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New Resource: Map, List Of Citywide FTTH Munis

It’s no small feat to plan, deploy, and operate a municipal citywide Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network, but communities are doing it. We’ve put together a Citywide Municipal FTTH Networks list and a map, with quick facts at your fingertips. If your community is considering such an investment, this list can offer a starting point on discovering similarly situated locations to study.

The list is divided by state and each state heading offers a description of any barriers that exist and a link to the statute in question. Under each community, we also included relevant links such as to the provider’s website, coverage on MuniNetworks.org, and reports or resources about the network.

We used four basic criteria to put a community on our list and map:

  • The network must cover at least 80% of a city.
  • A local government (city, town, or county) owns the infrastructure.
  • It is a Fiber-to-the-Home network.
  • It is in the United States. 

Share the list far and wide and if you know of a community network that meets our criteria that we missed, please let us know. Contact H. Trostle at htrostle@ilsr.org to suggest additions.

Services Comparison

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. download.png upload.png The data we used is below. We thought about comparing also Qwest's "[no-glossary]Fiber-Optic Fast[/no-glossary]" 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
City State Speed Price Speed Price Speed Price Speed Price Notes
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.
Wilson North Carolina 10/10 $34.95 20/20 $54.95 40/40 $99.95 60/60 $199.95 There is also a 100/100 tier for $299.95. These prices come from the bundled options. There is one unbundled option - 20/20 for $59.95
UTOPIA Utah 15/15 $39.95 30/30 $49.95 50/50 $59.95 100/100 $147 This is an open access network, 100/100 is not offered by all service providers
Tullahoma Tennessee 10/1 $37.95 5/3 $49.95 20/5 $59.95 50/15 $149.95 There is also a 100/30 tier for $299.95
Loma Linda California 5/5 $29.95 10/10 $49.95 15/15 $99.95 - -
Compare to the best from the private sector:
Comcast DOCSIS 3 in MN 1/.384 $39.95 12/2 $59.95 16/2 $69.95 22/5 79.95 A higher tier of 50/10 is available for $139.95/month. These are unbundled prices, bundling generally saves $15/month. Speeds are "up to" depending on neighborhood congestion. Comcast marketing makes it difficult to understand what speeds you are paying for.
Verizon FiOS 10/2 $49.99 20/5 $59.95 20/20 $69.95 50/20 $144.95 These are unbundled prices - bundling with phone reduces monthly price by $5. FiOS is not available throughout Verizon footprint.
The table reflects real rates, not short-term introductory rates. Do not be fooled into thinking that community broadband networks are able to offer the best deal because they are use taxpayer dollars. Very few community networks have ever used taxpayer money. Most networks are built using revenue bonds - which means that private investors fund the network, and are typically repaid over a period of twenty years using revenues generated by the services. Some cities choose to "back" the bonds with taxes -- which means that if the network does not generate sufficient revenue, the city will make up the difference with public money. Other cities choose not to back the bonds; this is a choice made by each community and impacts the interest rate on the bonds. In most cases, community networks have been safe investments that have not missed debt payments because the communities had an urgent need for broadband. In many cases, they have so many people wanting to take service, they have long lists for the installers. The idea that these networks frequently fail is an utter myth. However, not all community broadband networks offer the blazing speeds at great prices displayed above -- some were built five years ago, when those speeds were sufficient. Others do not feel the need to push the envelope, the community is content with what they have. However, they are able to meet higher demands if a citizen requires it. So even if a community network advertises its highest tier as being an 8/1, it is likely able to offer an even faster connection to those who need it. This is one of the many benefits of community broadband - the network is accountable to the community. The community broadband networks being built today almost always offer the fastest speeds currently available - as seen above with two ongoing builds, Lafayette and Wilson.