Municipal fiber network will let customers switch ISPs in seconds

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Most cities and towns that build their own broadband networks do so to solve a single problem: that residents and businesses aren’t being adequately served by private cable companies and telcos.

But there’s more than one way to create a network and offer service, and the city of Ammon, Idaho, is deploying a model that’s worth examining. Ammon has built an open access network that lets multiple private ISPs offer service to customers over city-owned fiber. The wholesale model in itself isn’t unprecedented, but Ammon has also built a system in which residents will be able to sign up for an ISP—or switch ISPs if they are dissatisfied—almost instantly, just by visiting a city-operated website and without changing any equipment. Continue reading

Open Access

A key problem in improving Internet access has been ensuring residents and local businesses have high quality services. One means of ensuring high quality is via competition – if people can switch away from their Internet Service Provider, the ISP has an incentive to provide better services. However, the high cost of building networks is a barrier for new ISPs to enter the market – limiting the number of options for communities. Open access provides a solution: multiple providers sharing the same physical network.

Publicly owned, open access networks can create a vibrant and innovative market for telecommunications services. Municipalities build the physical infrastructure (fiber-optic lines, wireless access points, etc.) and independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate in a competitive market using the same physical network. In this competitive marketplace, ISPs compete for customers and have incentives to innovate rather than simply locking out competitors with a de facto monopoly.  Continue reading

Tired of waiting, rich enclave may build fast Internet

By Dan McSwain

A flirtation with socialism in uber-capitalist Rancho Santa Fe could influence how telecommunications service is delivered to the rest of us in San Diego County.

On Thursday, the elected board that oversees land use in the wealthy rural enclave took a step toward building a super-fast, fiber-optic communications system that would reach each home and business. Here’s the twist: The system would be financed and owned by the public, with a telecom firm building and managing the network as a hired hand.

Internet speeds would start at 1 gigabits (1 billion bits) per second and top out at 10 gbps, or roughly 850 times the average U.S. connection of 11.7 megabits per second. Continue reading

FCC, States Square Off in Court Over Municipal Broadband

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By John Eggerton

Just days after the Tennessee legislature voted down a municipal broadband expansion bill, the state was squaring off with the FCC in federal court over the issue of municipal broadband buildouts and the state’s ability to limit them.

After FCC chairman Tom Wheeler signaled the FCC had the power to preempt state laws blocking the expansion of municipal broadband, the cities of Wilson, N.C., and Chattanooga, Tenn. petitioned the FCC to do just that. A divided commission complied in March 2015, and Tennessee and North Carolina then filed suit. Continue reading

City to move forward on broadband study

Structure of Broadband Service Market, by Acce...

Structure of Broadband Service Market, by Access Technology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Saja Hindi

Loveland city councilors directed city staff to move forward Tuesday with hiring a consultant and forming a task force to study options for municipal broadband.

Water and Power Director Steve Adams said staff members are looking to hire a qualified firm to conduct a broadband assessment and feasibility analysis and to help develop a plan.

The task force would consist of about 13 members, from various groups and businesses around the city, to assist in the study and garner public participation. Continue reading

5 States to Watch in the Community Broadband Fight

BY  APRIL 18, 2014

The State Capitol in Topeka, Kan.

The battle between local governments and telecommunications providers over the right to establish community broadband networks heated up over the last several months, as a number of bills were introduced that could have significant impact on municipalities in five states.

Kansas, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Utah and Tennessee were all in the spotlight earlier this year regarding everything from de-facto bans on community networks to funding and development issues. Some of the bills were pulled off the table, while others have continued through their respective states’ legislative processes.

Continue reading