Institute for Local Self-Reliance

How Long Prairie, Minnesota and a Local Cooperative Partnered to Build a Citywide Fiber Network

Tired of waiting for connectivity solutions to come to town, one Minnesota community has instead partnered with a local telephone cooperative to build a fiber network reaching every home and business in the city. In embarking on its journey to improve local Internet access six years ago, Long Prairie (pop. 3,300) ended up partnering with one of the most aggressive fiber network builders in the state - Consolidated Telephone Company (CTC) - on a solution that meets local needs. The two finished a ubiquitous Fiber-to-the-Home build in 2018, with CTC now owning and operating the network. 

Washington State Legislature Sending Governor Competing Bills to Remove Municipal Network Barriers

The Washington state legislature has voted to end limits on municipal broadband, and the bill lifting those restrictions now awaits the signature of Gov Jay Inslee (D-WA). The state Senate passed the bill (HB 1336) April 11 in a 27-22 vote, and the state House passed it in Feb. There's still one complication. A second bill (SB 5383) that would do much less to eliminate barriers to municipal broadband solutions passed the House on April 11 and had previously passed the Senate. The two competing bills have been sent to the state governor and it is expected one will be vetoed.

Outside Gettysburg, a Battle for Better Broadband

In the borough of New Oxford (PA), ten miles east of the county seat (Gettysburg), the non-profit media group Community Media of South Central Pennsylvania is leading the charge to bring Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) victory for the approximately 102,000 residents spread out across the rural county’s 520 square miles. But with restrictive state laws that protect incumbent providers from competition by not allowing municipalities to provide broadband service, and scarce funding for non-governmental entities to build broadband infrastructure, victory is far from certain.  About 10 years ago a coun

Pending Bills In WA State Legislature Aim To Allow Public Utility Districts to Partake in Retail Broadband Market

In Jan, bills aiming to advance broadband connectivity by allowing public entities to participate in the retail broadband market were presented in the House and Senate of the Washington State Legislature. The two bills have both cleared their respective chambers, and are waiting to be heard in committees of the opposite legislative chamber. Both bills aim to grant public entities, such as Public Utility Districts (PUDs) and ports, the authority to operate as Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Building Indigenous Future Zones: Four Tribal Broadband Case Studies

A new case study report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance delves into the experiences of four Native Nations — the Coeur d’Alene, the Nez Perce, the Fond du Lac Band of Ojibwe, and the St. Regis Mohawk — as they constructed their own Internet service providers.  The case studies examine the unique challenges Native Nations confront as they seek to build Internet infrastructure and address the digital divide while also retaining the tribal sovereignty that is essential to their identity and heritage.

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: