Municipal Networks

Broadband for America Now

In October 2019, the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society issued Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s. The agenda was comprehensive, constructed upon achievements in communities and insights from experts across the nation. The report outlined the key building blocks of broadband policy—deployment, competition, community anchor institutions, and digital equity (including affordability and adoption).

Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s

The purpose of Broadband for America’s Future: A Vision for the 2020s is to collect, combine, and contribute to a national broadband agenda for the next decade, enlisting the voices of broadband leaders in an ongoing discussion on how public policy can close the digital divide and extend digital opportunity everywhere. Leaders at all levels of government should ensure that everyone is able to use High-Performance Broadband in the next decade by embracing the following building blocks of policy:

Investment in Broadband Infrastructure Can Create Cost Savings and Community Self-Empowerment

Building new broadband infrastructure is a big investment for any municipality. While the cost of that investment shouldn’t be overlooked, it’s equally important to consider the significant cost savings that can be reaped with publicly owned infrastructure. Many cities have slashed the cost of connecting their schools to broadband by opting to build their own infrastructure, instead of continuing to pay a private provider for connections. Portland (OR), for example, had been paying an incumbent provider $1,310 per month for  10 Mbps connections to schools.

All Americans should be able to use the Internet. How do we get there?

It's easy to say all Americans should be able to use the Internet in the 21st century, which is probably why several leading candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination have done just that. It’s much harder to say how to get there. Almost everyone, even on both sides of the aisle in Congress, seems able to agree on the need to fix the maps first. That’s because the Federal Communications Commission relies on coverage reports from industry, and carriers have incentive to exaggerate their reach.

Maryland is putting $300M in COVID-19 relief funds toward broadband and digital inclusion

As part of a $3.9 billion allocation of COVID-19 relief funding from the latest federal law, the American Rescue Plan, Maryland is committing $300 million toward broadband and digital equity initiatives. The package is part of an agreement reached between Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) and the Democratic legislative leaders of the Maryland General Assembly.

Biden’s Plan to Fix America’s Internet

The White House’s new infrastructure plan includes a proposal to spend $100 billion to extend fast internet access to every home. Its central premise is a powerful one: To achieve the internet that we all deserve, the federal government must be more involved — but not too much. The White House plan could be the shakeout we need.

Cable lobby says it hates Biden plan to expand broadband and lower prices

President Joe Biden's plan to expand broadband access and lower prices is, predictably, facing bitter opposition from cable companies that want to maintain the status quo.

Biden broadband plan will be hated by big ISPs, welcomed by Internet users

The American Jobs Plan's $100 billion in broadband funding would be spread out over a number of years, as the entire jobs plan is slated to "invest about $2 trillion this decade." Municipally owned networks, nonprofits, and co-operatives would play a major role in the expansion. The broadband industry and Republicans have been fighting city-owned networks for years, and nearly 20 states have laws that restrict the growth of municipal broadband.

Spanning the Digital Divide

As incoming Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I’m making the case that broadband needs to be at the center of any infrastructure or relief package Congress passes in 2021. It is not dreaming too big to demand, right now: Every community should be connected to the twenty-first century shipping lane and communications pipeline—the Internet.

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