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.
As the Cameron Peak fire burned in the distance on the morning of Oct. 17, Josh Cramer sprung into action. He worried the fire might reach Estes Park (CO) and cause a literal meltdown that could wipe out the town’s internet, emergency lines and prevent reverse 9-1-1 calls. The town needed access to backup broadband. But where? And how? Cramer, network architect at Trailblazer Broadband, began making calls and learned the Platte River Power Authority was worried about the same thing.
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.
Voters in several US cities, including Denver and Chicago, approved referendums supporting municipal broadband. 83.5% of Denverites voted to opt out of a Colorado state law that prohibits municipalities from investing in or building their own broadband network, opening the possibility of a city-owned network.
This election, Chicagoans will vote on a non-binding referendum about whether Chicago should ensure citywide access to broadband internet. The referendum provides a unique opportunity to envision a more innovative way to connect Illinoisans—through investment in an open access broadband network. The largest such network in operation in the US is the Utah Telecommunication Open Infrastructure Agency, or UTOPIA. In South Side neighborhoods where approximately fifty percent of the residents lack reliable internet service, open access broadband would be a game changer—the difference between eno
Electric cooperatives in Georgia have proposed policies aimed at spurring rural broadband deployments. The cooperatives call the proposed policies the Georgia Solution. Although some Georgia electric cooperatives have proposed to build broadband networks in the rural communities they serve, those deployments are not the focus of the Georgia Solution.
After years of fielding complaints from residents about the speed, reliability, and poor customer service of the city’s single wireline broadband provider, Springboro, Ohio (pop. 19,000) has decided enough is enough. Over the next year, the city (situated ten miles south of Dayton) will build a 23-mile fiber loop for municipal services and, at the same time, lay five additional conduits to entice additional Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to come in and offer service, stimulating competition and economic development in the region moving forward.
More than a year and a half of planning and negotiation will culminate in fiber infrastructure laid to every household in one Tennessee county over the next few years.
Nearly a decade ago , the North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation that essentially blocked municipalities from acting as internet service providers, barring any new or expanded municipal-owned and operated systems. At the time, Wilson had been building its Greenlight system, with lightning-fast internet speeds, and a handful of other North Carolina cities and towns were following suit. The large telecommunications companies – Time-Warner-Cable (now Spectrum), AT&T, and CenturyLink – argued that this amounted to unfair government-subsidized competition.
Denver Issue 2H would opt the city out of a 2005 state law restricting governments from using tax dollars to build broadband networks. The move would allow the city to enter into the high-speed internet business, should city officials want to go in that direction.