As it builds a downtown fiber network, Cincinnati (OH) is laying the foundation for improved traffic management and other smart city initiatives, as well as offering the kind of communications infrastructure necessary to further grow the region’s economic development efforts. The city is installing 20,000 feet of fiber-optic cable around the central business district, while also bisecting the area with another line of cable.
[Commentary] This version of the Bytes Chat discusses the wisdom of restrictions against municipal broadband with three economists who are following the issue closely.
Kyle Wilson: It’s worth remembering that unlike schools, installing a municipal network creates a new stream of revenue, even though it may not be enough to break even.
Representatives Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), Mike Doyle (D-PA), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), Mark Pocan (D-WI), and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the Community Broadband Act, legislation that will empower local communities to ensure their residents have broadband access by preserving the right to provide community-owned service to consumers. According to the Congressional Research Service, twenty states have passed laws that either restrict or outright prohibit local communities from investing local dollars in building their own broadband networks.
[Commentary] Communities across the United States are considering strategies to protect residents’ access to information and their right to privacy.
Imagine a metropolitan area in which every single home and business was connected to a municipal fiber-optic network and the internet was a public utility as accessible as electricity or water. That's exactly what San Francisco (CA) has pledged to do, making it the first major city in America to commit to such a project. Ten Forbes Technology Council members shared their thoughts on whether the city's massive tech undertaking will sink or swim, and what roadblocks they might encounter along the way.
Many of the power cooperatives that helped electrify rural Tennessee in the 1930s and 1940s are gearing up for a similar effort to bring high-speed broadband to rural areas not connected to today's information superhighway. But similar to electrification of the South in the early 20th century, the telecommunications upgrades for rural broadband are likely to be costly and take years or even decades to fully implement.
By one recent estimate about 8.9 percent of Americans, or about 29 million people, lack access to wired home “broadband” service, which the Federal Communications Commission defines as an internet access connection providing speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Even where home broadband is available, high prices inhibit adoption; in one national survey, 33 percent of non-subscribers cited cost of service as the primary barrier. Municipally and other community-owned networks have been proposed as a driver of competition and resulting better service and prices.
Public entities like the Federal Communications Commission and state legislatures are supposed to look after the common good. Instead, their policies are making things tougher for small towns and rural areas anxious to improve their connectivity.
The Trump administration’s recent decision to kill the Open Internet Order has a lot of network neutrality advocates fearing the worst. Although it remains to be seen whether that will happen, a small but growing number of users are taking matters into their own hands by exploring community- or municipal-owned, operated and funded internet access as a cheaper, faster and more neutral alternative to using large commercial internet service providers.
Remarks Of Jay Schwarz, Wireline Advisor To Chairman Pai, 2018 Ceo Close-Up Conference Of The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association
Today I want to discuss Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai’s belief that we are on the cusp of a new era of partnership between the FCC and rural electric cooperatives. Specifically: our hope that electric coops will become a bigger part of closing the digital divide and delivering online opportunity to rural Americans who have been bypassed by the broadband revolution. And how the FCC can work with you all to bring about this change.