Christopher Mitchell

Six Community Broadband Networks

One might think this is the moment for community broadband networks. The truth is, locally-directed networks have been serving their communities for a long, long time. In discussing his administration’s plans for broadband, President Joe Biden noted that municipal and cooperative networks should be favored because these providers face less pressure to turn profits and are more committed to serving entire communities.

Treasury Improves Rules for Rescue Plan Aid for Broadband Networks

Communities across the United States have gotten an unexpected gift from the Biden Administration in the form of additional flexibility to use American Rescue Plan funds for needed broadband investments, particularly those focused on low-income neighborhoods in urban areas. When Congress developed and passed the American Rescue Plan Act, it tasked the Treasury Department with writing the rules for some key programs, including the State & Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF).

 

One might think this is the moment for community broadband networks. The truth is, locally-directed networks have been serving their communities for a long, long time.



President Biden Proposes Government Actually Try to Create Broadband Competition

Most Republicans and many Democrats have framed broadband much like Ronald Reagan would: Get government out of the way, remove regulations, and let too-big-to-fail incumbent providers bridge the digital divide. A favorite target is public rights-of-way—every street plus about ten feet of land on each side where utility poles or underground utility lines are located, and where internet service providers attach or bury lines and equipment that transmit internet data.

How Telecom Monopolies are Blocking Better Internet Access, and What We Can Do About It

Monopoly control of high-speed internet access is leaving many Americans — particularly rural communities and communities of color — disconnected, underserved, or, at best, paying too much for substandard service. While community scaled internet service providers are more effective at delivering fast, affordable, and reliable Internet, monopolies, state-level regulations, and other factors stand in the way of these locally driven solutions to America’s broadband challenges. The report recommends a range of policy actions for improving broadband at the local level, including:

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Ends but Confusion and Corruption May Just Be Beginning

The Federal Communications Commission's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction results are a puzzle. The auction resulted in far more gigabit networks -- 85% of locations -- than anyone expected, at far lower subsidy than expected. However, there is a lot of frustration and confusion because it is not clear that some of the top bidders can deliver.

Wilson Hits a Fiber-to-the-Home Run with Greenlight Municipal Broadband Network

In 2008, Wilson (NC) began building a citywide Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network called Greenlight. Access to high-speed, reliable, affordable Internet connections has helped the community cope with the public health crisis while continuing to bring a host of other benefits. Over the last 12 years, the Greenlight network has given the city claim to the best broadband anywhere in North Carolina.

A Signal Failure: Education, Broadband, and Our Children’s Future

Solving the problems of internet access goes well beyond throwing billions of dollars at the companies with the best lobbyists or most convincing executives. There is no single policy to solve the broadband problems faced by the nation. In most cases, better networks and lower prices would really help, but achieving that would require different strategies in rural or urban areas.

Profiles of Monopoly: Big Cable and Telecom

The 2020 edition of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance's Profiles of Monopoly: Big Cable and Telecom report analyzes the latest data available from the Federal Communications Commission to investigate broadband competition in communities across the country. Thanks largely to the power of monopoly corporations like Comcast, Charter, and AT&T, millions of Americans still do not have a real choice when it comes to their Internet service.