Big Valley is a living postcard of Pennsylvania. But they had slow, unreliable, and expensive internet. The government couldn’t help. Private suppliers have long said improved speeds were too costly to provide for such a sparsely populated area. So a group of mostly retirees banded together and took a frontier approach to a modern problem. They built their own wireless network, using radio signals instead of expensive cable. “We just wanted better internet service up our valley.
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.
During the COVID-19 school building closures, big equity problems around internet access emerged. But one layer of this equity issue went largely unexplored: Some households have access to the Internet, but only at slow speeds that make school tasks like videoconferencing or completing homework assignments next to impossible. That's especially true for families with multiple children, or for parents using the home internet while forced to work remotely during the pandemic.
After years of hearing from its citizens and business owners that Internet access was one of Fort Morgan’s most pressing problems, the Colorado city of 11,000 decided to do something about it. Like dozens of other communities around Colorado, in 2009 residents approved a ballot measure to opt out of SB 152, the 2005 state law preventing municipalities from offering broadband.
More than 9 million students still don’t have the high-speed home Internet required for online learning. One hopes the recent attention on the home Internet digital divide will be a call to action for our government and society that results in real change. But given that we can’t look to the telecom industry to solve this problem, what can be done?
Mississippi is now seeing how legislation can swing open the door for rural broadband expansion. In Jan 2019, former Gov Phil Bryant (R-MS) signed the Mississippi Broadband Enabling Act, removing a 1942 regulation that prevented electric cooperatives from offering anything other than electricity to their members. Since the bill was approved, nine of Mississippi’s 25 electric co-ops are in the process of building fiber to the home in their coverage areas, said Brandon Presley, northern district commissioner of the Mississippi Public Service Commission.
With at least 20 million people across the United States lacking broadband service, community and tribal broadband networks offer a much-needed opportunity to expand and improve internet access across the country. These networks, which include municipal or public option networks, today serve more than 900 communities nationwide.
Reps Upton, Clyburn Introduce “Rural Broadband Acceleration Act” to Speed Up Access to High-Speed Internet in Rural America
Rep Fred Upton (R-MI) and House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC) announced the introduction of the “Rural Broadband Acceleration Act,” bipartisan legislation that directs the Federal Communications Commission to fund shovel-ready, high-speed internet projects immediately, so consumers can access broadband within a year.
In Virginia, as in other states, school officials are racing to reach families by publicizing discounted offers from Internet providers, extending school Wi-Fi into parking lots, and distributing hotspot devices. And schools trying to do more face a major hurdle: long-standing laws that effectively bar county governments and public school systems from providing Internet directly to families.
The issue of high-speed broadband access has been a concern in Lawrence County (OH) and rural parts of the nation for some time and, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for connectivity has only become more apparent.