We have developed a new video to explain why communities consider building their own broadband networks. Please pass it around, embed it in social media, and also remind people that we have a new report with in-depth case studies of community broadband!
LUS Fiber has released a new ad promoting its HDTV services - probably the best ad I have seen from a community broadband network promoting its services.
Alcatel-Lucent, one of the key vendors behind the Chattanooga community fiber network, has produced a video highlighting life in a "smart" city.
Given the high profile network neutrality and even higher profile SOPA/PIPA fights, we are starting to see more interest from filmmakers and documentarians to explore the Internet, access to the Internet, and the policy battles around it.
I just learned of a project that impressed me, War for the Web. Talking to the folks behind it, I am excited about their approach and who they plan to tap for expertise.
We’re at a crossroads in the history of the Internet. War for the Web explores this digital frontier, seeking answers to the future by delving into its past. We will investigate the beginnings of the Internet, its exponential growth in the past decade, and how this phenomenal culture of innovation—which spawned advances such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon—may be in jeopardy.
They are fundraising on KickStarter, so if you want to see this project happen, considering kicking in. They have one more week to hit their goal - so spread the message.
I like the idea of demystifying how the Internet works. The less people know about the Internet, the more likely they are to believe that only massive companies can provide it to them.
On Wednesday, Tech News Today on the This Week in Tech (TWiT) network had Christopher Mitchell on to discuss pending legislation in Georgia that would essentially outlaw publicly owned networks in the state.
I come on about 25 minutes, 45 seconds in to the show. Skip ahead below or watch on YouTube.
The following news report suggests that some in Knoxville, Tennessee, are starting to get a little jealous of the incredible FTTH network built by Chattanooga's publicly owned electric company. A number of Knoxville businesses are finding it more convenient to expand and add jobs in Chattanooga, where access to the Internet is faster and more affordable due to public investments.
Knoxville is located 100 miles northeast of Chattanooga. And 100 miles to the northeast of Knoxville is Bristol, Virginia, which has also been seeing significant job gains as a result of its publicly owned fiber-optic network that stretches into most of southwestern Virginia. In short, Knoxville should start worrying about its future and broadband competitiveness.
The Chattanooga ...Read more
A new documentary from California explores the failure of the private sector and competition more generally to sufficiently invest in fast, affordable, and reliable access to the Internet. It comes in three parts and runs about 25 minutes in total.
This provides a good summary of the present broadband landscape and how AT&T, Comcast, and other major providers are not the answer to our increasing need for better connections to the Internet.
This video looks at why these community networks are needed and how private partners look at the project. These communities are often limited to much slower networks that are nonetheless priced higher than connections in larger cities. Community networks benefit residents and local businesses by creating competition, offering higher capacity connections, and lowering prices, often by working with private sector partners.
This video is no longer available.
A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet some of the folks from the Personal Telco Project in Portland, Oregon. They have been around for a long time and do excellent work.
This is how they describe themselves:
The Personal Telco Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Portland, Oregon dedicated to the idea that people have a central role in how their networks are operated. We do that by building our own networks that we share with our communities, and by helping to educate others in how they can too. To date, we have done this using Wi-Fi technology. We began in 2000 by turning our own houses and apartments into wireless hotspots (or "nodes"), and then set about building networks in public locations such as parks and coffee shops. There are currently about 100 active nodes participating in our project. We would like to see people and businesses in every corner and on every block of the city participating.
They have been involved in the discussion in Portland over how the City can ensure all residents and businesses have access to affordable, reliable, and fast connections to the Internet.
I was just reminded of them by a video that discusses their work and some of the reasons communities need to build their own networks (below). They also have a YouTube channel with more videos about community broadband.
Communities with grassroots movements investigating or encouraging community networks should take a look at the many resources the citizens of Lafayette, Louisiana, developed in their referendum fight in establishing LUS Fiber.
In order to help educate the community, fiber supporters created a short newsletter (if there was more than one issue, I have not been able to locate it) with articles focusing on how the proposed publicly owned fiber-to-the-home network would create benefits in economic development, health care, and education. The newsletter is has a professional layout and comes complete with a glossary.
The newsletter also has a word from the Mayor (the inimitable Joey Durel) and quotes the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Broadband Policy. Finally, it also explains why the Lafayette Utilities System should build the network and cites successes from BVU in Bristol, Virginia.
Groups that are looking for strategies or a template for a web presence should check out Lafayette Coming Together. This was the organizing site they used in building support for the network, as a complement to Lafayette Pro Fiber. Unfortunately, the Fiber Film Festival web page no longer exists, but the most popular video (Slick Sam Slade) is still around - and embedded below.
An old episode examining the arguments around the network is still viewable (for Windows users) via the Louisiana Public Broadcasting archives -- look for episode #2844.