-dollar project was begun at the end of last year. The move, powered by financial commitment from the cooperative but also state grants so far, will roughly double the cooperative’s physical plant assets, and ensure that member-owners will get fast, locally accountable broadband access for the lifetime of the infrastructure.

Bringing Service to Areas Ignored by Others

Incorporated in 1937, today PPEC serves the majority of Pierce County and parts of Buffalo, Pepin, and St. Croix counties just across the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, along the Mississippi River. 

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