We last wrote about MB Link, the municipal fiber network in Mont Belvieu, Texas, in October 2018. Since then, the city near Houston has connected about half of its 7,500 residents to the network and is talking about expanding into the surrounding county, reported the Dallas Morning News.
The in-depth article from late last month discussed many aspects of the groundbreaking network, including why the city decided to take charge, the legal and logistical challenges it faced, and how local service is benefiting the community.
MB Link Emerges
As in other communities, poor service quality from existing providers drove Mont Belvieu to deploy a city owned broadband network, the article explained:
For years, residents of this fast-growing town on the outer ring of Houston complained to local leaders about slow and spotty Internet. They put satellite dishes on their rooftops. They endured intermittent service and frequent outages.
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So Mont Belvieu took matters into its own hands: It decided to build and operate its own high-speed Internet service.
Now, MB Link offers residents across the city speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second for only $75 a month. Approximately half of all Mont Belvieu households get Internet access from the municipal network, which has recently begun providing service to businesses as well.
Community Networks Create Competition
Mont Belvieu isn’t the only city that has built a broadband network to create options for residents and businesses, the article noted:
Christopher Mitchell, director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s community broadband network initiative, said cities began building broadband networks in the 1990s when they had no Internet. Now, he said, they’re motivated because they feel stuck with Internet that’s inferior or overpriced.
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“The simple fact is without good government policy to create...