Reports Highlighted by MuniNetworks.org

Municipal Broadband: Demystifying Wireless and Fiber-Optic Options

Publication Date: 
January 15, 2008
Author(s): 
Christopher Mitchell - Institute for Local Self-Reliance

The United States, creator of the Internet, increasingly lags in access to it. In the absence of a national broadband strategy, many communities have invested in broadband infrastructure, especially wireless broadband, to offer broadband choices to their residents.

Newspaper headlines trumpeting the death of municipal wireless networks ignore the increasing investments by cities in Wi-Fi systems. At the same time, the wireless focus by others diverts resources and action away from building the necessary long term foundation for high speed information: fiber optic networks.

Bureaucrats as Entrepreneurs: Do Municipal Telecommunications Providers Hinder Private Entrepreneurs?

Publication Date: 
January 14, 2008
Author(s): 
Janice A. Hauge, University of North Texas
Mark A. Jamison, University of Florida
Richard J. Gentry, West Virginia University

We consider how government-owned enterprises affect privately owned rivals. Specifically, we compare the types of markets that municipally owned telecommunications providers in the United States serve to the types of markets that competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) serve. We find that CLECs focus on potential profitability while municipalities appear to respond to other factors, such as political considerations or the desire to provide competition to incumbents. As a result, municipal providers tend to serve markets that CLECs do not.

Burlington Telecom Case Study

Publication Date: 
September 1, 2007
Author(s): 
Christopher Mitchell - Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Burlington Telecom, a city department in the largest city of Vermont, offers a world class fiber-to-the-home network offering cable television, fast broadband, and telephone services. This case study explains how they did it.

ILSR issued a report in 2011 that updates this case study: Learning from Burlington Telecom: Some Lessons for Community Networks

Localizing the Internet: Five Ways Public Ownership Solves the U.S. Broadband Problem

Publication Date: 
January 15, 2007
Author(s): 
Becca Vargo Daggett

A new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance argues that a publicly owned information infrastructure is the key to healthy competition, universal access, and non-discriminatory networks.

“Localizing the Internet: Five Ways Public Ownership Solves the U.S. Broadband Problem” notes that high speed broadband is becoming ever more widespread. But, it argues, the way in which that broadband is introduced may be as important as whether it is introduced.

Is Publicly Owned Information Infrastructure A Wise Public Investment for San Francisco?

Publication Date: 
August 14, 2006
Author(s): 
Becca Vargo Daggett

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.

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Publication Date: 
August 10, 2006
Author(s): 
Common Cause

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.

The Need to Permit Broadband from Public Entities

Publication Date: 
May 22, 2006
Author(s): 
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, Esq. - Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
Marjorie Heins, Esq. - Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

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:

The Case for Public Fiber-to-the-User Systems

Publication Date: 
March 6, 2006
Author(s): 
Jim Baller - Baller Herbst Law Group
Casey Lide - Baller Herbst Law Group

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.

Who Will Own Minnesota's Information Highways?

Publication Date: 
June 13, 2005
Author(s): 
David Morris
Becca Vargo Daggett

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.

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