Tag: "press center"

Posted February 14, 2017 by Nick

Date: November 2nd, 2017

Comcast Spends Big on Local Elections in Seattle & Fort Collins

The telecom giant would lose millions in revenue from real competition, new ILSR report says

Contact:​Christopher Mitchellchristopher@ilsr.org612-545-5185​ MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. -- Comcast has a lot to lose from competition in broadband Internet access. That’s why the telecommunications giant is spending big in municipal elections in Seattle and Fort Collins to maintain its monopoly on broadband Internet access. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s latest policy brief shows that Comcast could lose from $5.4 to $22.8 million per year in Fort Collins and between $20 and $84 millionper year in Seattle if faced with real competition.

In Seattle, Comcast faces absolutely no competition in four of the ten census blocks it offers broadband service. In 73 percent of the blocks with competition, there’s only one other option, according to FCC data. Comcast joined incumbent telephone company CenturyLink with a $50,000 donation supporting preferred candidate, who just happens to oppose a municipal fiber network. Local group Upgrade Seattle is holding an event at Seattle City Hall on November 2nd to rename the building Comcast City Hall because the cable giant’s remarkable influence.

In Fort Collins, the state cable association and Chamber of Commerce had already spent over $200,000 (with 2 weeks left before the referendum) opposing an effort simply allow the city to later create a telecommunications utility. Comcast is a powerful member of both organizations and has a history of pushing its policies through such organizations

Evidence from other cities helps highlight that Comcast may actually be under-spending relative to how real choice in...

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Posted February 13, 2017 by Nick

Date: February 13th, 2017

Missouri Bill Seeks to Limit Municipal Authority

Prohibiting "Competitive Service" from Municipalities Harms Missourians, Benefits Incumbent Service Providers


Christopher Mitchell




MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Another year in Missouri and another bill from the big telephone companies to limit broadband competition in the state house. The bill introduced by Senator Ed Emery (R-Lamar), SB 186, seeks to limit the power of municipalities to provide competition to entrenched incumbent Internet Service Providers.

SB 186 imposes unworkable restrictions on local governments to prevent "competitive service," which includes both retail and wholesale models - preventing municipalities from working with private sector partners. The bill establishes onerous hurdles for communities attempting to engage in a feasibility study and discourages them from pursuing a chance to serve their residents, businesses, and municipal facilities. Much of this bill's language comes from last year's rejected HB 2078.

"This legislation is trying to cut off communities at every turn by limiting any sort of 'competitive service,' whether it comes from public broadband infrastructure investment or a public-private partnership," says Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. "Missouri should be encouraging investment and local Internet choice, not working with monopoly lobbyists to prevent it."

Some 20 states have limits on local authority to build networks and Missouri is already one of them. This bill would further limit local Internet choice despite incredibly successful municipal networks across the state - that is why a number of tech companies in and outside of Missouri have ...

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Posted February 8, 2017 by Nick

Cambridge Community Television - February 8, 2017


Cambridge Broadband Matters: The Future of Community Broadband


Hosted by Pat McCormick


See the original story here.

Posted February 6, 2017 by Nick

Berkshire Eagle - February 4, 2017


Eagle Eye Team Report: Broadband expansion languishes in Berkshires


Written by Larry Parnass & Patricia LeBoeuf

Nearly 10 years ago, Gov. Deval Patrick came to Becket with a promise of information-age equity: broadband internet service across Western Massachusetts. By 2011, he said.

And yet the “digital divide” persists.





Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, has studied the issue nationally from his base in Minnesota.

Governments can and should build their own broadband networks, he said.

“Getting high-quality internet is not the first time we’ve done this. We electrified the entire country and did it in a fiscally responsible manner,” he said.

Rather than start with a middle mile, Mitchell thinks Massachusetts should have fostered last-mile connections with alternative ways of connecting to distant trunk lines on the internet. And when it comes to local town networks, he believes people should think of what’s best locally.


Read the full story here.


Berkshire Eagle - February 6, 2017


Inside the broadband meltdown: WiredWest retools after losing faceoff with MBI


Written by Larry Parnass

A broadband vision for the Berkshires crashed and burned one afternoon in December 2015.

A year later, people still poke through the wreckage. They want to understand why the Massachusetts Broadband Institute halted its long-running alliance with WiredWest, a nonprofit, grassroots cooperative that had signed up dozens of towns to build and operate a shared internet network.





Nakajima, the former MBI executive director, said the initial WiredWest plan did possess an element of “genius.” That lay, he said, in its hope to...

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Posted January 25, 2017 by Nick

Date: January 25th, 2017

Update: Virginia Bill (Still) Seeks to Limit Municipal Authority

Delegate Byron's "Virginia Broadband Deployment Act" Harms Everyone But Cable Monopolies


Christopher Mitchell




MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The saga of limiting broadband competition in Virginia continues. Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced he would veto HB 2108 in its current form because the goal of connecting Virginians requires "encouraging competition, not stifling it." In response, Delegate Kathy J. Byron (R-Forest) introduced a substantially edited bill, which still attacks municipal broadband entities across the state.

HB 2108 imposes burdens on local governments when they begin to solicit proposals for better Internet service, directly harming localities that are desperate for more investment. The bill still gives an edge to private providers by ensuring municipal actors must share their trade secrets. It also opens up local governments to lawsuits for perceived service issues as well as limiting private investment in Internet connectivity. These restrictions functionally ensure that it is impossible for municipal networks to develop and offer competition to the cable monopolies.

"There is nothing about this bill that helps rural Virginia get better connected," says Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. "It is entirely about locking down rural markets for companies like AT&T that want to continue profiting from them while refusing to invest in modern connections. These communities are already disadvantaged because they lack access to high-quality, affordable Internet service."

Some 20 states have limit on local authority to build networks and Virginia is already one of them. This bill would further limit local Internet choice despite incredibly successful municipal...

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Posted January 25, 2017 by Nick

Ars Technica - January 25,2017

Google and Netflix join fight against municipal broadband restrictions

Written by Jon Brodkin

Google and Netflix joined a handful of advocacy groups and other companies lobbying against a proposed Virginia state law that would make it far more difficult for municipalities to offer Internet service.

As we previously reported, the "Virginia Broadband Deployment Act" would prohibit municipal broadband deployments except in very limited circumstances. For example, localities wouldn't be allowed to offer Internet service to residents if an existing network already provides 10Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds to 90 percent of potential customers. Even if that condition is met, municipalities would have to jump through several legal hoops before being allowed to build a network.


"A number of local governments have already passed resolutions condemning the legislative attack on their right to make local telecommunications decisions and we expect to see more," the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Community Networks project wrote Monday. The 10Mbps/1Mbps speeds specified in the legislation are "reminiscent of antiquated DSL," the group said.


Read the full story here.

Posted January 19, 2017 by Nick

KSMQ TV - January 6, 2017

R-Town: The Show About Rochester (Episode 301)

Hosted by Nicole Nfonoyim-Hara & Eric Olson


See full archive of the show here.

Posted January 19, 2017 by Nick

Baltimore Sun - December 31, 2016

After Millions of Investment, Jurisdictions Try To Achieve Potential of Fiber Network

Written by Natalie Sherman


Three years ago, the state completed one of the nation's largest public investments in a fiber optic network— installing hundreds of miles of cables that politicians said would secure fire and police communications, spur economic development and lead to faster, cheaper internet.

Today, much of that potential remains untapped, lying unlit like a 21st-century highway to nowhere.

The network, much of it financed by $115 million in federal stimulus funds, connects primarily to public buildings, like schools, libraries and police and fire stations. But many of the extra strands installed in anticipation of private-sector demand lie dark.


Christopher Mitchell is a researcher for the Institute for Local Self Reliance, which follows broadband efforts across the country. In other countries, he said, developers responding to tenant demand have played a critical role in building out networks with competitive offerings.

"I'm glad to hear that real estate is getting more involved in this," Mitchell said. "I would expect to have more of this."


Read the full story here.


Posted January 19, 2017 by Nick

Motherboard Vice - January 10, 2017

Why Marsha Blackburn's Rise Is Bad News for Net Neutrality and Science

Written by Sam Gustin & Jason Koebler


Big Telecom’s best friend in Congress just got a very big promotion.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the arch-conservative Tennessee Republican who has received mountains of campaign cash from the telecom industry, has been chosen by the GOP to lead a key Congressional subcommittee with broad jurisdiction over cable, phone, and internet issues.

For years, Blackburn has worked tirelessly to undermine pro-consumer policies advanced by the Federal Communications Commission—policies that have invariably been opposed by the very corporate giants that have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into her campaign coffers.

In particular, Blackburn has waged a relentless campaign against the FCC’s policy safeguarding net neutrality, the principle that all internet content should be equally accessible, which she has disparaged as “socialistic.” She has also opposed efforts to promote community broadband networks, to make internet access more affordable for underserved communities, to increase competition in the video “set-top box” market, and to...

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Posted January 17, 2017 by Nick

Date: January 17th, 2017

Virginia Bill Seeks to Limit Municipal Authority

“Virginia Broadband Deployment Act” Would Limit Municipalities’ Ability to Connect Their Residents


Christopher Mitchell



MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The latest chapter in efforts by the big cable companies to limit broadband competition just began in Virginia. The introduction of HB 2108, the “VirginiaBroadband Deployment Act,” by Delegate Kathy J. Byron (R-Forest) seeks to limit the power of municipalities to provide competition to entrenched incumbent Internet Service Providers.


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