Tag: "press center"
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."
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...Read more
Date: January 17th, 2017
Virginia Bill Seeks to Limit Municipal Authority
“Virginia Broadband Deployment Act” Would Limit Municipalities’ Ability to Connect Their Residents
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.
Motherboard Vice - January 17, 2017
Local Activism Is the Best Way to Preserve Net Neutrality
Written by Jason Koebler
Before President-elect Donald Trump takes office this week, take a moment to remember the height of the net neutrality battles of 2014 and 2015. Remember the letter writing campaigns, the comments filed to the Federal Communications Commission (some of them handwritten), remember John Oliver’s rant. Remember that the people fought, and the people won, and for a brief moment, big telecom monopolies had at least some limits placed on them by the federal government.
Remember it now, because very likely, the anti-regulation commissioners of the FCC, reporting to an anti-regulation president, are about to undo the rules millions of Americans fought so hard for. Under Trump, big telecom and its sympathizers will call the shots.
“Because we have net neutrality now, those seeds are out there,” Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative, told me. “Our biggest enemy is ignorance, so when things go badly and cable bills go up under Trump, and we have to pay more to access certain sites, people will say ‘Wait a minute, this is a violation of net neutrality.’ We’re in such a better position to fight now.”
If conservatives on Capitol Hill, at the FCC, and in the White House are willing to deregulate the internet and hope that the free market sorts it out, we will likely see small towns and rural areas continue to be ignored with basic infrastructure that’s necessary to live in a technologically advanced society. Mitchell said...
On November 8th, 2016, 26 Colorado cities and counties joined 69 of their fellow communities in opting out of the restrictive, anti-municipal broadband state law, SB 152. For years, we at ILSR have been covering the developments in Colorado as voters reclaim local telecommunications authority.
The media, both locally and nationally, took notice of our efforts.
Here's a roundup of stories in which national, state, and local outlets cited our work and provided information to ensure this vital issue gained coverage. Read more in our story covering the votes and in our podcast about the election.
MEDIA COVERAGE - "26 Colorado Communities Opt out of Restrictive State Broadband Law"
26 Colorado Communities Will Vote on Building Their Own Internet Networks by Jason Koebler, Motherboard Vice - November 2nd, 2016
Colorado is the only state in the country that has a ballot measure requirement for locally run networks; 22 other states have different laws that restrict local broadband efforts. With so many cities overwhelmingly voting in favor of local government-run broadband, Mitchell says that Colorado’s law hasn’t quite had the effect CenturyLink would have liked.
“If this is the worst barrier we had to deal with, I don’t think anyone would be complaining,” he said. “It’s not as bad as Nebraska or North Carolina, where cities basically can’t do anything under the circumstances of their laws.”
On November 8th, 2016, local voters in 26 Colorado communities chose to reclaim telecommunications authority. They voted to opt out of the state’s 2005 SB 152, the law lobbied heavily by national cable and DSL companies that prevents local governments from providing advanced services and telecommunications services to the general public. There are now 95 local communities that have opted out of SB 152.
To understand the situation in Colorado and to get a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of municipal networks, Tom Merritt and Justin Robert Young from the Daily Tech News Show (DTNS) spoke with Christopher.
The online news show streamed live on November 10th, 2016, but it is now available for you to watch. The guys get into the law, how it limits local Colorado communities, and why these local governments are asking voters to opt out. The show runs for 38:23.
Date: November 9th, 2016
Colorado Voters Reject Cable Monopolies
26 Colorado Communities Opt Out of Restrictive Anti-Municipal Broadband State Law
Denver, CO - Voters in over two dozen Colorado communities are telling their local leaders that they want their community to create local Internet choice rather than being stuck with existing options. Up to 26 cities and counties around the state are joining another 70 that have previously rejected the state’s restrictions against municipal networks and broadband partnerships, known by its legislative name from when it passed in 2005: SB 152.
As of right now, we are prepared to announce that all 26 communities have passed these measures by an average margin of 76%, and we are confirming and monitoring these results.
In 2015, voters in 47 communities chose to reclaim local authority over broadband, making nearly 100 local governments in the past 10 years. Many Colorado communities, rural and urban, do not have access to affordable, high-speed Internet because the big cable and telephone companies face few competitive threats even when they refuse to invest in modern networks. Around the state, local businesses and residents have rejected the status quo and are demanding local governments take action to improve Internet access.
“We have seen overwhelming support for local Internet choice in Colorado” says Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “These cities and counties recognize that they cannot count on Comcast and CenturyLink alone to meet local needs.”
And now, with the decisions on Tuesday, nearly 100 communities (shown in our map of the state, ...Read more
We didn't need a crystal ball, magic potion, or ESP to predict that local Colorado voters would enthusiastically reclaim telecommunications authority yesterday. Twenty-six more local governments put the issue on the ballot and citizens fervently replied, “YES! YES, WE DO!”
Colorado local communities that want to take action to improve their local connectivity are hogtied by SB 152, the state law passed in 2005. Unless they hold a referendum and ask voters if they wish to reclaim the right to do so, the law prevents local governments from providing service or partnering with the private sector. Since the big incumbents that pushed the law through aren't providing necessary connectivity, their only choice is to opt out and work with new partners or move forward on their own.
This year’s results include seven counties and 19 municipalities. Many of those communities simply don't want lobbyists in Denver dictating whether they can move ahead in the digital economy. Over the past few years, the momentum has grown and, as places like Longmont, Rio Blanco County, and Centennial prove that local authority can improve local connectivity, more local governments have put the issue on the ballot.
The Big “Yes” In 95
Results from ballot initiatives varied by modest degree but all left no doubt that the local electorate want out of SB 152. Breckenridge came in with 89 percent. Montezuma County, where local media expressed support of the opt out earlier this month, passed the measure with 70 percent of the vote. The community with the highest percentage of support for opting out of SB 152 was Black Hawk with 97 percent of votes cast. The lowest percentage of "yes" vote was Woodland Park in...Read more
Last week, Christopher was a guest on the Unanimous Dissent Radio Show. Sam Sacks and Sam Knight asked him to share information about the details on state barriers around the country.
The guys get into the nitty gritty on state level lobbying and anti-muni legislation. They also discuss how a growing number of communities are interested in the local accountability, better services, and improved quality of life that follows publicly owned Internet infrastructure.
The show is now posted on SoundCloud and available for review. Christopher’s interview starts around 17:00 and runs for about 15 minutes. Check it out: