Reports Highlighted by

The Need to Permit Broadband from Public Entities

Publication Date: 
May 22, 2006
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
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
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.

Community Broadband: Bridging the Digital Divide

Publication Date: 
May 17, 2005
Digital Divide Committee: Lafayette

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.

Report Overview

Telco Lies and the Truth about Municipal Broadband Networks

Publication Date: 
May 11, 2005
Ben Scott, Free Press
Frannie Wellings, Free Press

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.

Bringing Fiber to the User: Market Opportunity and Case Studies

Publication Date: 
April 21, 2005
Eniola Campbell, Alcatel
Allison Cerra, Alcatel

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.

Connecting the Public: The Truth About Municipal Broadband

Publication Date: 
April 11, 2005
Harold Feld, Media Access Project
Gregory Rose, Media Access Project
Mark Cooper, Consumer Federation of America
Ben Scott, Free Press

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.

Broadband and Economic Development: A Municipal Case Study from Florida

Publication Date: 
April 6, 2005
George S. Ford, Applied Economic Studies

In this paper, we explore whether broadband investment by municipalities has an effect on economic growth. To do so, we employ an econometric model to compare economic growth in Lake County, Florida, with other similar Florida counties.

The Case for Municipal Broadband in Florida

Publication Date: 
April 4, 2005
Florida Municipal Electric Association

From fiber optic communications between medical offices and hospitals in and around Leesburg, to advanced services for schools, students and a business park in Quincy, to a wireless “Downtown Canopy” in Tallahassee, cities and towns throughout the State of Florida are taking charge of their futures by investing in new, exciting and innovative broadband technologies that attract businesses, educate the young, and improve the quality of life.

Paying the Bills, Measuring the Savings

Publication Date: 
March 9, 2005
John M. Kelly, American Public Power Association

Full Title: Paying the Bills, Measuring the Savings: Assessing the Financial Viability and Community Benefits of Municipally Owned Cable Television Enterprises. This paper provides evidence that municipally owned and operated cable television enterprises are financially viable and provide large rate savings to their communities. The findings contradict allegations in Costs, Benefits, and Long-Term Sustainability of Municipal Cable Television Overbuilds, a 1998 paper authored by Ronald J. Rizzuto and Michael O. Wirth, that such enterprises are likely to be poor investments for cities.