Municipal Networks

The next battles between cities and states

Legal battles between cities and states are expected to intensify in the coming months with dust-ups over municipal broadband networks and other issues. After some high-profile disputes with governors over pandemic-related restrictions, some mayors are emboldened in pushing back on state laws prohibiting city-level policies that, they say, will be important to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fact Checking the New Taxpayers Protection Alliance Report, GON With the Wind

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance has returned with another puzzling attempt to discredit municipal broadband networks. TPA’s report offers 30 short case studies and there is no explanation of how TPA chose this odd subset of municipal networks. Yet they allege a failure of the network or failure to pay debt in only 9 of its examples.

Park Hill School District in Kansas City: An FCC Decision E-rate Applicants Should Know About

A years-long headache for the Park Hill (Kansas City, MO) School District has finally come to a satisfying resolution that could benefit schools and libraries across the US. Since Feb 2018, Park Hill has wrestled with the federal government to obtain E-rate funding for a fiber project connecting several of its schools. On April 27, the Federal Communications Commission finally granted Park Hill’s E-rate funding request in a decision that also sets a good precedent for the larger community of E-rate applicants.

To Close the Digital Divide, Congress Must Care About All Americans

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught the technology and communications policy world anything, it is that policymakers have utterly failed to meet the mission of the National Broadband Plan. Although the National Broadband Plan provided a road map and initially tracked progress, we have seen a relatively nonpartisan tech policy space abandon consensus views on the technicalities of the network and the importance of universal service principles.

GON with the Wind: The Failed Promise of Government Owned Networks Across America

The problems with government-owned networks (GONs) for taxpayers and broadband consumers across the country with a stress on the the massive amount of taxpayer dollars being wasted as governments continue to build broadband networks across America. Taxpayer-funded broadband networks are rarely successful as they are poorly targeted and underutilized, oftentimes being sold to private companies for less than the cost of construction.

Wilson, North Carolina, community broadband proves valuable during coronavirus outbreak

Wilson's (NC) community broadband, Greenlight, has stepped in to help teachers in the wake of COVID-19. Greenlight laid more than 3,000 feet of fiber optic cable to connect students and teachers and has added 150 new customers since the outbreak started. And they've seen outbound traffic skyrocket. Between Feb and April, outbound traffic increased by 23 percent in the 9 o'clock hour and 44 percent at noon. This is likely due to the rise of online conference calls.

We don’t need to subsidize internet service

Democrats want to take $80 billion from taxpayers to create a new Washington bureaucracy to shovel money to politicians who think they are qualified to run a broadband network. Funding, subsidizing or otherwise creating a government “competitor” does not work. The last time politicians tried to sell this to Americans they claimed state and municipal governments could build and run high-speed broadband profit-making centers. They tried and failed again and again.

How Local Providers Built the Nation's Best Internet Access in Rural North Dakota

Rural North Dakotans are more likely to have access to fiber connectivity and gigabit-speed Internet than those living in urban areas. This case study highlights the efforts of 15 local companies and telephone cooperatives who came together to invest in rural North Dakota and build gigabit fiber networks across the state. Their success is traced back to the companies’ acquisition of 68 rural telephone exchanges from monpoloy provider US West (now CenturyLink) in the 1990s.

Sen Peters, Rep Luján Push for Increased Investment in Broadband Infrastructure to Bolster COVID-19 Response Efforts in Historically Underserved Communities

Senate Homeland Security Ranking Member Gary Peters (D-MI) and Assistant Speaker of the Hosue Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) called for increased investments in rural broadband infrastructure to support Coronavirus response efforts in historically underserved communities. In a letter to Congressional leaders, the lawmakers called for the allocation of funding in the next Coronavirus relief package to ensure low-interest financing options are available to historically underserved communities and public-private partnerships to help deploy broadband.

Project THOR Public-Private Partnership Hammers Out Path to Better Connectivity in Colorado

A group of local governments and private partners, led by Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG), recently completed the first phase of Project THOR, a middle mile fiber network that will enable better connectivity in the participating towns, cities, and counties. The network, owned by NWCCOG, provides backhaul to local governments looking to connect public facilities, schools, hospitals, and other community anchor institutions.