Barriers to Broadband (Infographic)

This is a great infographic showing the state of broadband services in the United States, but the text in the article is a little misleading. First of all the reason that about half the rural residents can’t get broadband service is because the FCC changed the definition of broadband service and the incumbent carriers are trying to catch up to meet the new definition. Second allowing municipalities to decide their own broadband fate will not address the problem of reaching customers outside the city limits. 

The uninformed and big government types look at municipal broadband as the panacea to all our broadband ills, but there is a reason that 19 states have enacted laws preventing municipal governments from getting into this business. They recognize that about half of these ventures fail and leave taxpayers on the hook to cover the losses, and that bureaucracies are generally not market oriented. 
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Letter: Let’s work to get municipal broadband

I personally support all initiatives that will allow the city to investigate options for increasing broadband penetration and competition in their communities. I do not support cities entering the broadband services business. Government should facilitate and promote private business activities in their cities; not compete against them. I hope that Fort Collins takes this point-of-view when deciding what to do.

Robin Gard
Downtown "Old Town" Fort Collins

Downtown “Old Town” Fort Collins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am writing to urge a yes-vote on the November ballot issue dealing with broadband options for the City of Fort Collins. This vote would exempt Fort Collins from a 2005 state law that prohibits governments from competing with the public sector and would allow our City Council to begin exploring options about providing fiber optic broadband to the community.

Voters in almost a dozen Colorado towns and cities have acted on this issue. Local voter approval would clear the way for study and investigation toward providing increased service to local population, whether independently or as part of a public-private partnership. The city could begin collecting benchmark data to examine its options in future provision of services. Continue reading

City drops taxpayer-funded Internet plan for private provider

One of the loudest advocates for municipal broadband in Minnesota has announced a surprise deal with a private provider involving no government financial support.

Just weeks ago, a legislative deal crafted by taxpayer-funded lobbyists for $2 million in state telecom grant funds for a government-owned fiber optic network fell through, and the city of Annandale appeared stuck with a system chronically criticized for outages and sluggish speeds. Continue reading

Surge of Broadband Investment Threatened by Utility Regulation

Patrick Brogan

U.S. broadband providers invested $78 billion in network infrastructure in 2014, according to a new analysis of capital expenditures data for wireline, wireless and cable broadband providers. The 2014 investment expenditure was $3 billion, or 4 percent, greater than the $75 billion invested in 2013 and $14 billion, or 22 percent, greater than the $64 billion invested just five years ago in 2009 amidst the financial crisis.Of the 2014 total, the wireline industry invested $28 billion, or 36 percent of the industry aggregate, compared to 43 percent for wireless and 21 percent for cable.

From 1996 through 2014, broadband providers have made $1.4 trillion in capital investments with wireline providers investing more than $720 billion, or 52 percent of this total, compared to 32 percent for wireless and 16 percent for cable. These surging investment levels have taken place during a period of light regulation, which has come to an abrupt end with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision(link is external) to impose public utility rules on broadband providers. It is difficult to predict the near-term impact of this decision on investment, but numerous economic analyses(link is external) forecast negative long-term consequences on investment, innovation and other long-term economic benefits that come with broadband investment. Continue reading

Worst-Connected U.S. Cities in 2014 

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance today releases two new rankings of America’s “25 Worst-Connected Cities in 2014” — for all households, and for households with annual incomes below $35,000.

Using data from the 2014 American Community Survey (ACS) released last Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, NDIA ranked all 184 U.S. cities with more than 50,000 households by their percentages of households with no Internet at home. The ACS provides this data in Tables B28002 (“Presence and types of Internet subscriptions in household”) and B28004 (Household income in the last 12 months… by presence and types of Internet subscriptions in household”).  Continue reading

Fiber Optics Now Seen as Default Technology Even for Deployment of Rural Broadband, Says FCC Official

, Publisher,

LEXINGTON, Kentucky, September 16, 2015 – Fiber-optics is now the default mode for deploying high-speed internet throughout the country, even including rural areas, said the head of the Federal Communications Commission‘s office of strategic planning.

Everywhere the country has been able to get an electric line, it ought to be able to get a fiber cable, said Jonathan Chambers, chief of the office, widely regarded as the FCC think tank for technological advancement. Continue reading

White House Launches ‘Smart City’ Initiative That Links Broadband Connectivity to Urban Solutions

By Drew Clark

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2015 – A movement to make cities smart by using the power of broadband and information technology processing power is reaching critical mass, with the White House on Monday announcing a comprehensive initiative to support municipal efforts.

Coinciding with the Smart Cities Week conference here this week, the White House released a 4,000-word summary of more than $160 million in federal research investments, leveraging more than 25 technology collaborations with local communities.
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