The city of Greensboro, North Carolina has been named a Smart Gigabit Community by US Ignite and awarded a grant from Charlotte-based Segra to expand broadband and increase connectivity options in the city.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s (ILSR’s) Community Broadband Networks initiative is honored to be recognized as one of the top 100 Fiber-the-the-Home (FTTH) leaders by Broadband Communities magazine.
Broadband Communities publishes its annual Top 100 FTTH list to acknowledge the contributions that these companies and organizations have made to the fiber optic industry. “‘Building a Fiber-Connected World’ is the tagline of Broadband Communities magazine, and each year the FTTH Top 100 list recognizes organizations that lead the way in this endeavor,” the publication explained. In addition to ILSR, awardees include fiber vendors, network operators, business consultants, and broadband engineers.
MuniNetworks and Community Networks Make the Mark
In the list entry for ILSR, Broadband Communities said:
ILSR’s publications, including its MuniNetworks.org blog, toolkit and weekly podcast that covers broadband and more . . . have shown communities that controlling their broadband destinies is feasible and has the potential to improve local economies and quality of life.
Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative, commented on the award:
We are honored to be once again named to Broadband Communities' Top 100 — the Broadband Communities publications and events have been essential in expanding community network approaches throughout North America. We could not have built our platform without their events and research over the many years we have worked together.
Broadband Communities recognized a select few community broadband networks in the FTTH Top 100, including UTOPIA Fiber, an open access fiber network serving more than a dozen Utah communities, and Co-Mo Connect, the broadband subsidiary of Missouri electric cooperative. The list also identifies a number of consultants that frequently work with municipalities and/or cooperatives, such as CCG Consulting, Conexon, and Finley Engineering.
View the full list. The current edition of the Broadband Communities magazine is...Read more
This past October at the Broadband Communities Economic Development event, Christopher returned with all sorts of news from different places around the country where people are taking control of local connectivity. He also returned with an award from the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC). The nonprofit organization champions the right for local communities to decide for themselves the best course of action when expanding broadband to their residents, businesses, and institutions.
CLIC honored Christopher with the organization's "Indispensable Contributor Award" and described their decision to recognize his work:
You have been chosen for this singular award in recognition of the indispensable contributions you have made to local Internet choice during the last decade, for your tireless opposition to barriers to local decision-making, and for your creation of a huge and immensely valuable body of knowledge about community broadband initiatives.
As a clever symbol of Christopher's "indispensable" work CLIC's President Jim Baller presented him with a special travel mug to add to his awards shelf:
In a follow-up email, Jim added:
“If Chris Mitchell and his team at ILSR did no more than tell the evolving story of community broadband in real time, their work would be invaluable. But that is far from all they do. They often write high-quality analyses and reports. They address countless audiences in person and through electronic means. They participate actively in our fights against state barriers to public broadband initiatives. They communicate regularly with the media to debunk industry myths and falsehoods. This list could go on and on. Chris and his colleagues have truly earned CLIC’s recognition for their indispensable work."
Thanks, Jim and CLIC, from all of us at the Community Broadband Networks Team at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. We are truly thankful for the work you've done to lay a strong foundation on which we can build more support for local communities.
One of the most respected and well-known organizations dedicated to improving the lives of people in rural Minnesota, the Blandin Foundation, has honored Christopher Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, with the Courageous Leadership Award.
The award was recently presented at the 2019 Blandin Broadband Conference in Nisswa, Minnesota.
The Blandin Foundation listed some of the many reasons for awarding the recognition to Christopher:
For his research, advocacy and leadership at the national level on behalf of community broadband networks, via public sector ownership and cooperatives, as a strategy for maximizing community benefits from broadband network development.
- Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance where he researches and publicizes the benefits of community-owned broadband systems.
- Honored as one of the 2012 Top 25 in Public Sector Technology nationally by Government Technology magazine.
- Leads MuniNetworks.org, a comprehensive online clearinghouse of information about community broadband. Chris is also policy director at Next Century Cities, a national community broadband advocacy organization.
In response, Christopher said:
“It is an honor for our work to be recognized by the Blandin Foundation, which has done so much for Greater Minnesota. Achieving the promise of Border-to-Border broadband Internet access requires contributions from everyone, especially communities themselves. We have always felt that Internet access — a service that education already depends upon and medicine soon will — needs much more local leadership. That leadership is what we have seen from the communities that are reaping the rewards of the best connectivity available today.”
Read more about the award and read a the transcript of an interview with Christopher about his work on municipal broadband and about being a leader at the Blandin Foundation's website.
Idaho Innovation Awards recently recognized industry leader Ammon Fiber Optics as the state’s Consumer Product of the Year. The publicly owned open access fiber network beat out companies that make expandable shoes for kids and solar power generators to win the award.
This year’s Idaho Innovation Awards event was organized by law firm Stoel Rives in cooperation with the Idaho Technology Council and Trailhead. According to the event website, it “recognizes innovations, innovative professionals and companies throughout the state” that contribute to Idaho’s economy. The other finalists for the prize were Expandals from GroFive and Kodiak from Inergy.
Belle of the Broadband Ball
Ammon, Idaho, is no stranger to accolades. In 2016, the city’s fiber network received the Community Broadband Project of the Year award from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). Many others, including a former FCC Chairman, have applauded Ammon’s innovative open access model and funding approach.
Praise for what has become known as the “Ammon model” springs from the many benefits the network delivers to the community. The Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network brings gigabit connectivity to the city of 15,000, while the open access design promotes competition among Internet access providers. Through software defined networking, the city has made it easy for subscribers to switch providers using an online portal. Ammon also offers affordable “lifeline” Internet access to households struggling financially to keep them connected to school and jobs. Find out how else...Read more
Burlington Telecom (BT), the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) ISP in Burlington, Vermont, has been celebrating two pieces of recent good news. The ISP received praise from customers in a BT survey, and became the first fiber provider in its region to be “fiber certified.”
BT has had some bumps in the road as it transitions from a municipally run ISP to a private sector one. The change didn’t stop the telecom, however, from continuing to receive good feedback from the annual customer survey. Overall, 90 percent of BT customers said they were at least “satisfied” with their service, and 70 percent of those said they were “very satisfied.” BT also saw a 5 percentage point increase in customer satisfaction with the quality of customer service, to 77 percent.
The accolades don’t stop there. Fiber Broadband Association (FBA) awards All-Fiber Certifications to those networks providing at least 90 percent fiber optic connectivity to subscribing residences. BT boasts 100 percent fiber, making it the first ISP in New England to receive the FBA certification. The All-Fiber certification not only recognizes majority-fiber networks, but also high level strategy in deployment of that fiber, and a commitment of the networks to bring the highest quality connectivity to its customers.
The Future of the Promising Network
Burlington Telecom began as a municipally-run network. However, due to mismanagement of funds on the part of the city, BT had to reach a deal with investors to settle a debt issue, contingent upon the city selling the telecom to a private entity. Back when the financial mismanagement came to light and the future of the municipal telecom first got on shaky ground, Community Networks wrote a case study of the rise and fall of Burlington Telecom.
Burlington residents, wishing...Read more
The city of Santa Monica’s efforts to shrink the digital divide ranks as one of the Top 25 Programs in American Government of 2017. That’s according to Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, who names the top programs in governance based on innovation in government policy.
Santa Monica’s award-winning Digital Inclusion pilot program targeted broadband access efforts by connecting ten affordable housing units with high-speed Internet, along with tech training and education. According to the Santa Monica Daily Press, the city received nearly $2 million in seed money from a U.S. Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant to start to fund the efforts. So far the program has given 10 buildings access to free gigabit-speed Internet access in the communal areas, with in-unit gigabit capability for $48 a month; the program has since started expanding to 29 other affordable housing complexes.
Here’s what the city’s community broadband manager had to say about the program in the Daily Press article:
“Our community’s experience is shattering the antiquated notion of broadband, technology and tech education as a luxury,” said Gary Carter, the City’s Community Broadband Manager. “Residents are providing indisputable evidence of an ability and willingness to participate in civic innovation. Taking care of our most vulnerable first, sets a higher bar and we accept the challenge.”
This isn’t the first time the city has gotten recognition for its approach to getting Internet to its residents. Its municipal broadband, Santa Monica City Net, has won numerous awards, including the same Harvard Ash Center Top 25 Programs prize back in 2011.
We’ve written about City Net, the deployment, and the many benefits. We've also...Read more
We want to send out a special “thank you” to the Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) for choosing our Community Broadband Networks Initiative to receive the 2018 National Organization of the Year Award.
Christopher accepted the award on behalf of the team at the 2018 Broadband Communities Summit in Austin, Texas, earlier this week. Rachel Ellner snapped this pic of Christopher with CEO Joanne Hovis and President Jim Baller from CLIC.
We feel honored to have received this award and want to thank CLIC for the recognition of our team and for all their work in advancing local self-reliance.
Deb Socia has been working on equity for others in a variety of ways throughout her career and so it was no surprise to us that she received this year’s Charles Benton Digital Equity Champion Award. Deb received the award on April 18th in Cleveland at Net Inclusion 2018.
Before serving as Executive Director of Next Century Cities, Deb spent three decades working in education as both a teacher and school administrator. While working in the Boston Public Schools, she acted as founding principal of the one-to-one laptop initiative at Lilla G. Frederick Middle School, an award winning school. Her continuing efforts in digital equity included a role as Executive Director of the Tech Goes Home program, also in Boston, that connected students, parents, and schools to technology resources.
We Love Deb
We’ve spent many hours working with Deb in her capacity at Next Century Cities. Her ability to bring local communities together to share victories and voice common concerns make her ideal for this role. She’s able to see a broad spectrum of issues related to digital inclusion that influence local communities’ ability to improve economic development, enhance public education, and improve their quality of life. Her personable leadership qualities at Next Century Cities and throughout her career inspire trust and confidence.
It’s no surprise that Deb has received a long list of other awards, including the Community Broadband Hero Award from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), the Pathfinder Award from MassCUE, “Leadership and Vision” from CRSTE, Frederick Community Advocate Award, and an NTENny award. Be sure to check out this profile of Deb from Motherboard; she won a Humans of the Year award in 2017.Read more
Longmont, Colorado, shows off its award-winning fiber network through a series of short videos. On July 18th, Longmont’s NextLight network took home an award from the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA). The network won 2017 Community Networks Project of the Year.
A Network For the Whole City
The city of Longmont started actively building this Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network back in 2014. Now, nearly all of the 90,000 residents of Longmont can get gigabit (1,000 Mbps) service. These videos walk residents through construction, from putting fiber and conduit in the ground to installing it in the home.
These short (2- to 3-minute) videos encourage folks to learn about the process so that they know exactly what to expect. Residents might not realize that some equipment has to be installed in the house or that the process involves putting fiber underground through the streets. Watch the playlist below: