Christopher Mitchell

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.

America’s Monopoly Problem: Why It Matters and What We Can Do About It

Corporate control over our broadband — an essential public infrastructure — is leaving many of us disconnected, underserved, or paying too much for substandard service. By creating public options and fostering competition, cities and states can usher in fast, affordable, and reliable Internet access, which is a necessary prerequisite for participating in economic and civic life.

Idaho’s Proposed Broadband Grant Cares More About Protecting Monopolies Than Expanding High-Quality Connectivity

As states are considering whether and how to use federal CARES Act funding to improve Internet access, Idaho is poised to enact counter-productive limits on who can use that money by excluding community-owned solutions. Though many states have been under pressure from big monopoly providers to only fund for-profit business models with broadband subsidies, those voices seem largely absent in this Idaho fight.

Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model For The Internet Era

This report illustrates the remarkable progress cooperatives have made in deploying fiber optic Internet access across the country. It features updated maps that show areas already covered by cooperative fiber networks, areas where cooperative fiber networks expanded between June 2018 and June 2019, and areas where cooperatives are currently building out new infrastructure. A few important takeaways: 

Fact Checking the New Taxpayers Protection Alliance Report, GON With the Wind

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has returned with another puzzling attempt to discredit municipal broadband networks. TPA’s report offers 30 short case studies and there is no explanation of how TPA chose this odd subset of municipal networks. Yet they allege a failure of the network or failure to pay debt in only 9 of its examples.

How Local Providers Built the Nation's Best Internet Access in Rural North Dakota

Rural North Dakotans are more likely to have access to fiber connectivity and gigabit-speed Internet than those living in urban areas. This case study highlights the efforts of 15 local companies and telephone cooperatives who came together to invest in rural North Dakota and build gigabit fiber networks across the state. Their success is traced back to the companies’ acquisition of 68 rural telephone exchanges from monpoloy provider US West (now CenturyLink) in the 1990s.

Frontier: A Major Telecom Monopoly Fails America

Frontier Communications recently declared bankruptcy, following a history of increasingly unsustainable acquisitions. It also just missed its milestone for the Connect America Fund, which required the company to deploy obsolete 10/1 Mbps service to 80 percent of the funded locations by the end of 2019 in return for more than $1.5 billion in subsidies. Some 774,000 locations should have at least 10/1 Mbps service by the end of 2020 from a company Consumer Reports repeatedly finds to be one of the worst Internet Service Providers in the nation.

How Will Broadband Networks Handle Quarantine Congestion? Mostly OK

As schools and businesses ask people to stay home to reduce the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus, I wanted to share some thoughts about how I expect broadband Internet access networks will handle the change and increase in broadband traffic in residential areas. Our first reaction is that, as with so many areas with network effects, the rich will get richer.

CORRECTED -- Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model for the Internet Era

More than 110 rural electric co-ops have embarked on fiber optic projects to increase Internet access for their members, a number that is growing rapidly from just a handful in 2012. Thirty-one percent of the fiber service available in rural areas is provided by rural cooperatives. Personal anecdotes from Michigan, Virginia, Minnesota, and Missouri residents attest to the far-reaching benefits of cooperatives’ expansion into Internet service. A new map shows where rural cooperatives are planning to expand fiber Internet service. Co-ops have proven that this is a model that works.

Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model for the Internet Era

Decades after bringing electricity and telephone services to America’s rural households, cooperatives are tackling a new challenge: the rural digital divide. New updates to the Community Broadband Networks initiative’s report Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model for the Internet Era, originally published in 2017, illustrate the remarkable progress co-ops have made in deploying fiber optic Internet access across the country. The report features new maps showing overall growth