Tag: "press release"

Posted November 28, 2017 by Nick

Date: November 28th, 2017

New Map Shows Stunning Fiber Internet Access from Rural Cooperatives

ILSR researchers chart how cooperatives connect rural America while big telephone companies abandon them

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- Despite dismal rural connectivity in general, a small number of rural towns and farming communities have better Internet access than is available in most metro regions. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has mapped the fiber-optic footprint and gigabit connectivity of all cooperatives in rural America in a new policy brief.

The rural cooperative fiber map is attached below. Many will be surprised at the remarkable footprint of residential fiber-optic access across wide swaths of rural America. ILSR’s experts are available to discuss the implications of cooperatives on rural broadband Internet expansion.

“Once again, rural cooperatives have built essential infrastructure in regions otherwise abandoned by the biggest telephone companies,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Despite the biggest federal subsidies going to the biggest companies, the local cooperatives have built far better networks.”

Here are some helpful bullets about the policy brief:

  • Most of the 260 telephone cooperatives and at least 60 electric cooperatives have built out  fiber infrastructure to serve businesses and/or residents

  • Some of these cooperatives have 80 years of experience rolling out rural infrastructure and ensuring it remains viable and affordable.

  • The majority of North Dakota already has Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) and the poorest county in the country (Jackson County, Kentucky) has FTTH. We can do this anywhere.

Solving rural Internet access is not only achievable and affordable, we are far closer to doing it than most people realize.

If you're interested in gaining perspective on this issue from Christopher Mitchell, please email back here or schedule an interview through Nick Stumo-Langer at 612-844-1330.

About Christopher Mitchell:
...

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Posted November 8, 2017 by Nick

Date: November 8, 2017

Colorado Voters Once Again Reject Monopolies in Internet Service at the Ballot Box

All 18 voting communities opt out of restrictive state law, Fort Collins ensures municipal utility can provide broadband service

Contact:

​Christopher Mitchell

christopher@ilsr.org

612-545-5185​

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- Voters across the state of Colorado have, once again, rejected big telecom by opting out of a restrictive state law. SB 152, which limits the ability of Coloradoans to explore high-speed municipal broadband has been in place since 2005, thanks to big telecom’s political heft.

As of Wednesday morning, we are prepared to announce that all 18 communities, plus Fort Collins have passed their measures by an average margin of 82.72%, and we are confirming and monitoring these results.

“We have seen overwhelming support for local Internet choice in Colorado” says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “These cities and counties recognize that they cannot count on Comcast and CenturyLink alone to meet local needs, which is why you see overwhelming support even in an off-year election.”

The 18 communities who voted to opt out of SB 152 join approximately 100 other Colorado communities that have, over the past few years, asserted their own local authority over Internet service. Now these communities have the option to improve their Internet service, allowing for a crucial economic development activity. (See our detailed map below, available for republication with attribution - just email stumolanger@ilsr.org)

In Fort Collins yesterday, a high margin of voters supported an amendment to their city charter which will ease the way for their municipal utility to offer high-speed telecommunications...

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Posted November 6, 2017 by Nick

Date: November 6th, 2017

Colorado Communities Set to Reclaim Local Authority, Rebuff Internet Access Monopolies

18 communities across the state will vote to join nearly 100 of their fellows in investigating Internet infrastructure investments

Contact:

​Christopher Mitchell, christopher@ilsr.org

612-545-5185​

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN -- Tomorrow, 18 communities across Colorado will be voting to reclaim their local authority to end broadband monopolies. Since 2008, nearly 100 communities across Colorado have opted out of a restrictive state law (SB 152) which limits the ability of Coloradans to explore high-speed municipal broadband. This year is no different.

We at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance have a full list of those voting on the opt out measures. Additionally Fort Collins, who opted out of SB 152 in the fall of 2015, has a ballot referendum to establish a municipal utility that offers high-speed Internet service. We’ll be following that closely as well.

“These ballot initiatives are a crucial step toward better Internet access throughout Colorado,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Local governments are smart to reclaim the authority they need to ensure local businesses and residents aren’t stuck with cable monopolies.”

Communities across Colorado have long benefited from municipal networks. Cortez has brought real competition to its local businesses. Longmont has one of the lowest priced, highest quality services in the nation. Rural Rio Blanco has fiber optic and wireless connections that have brought a real choice in high quality Internet access to much of a very rural county. Many more communities are exploring the opportunities that a municipal network offers, including those who voted last November (all of whom passed their measures). Here’s our map of last year’s voting communities:

...

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Posted November 6, 2017 by Nick

Date: November 6, 2017

Comcast Sets Fort Collins Election Spending Record Opposing Broadband Competition

The Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association is spending almost half a million to deny residents a real choice in broadband Internet access

Contact:
​Christopher Mitchell
612-545-5185​

Campaign Spending Update - 11/6/2017: On November 3rd, Comcast's front group Priorities First filed their most recent campaign report. The report showed that the group spent and additional $256,326 on the Fort Collins campaign between October 23rd and November 1st. This brings big incumbent spending to stop compeition to almost half a million dollars. More information here

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- Big cable is trying to buy Fort Collins' local election. A group largely funded by the state cable association, Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association, submitted its campaign finance report two weeks prior to the election, revealing an enormous amount of outside spending for a local ballot referendum.
 
The referendum would allow the city to create and operate a telecommunications utility as well as partner with an independent company to expand Internet options in the city. But the dominant provider already in Fort Collins, Comcast, strongly opposes such a move and is almost certainly the driving force behind the Chamber of Commerce and CCTA spending so much to oppose more broadband investment.
 
In the months leading up to this referendum Comcast was caught lying about the status of nearby Longmont's municipal fiber network. Comcast misrepresented Longmont's services, prices, and the way Comcast responded to...
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Posted October 25, 2017 by Nick

Date: October 25th, 2017

Comcast Spends Big to Oppose Broadband Competition in Fort Collins

The Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association is spending hundreds of thousands to deny residents a real choice in broadband Internet access

Contact:
​Christopher Mitchell
612-545-5185​
 
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- Big cable is trying to buy Fort Collins' local election. A group largely funded by the state cable association, Colorado Cable Telecommunications Association, submitted its campaign finance report today, revealing an enormous amount of outside spending for a local ballot referendum.
 
The referendum would allow the city to create and operate a telecommunications utility as well as partner with an independent company to expand Internet options in the city. But the dominant provider already in Fort Collins, Comcast, strongly opposes such a move and is almost certainly the driving force behind the Chamber of Commerce and CCTA spending so much to oppose more broadband investment.
 
In the months leading up to this referendum Comcast was caught lying about the status of nearby Longmont's municipal fiber network. Comcast misrepresented Longmont's services, prices, and the way Comcast responded to competition there by lowering its rates.
 
"This isn't the first time we've seen this situation happen," says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Broadband Networks initiative. "CCTA also spent hundreds of thousands to preserve their monopoly in Longmont, but voters were savvy enough to ignore their lies."  The CCTA's investments in Longmont were covered by the Washington Post in...
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Posted October 16, 2017 by Nick

Date: October 16th, 2017

HB 5099 Seeks to Disallow Communities from Using Federal, State, or Local Funds to Improve Connectivity

Michigan Representative Hoitenga (R-Manton) introduces bill to curb local options for improving Internet access

Contact:​Christopher Mitchellchristopher@ilsr.org612-545-5185​ MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- Representative Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) introduced HB 5099, decreeing that local communities cannot invest federal, state, or even their own funds into the basics of Internet access infrastructure. Full coverage of the bill from MuniNetworks.org is here. Many communities in Michigan lack adequate Internet access for local businesses and residents to thrive in the modern digital economy. Though many have tried to encourage more private-sector investment, some have found the best approach would be to invest in themselves, much as thousands of communities did 100 years ago to get the full benefits of electricity. "Hoitenga's bill would leave many communities without any hope of better Internet access, leaving their businesses less competitive, children disadvantaged, and property value declining," says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. With a slight exception for public-private partnerships, the bill's ambiguous language limits infrastructure investment that would be necessaty to attract a partner to work with a community. Michigan already has a significant barrier to local investment in place, forcing communities to appeal to the private sector and only moving forward themselves if they receive fewer than three qualified bids. However, several Michigan communities are already making a difference for their residents and improving the livelihood of their towns. We document them in detail here, explore our resoruces on Sebewaing, ...

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Posted July 17, 2017 by Nick

Date: July 17th, 2017

Appalachian Connectivity Summit Will Feature Institute for Local Self-Reliance Expert

Christopher Mitchell will keynote the event, held in Marietta, Ohio, in order to address rural connectivity and federal policy.

Contact:​Christopher Mitchellchristopher@ilsr.org612-545-5185​ On July 18th, the National Rural Assembly is hosting "The Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit" at Washington State Community College in Marietta, Ohio. The summit will bring experts together to share their knowledge with participants who are interested in learning more about ways to improve local connectivity. In addition to a keynote address by Christopher Mitchell, breakout sessions will include topics such as broadband policy, technology, and organizing. Mitchell's keynote address will focus on how local efforts to improve Internet access are vital for connecting underserved and unserved communities. Currently, the federal programs advantage incumbent monopolies such as AT&T rather than strengthening local ISPs, cooperatives, and municipal Internet networks. The Connect America Fund funnels millions to these monopolies that build inadequate networks or no service network at all. There will also be an afternoon panel discussion titled “Community Ownership Models” and FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will be sharing remarks. The event is one stop on her #ConnectingCommunites listening tour around the U.S. You can learn more about the summit and the speakers at the Rural Assembly website. They’ve also collected a list of resources and want you to share your broadband stories. About Christopher Mitchell:

Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell leads the acclaimed MuniNetworks.org as part of ILSR's effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them. He is a leading national expert...

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Posted April 25, 2017 by Nick

Date: April 25th, 2017

 

Bill Introduced in Maine Legislature to Limit Local Authority over Broadband Investment

HP 1040/LD 1516 would further entrench telecommunication monopoly power in The Pine Tree State.

Contact:
​Christopher Mitchell | christopher@ilsr.org

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Maine State Representative Nathan Wadsworth (R-Hiram) introduced a bill to revoke local authority over building Internet networks needed by local businesses and residents. The ...

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Posted April 12, 2017 by Nick

Tennessee Legislature Passes Broadband Accessibility Act, Delivers Hollow "Victory"

While Governor Haslam's Signature Legislation Sounds Great, AT&T Will Be Laughing all the Way to the Bank

 

Contact:

Christopher Mitchell

christopher@ilsr.org

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Late yesterday, the Tennessee Legislature officially sent Governor Bill Haslam's signature legislation, the Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017, to his desk. Unfortunately, this bill is more about making taxpayer dollars accessible to AT&T than ensuring rural regions get modern Internet access.

"What we have on one side is a taxpayer-funded subsidy program, and on the other we have a subscriber-based model," says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. "The tragic thing is, AT&T is a taxpayer subsidized monopoly in rural Tennessee that only has to provide a service far slower than the definition of broadband. Locally-rooted networks like Chattanooga's EPB not only offer nation-leading services but have tremendous community support."

With this bill's passage, the Tennessee General Assembly will likely not pass any other broadband legislation during this session. The Broadband Accessibility Act won't improve Tennessee's rating as 29th in Internet connectivity, but it will do a great job of lining AT&T's pockets. As we've tracked throughout the session, there are a number of bills worth supporting that would actually increase connectivity and allow municipalities to take part in their own broadband future.

Mitchell is deeply frustrated with this situation: "Chattanooga is the only city on this planet that has universal access to 10 Gigabit symmetrical Internet access. It is a stunning achievement and Tennessee taxpayers may subsidize AT&T to build DSL service to Chattanooga's neighbors rather than letting the Gig City expand its fiber to neighbors at no cost to taxpayers. Tennessee will literally be paying AT&T to provide a service 1000x slower...

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Posted March 30, 2017 by Nick

Press Release: Legislation Introduced in the U.S. Senate to Promote Local Internet Choice

The "Community Broadband Act" is Boosted by Senators Concerned with Competition 

Contact:

Christopher Mitchell

christopher@ilsr.org

612-545-5185

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Community Broadband Act alongside fellow Senators Edward Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Angus King (I-ME), Ron Wyden (D-OR.), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). We at the ...

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