San Francisco has launched an initiative to provide wireless access everywhere in the city. A number of Supervisors and residents have raised the possibility of the City following in the footsteps of over 200 other U.S. cities that already own information networks. To date, the City has not addressed that question, or at least no such study has been forthcoming.
Reports Highlighted by MuniNetworks.org
Cable, telephone and Internet industry giants are fiercely lobbying, using every tool at their disposal to gain a competitive advantage in telecom reform legislation. Some of those tools are easy to spot - campaign contributions, television ads that run only inside the Beltway, and meetings with influential members of Congress. Other tactics are more insidious.
This report was written by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Esq. and Marjorie Heins, Esq. of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law to inform a Nebraska Task Force tasked with evaluating a ban on municipally owned broadband networks throughout the state of Nebraska. Unfortunately, the Task Force was stacked with proponents for privately owned networks and seemed unable to consider any other viewpoints (more details here. From the Executive Summary:
Jim Baller and Casey Lide are two of the foremost experts on municipal broadband systems in the United States. This report offers a clear and rational defense of publicly owned broadband systems. The discussion takes on philosophical, economic, and pragmatic arguments and comes to the conclusion that communities should not be prevented from building their own networks.
Competitive broadband service and pricing is within reach of most Minnesotans if anti-competitive polices and practices are removed and municipal governments build broadband infrastructure, according to a new report released today by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The findings are contained in "Who Will Own Minnesota's Information Highways?", a report issued by the New Rules Project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
"Minneapolis and Saint Paul have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop an affordable, high quality broadband infrastructure that would benefit city offices, consumers and businesses," said co-author Becca Vargo Daggett, a former information systems administrator for a private company.
In 2005, when Lafayette, Louisiana was considering a community broadband network, it created an excellent report discussing how a publicly owned network can work to improve digital inclusion. Six years later, the report remains well worth reading.
Public ownership provides more tools for making sure advances in communications technology benefits everyone.
The telecom and cable kings of the broadband industry have failed to bridge the digital divide and opted to serve the most lucrative markets at the expense of universal, affordable access. As a result, local governments and community groups across the country have started building their own broadband networks, sometimes in a purely public service and more often through public-private partnerships. The incumbents have responded with an aggressive lobbying and misinformation campaign. Advocates of cable and DSL providers have been activated in several state capitols to push new laws prohibiting or severely restricting municipalities from serving their communities. Earlier this year, Verizon circulated a “fact sheet” to lawmakers, journalists and opinion leaders proclaiming the so-called “failures” of public broadband. Many of the statistics come from a widely discredited study of municipal cable TV networks published in 1998. This paper debunks these lies case by case, juxtaposing information direct from the city networks with quotations from the telco propaganda. The results are unequivocal and damning.
Discussion about Bristol Virginia Utilities and Chelan Public Utility District in Washington.
Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU), a not-for-profit electric municipal utility, began offering voice and data services to local schools and government operating in the Bristol, Va., area in 2001. Using a fiber optic network, the company affordably provided the community with access to the most advanced communications technology available. As a result, BVU satisfied a primary objective of enabling economic prosperity and new business development from the improved communications infrastructure.
Media Access Project, Consumer Federation of America, and Free Press co-authored a white paper entitled “Connecting the Public: The Truth About Municipal Broadband.” The paper argues in favor of supporting the right of municipalities (local governments) to deploy broadband networks.