Salisbury, a city of nearly 30,000 in North Carolina, has started building its full fiber-to-the-home network. Salisbury had some difficulty in funding the network at first due to the collapsing economy last year. However, they securing financing in November 2008 and have now started building the network. A recent Salisbury Post article notes that Atlantic Engineering Group is installing conduit. However, residents will have to wait more than a year to take any services. They still have to build the multi-million dollar head end. They already have agreements covering access to the telephone polls -- which are owned by Duke Energy and AT&T.
Tag: "north carolina"
Community broadband networks offer some the highest capacity connections at the lowest costs. Many of these communities, before building their networks, were dependent on 1.5 Mbps connections that cost hundreds of dollars, or less reliable DSL and cable networks.
The community broadband networks below are full FTTH networks, so the advertised speeds are the experienced speeds -- unlike typical cable advertised speeds, which users pay for but rarely experience due to congestion on the shared connection.
In comparing some of the fastest publicly owned broadband networks to some of the fastest national private sector networks, we found that the publicly owned networks offer more value per dollar. Update: A few weeks after this was published, Verizon upped its speeds and prices for several of the tiers.
The data we used is below. We thought about comparing also Qwest's "Fiber-Optic Fast" speeds, but their fastest upload speeds are below 1 Mbps, which makes them too pokey for the above networks.
Community Broadband Networks: The Best of the Best
Note: Speeds are expressed as Mbps Down/Up. Each network has distinct offering for each tier.
|Tier 1||Tier 2||Tier 3||Tier 4|
|Lafayette||Louisiana||10/10||$28.95||30/30||$44.95||50/50||$57.95||-||-||All connections come with 100Mbps connections to others on the local network.|
Cities investigating community fiber networks are used to scurrilous attacks from both incumbents and anti-government "think tanks," which are often directly funded by private service providers. Usually the attacks aren't as silly as the one that the John Locke Foundation levied against Salisbury, North Carolina.
Though attacks on community broadband from anti-government groups are common, this report betrays either a stunning lack or technical expertise on the part of the writers, or an assumption that the reader is totally ignorant. Fortunately, Salisbury has confronted them head on, as should any community in a similar position.
Back in 2005, the American Public Power Association debunked many of the same claims and the same flawed methodology used then to attack municipal cable providers. We have collected other reports since then that debunk the claims of these anti-government groups.
Many private, often incumbent and monopolistic, providers use the term "level playing field" as code for ensuring communities are unable to build their own networks. They do not actually want a "level playing field," they want more advantages for their businesses.
Consider the fight in 2009 over this issue in North Carolina:
HB 1252 would create extraordinary financial accounting and administrative burdens on municipal broadband providers that would render their existence fiscally difficult, if not impossible. The bill also subjects municipalities to the new jurisdiction of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, while not requiring the same of private providers. Also troubling is the injunctive relief provision, which could encourage litigation for purposes of gaining competitive advantage. Furthermore, the legislation appears to prevent municipalities from pursuing alternative funding sources, such as broadband grant programs included in the Federal stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Source: Save NC Broadband Blog
Additionally, the process in North Carolina reveals the extent to which private providers like Time Warner buy legislation in some states.
While big companies like Time Warner Cable pretend to be the underdog compared to community networks, the reality is that big national corporations have far more advantages than any local government. We created this video to illustrate the point:
Cable and telephone companies are able to cross-subsidize their networks - they can charge more in the areas they serve where there are no competitors in order to charge less in a competitive community. Numerous state and federal laws prohibit public entities from cross subsidizing across services. Further, when private companies are forced to have open meetings and disclose their business plans like their public sector counterparts, we will be closer to a "level playing field."Read more
InternetforEveryone.org is working to shed light on the millions of Americans who live without regular Internet access or lack the training or equipment to get online. A small reporting team is traveling to communities across the country to tell people's stories. Free Press' Megan Tady interviewed residents of Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C. On this site, you can follow our trek and get an up-close view of America’s urban digital divide. InternetforEveryone.org is working to shed light on the millions of Americans who live without regular Internet access or lack the training or equipment to get online. A small reporting team is traveling to communities across the country to tell people's stories.
Free Press' Megan Tady interviewed residents of Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C. On this site, you can follow our trek and get an up-close view of America’s urban digital divide.
Jim Baller and Casey Lide of the Baller Herbst Law Group produced this tremendous white paper for e-NC. It covers the importance of broadband, relationship to economic development, and offers some recommendations.
This entire site has been greatly informed by this paper. It collects many important examples of how important broadband is and the communities that have greatly benefited by taking action to build networks that responded to their needs.
Although it does not explicitly recommend public owned networks, it provides the foundation for what broadband can offer. This foundation is useful for understanding why privately owned, unaccountable networks are inferior to those that are rooted in the community.