Washington Law Would Let Counties Sell Broadband Service When Comcast Won’t

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Last year, we told you about Seth, who had recently relocated to Washington only to find out he might have to sell his new house because Comcast had lied to him about being able to provide the Internet connection he needs for his home office. And even though the county runs a high-speed fiber network not far from his property, current state law restricts consumers from buying access to that service. Recently proposed state legislation hopes to right that wrong and give counties the ability to serve residents when Comcast and others refuse to.

Current Washington state law allows for municipalities to own and operate broadband networks, but they can only sell wholesale access, meaning that customers must purchase so-called “last mile” service through a third party, even if it’s only a few yards from the existing fiber line to the house being connected. Continue reading

Kentucky to build 3,400-mile state-owned broadband network and a fight is brewing

Yet another US state is weighing up the idea of laying thousands of miles of cable to create its own broadband network.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that a group of telcos are pushing back against a proposed $324m network involving 3,400 miles of cabling, which would cover 120 counties in the state.

The construction phase of the project is tentatively set to be completed by the Fall of 2018, with a private company building and maintaining the state-owned network. Continue reading

All Residents Need A Broadband Choice

English: The Penmynydd high-speed broadband tr...

English: The Penmynydd high-speed broadband transmission mast viewed from the churchyard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite the fact that Internet access speeds are increasing on average, there are still almost 40% of Americans without broadband service. I know this because my parents live just a few minutes out of a state capital and do not have any access to any wired broadband service. There is no easy answer to this solution because serving these rural areas is expensive.

Building the last-mile infrastructure is the most costly part of the build. Carriers are challenged to be profitable building out rural areas even if they had a 100% market share. This is why the Universal Service Fund was created. Instead of all customers subsidizing rural communities, local governments and carriers should be allowed to form a public/private partnership to build an open-access last-mile fiber infrastructure. All carriers could then utilize this infrastructure to provide competitive communications services to potential customers no different than in densely packed urban areas. This method is fairer to all parties and does not put taxpayers at as much risk. Continue reading

FCC Chair: 39% Of Rural America Lacks Broadband Access

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If you live in the city, it’s almost a certainty that your property can get high-speed Internet access from at least one company. But for rural America, it’s a different story, with nearly 4-in-10 people lacking access to fixed-line broadband service.

This is according to FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, who will issue his latest annual Broadband Progress Report later this month. Continue reading

South Mississippi cities deserve better than government broadband

Coastal map of the U.S. state of Mississippi, ...

Coastal map of the U.S. state of Mississippi, showing major towns and cities in the 3 coastal counties: Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson County. Also shown are Cat Island, West Ship Island, East Ship Island, Horn Island and Petit Bois Island.The locations of towns, roads and offshore islands are based on NOAA and NASA maps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


BY DAVID WILLIAMS

Mississippi will receive $1.5 billion as part of its settlement from the British Petroleum oil spill. A new plan proposes to use a significant portion of that settlement to build a government-owned broadband “fiber ring” connecting several South Mississippi cities including Biloxi, Gulfport and D’Iberville. Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said the total cost of the network, which officials hope will eventually encompass 12 cities and three counties, could top $100 million.

While broadband service is an important tool for students, business owners, job seekers, public safety and health care professionals, spending the BP settlement money on a network owned and managed by the cities is a waste of public funds and puts taxpayers on the hook for future financial exposure. And it is hard to imagine that residents in Biloxi will tolerate the delays the Fiber Ring installation will cause in the current infrastructure projects on the Point. Continue reading

Small Massachusetts town will offer blazing 2 Gbps fiber Internet for US$40 a month

English: a fiber-optic splitter: 2x(input, 90%...

A fiber-optic splitter: 2x(input, 90% out, 10%out) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jon Gold

Leverett, Mass., will improve its existing fiber-optic network by the start of the new year, boosting peak speeds from one gigabit to two gigabits, and dropping the price from $45 per month to $40, according to a report in the local Recorder newspaper.

A small town in central Massachusetts, just north of Amherst, Leverett has fewer than 2,000 residents, making it among the smallest in the country with its own municipal gigabit [sic] fiber network.

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Estes Park being surveyed about broadband

Panorama of Estes Park, , , taken at an altitu...

Panorama of Estes Park, , , taken at an altitude of about 9,000 feet. Picture is taken from the mountains around Gem Lake, north of the town. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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ESTES PARK — The Town of Estes Park sent surveys by email to area businesses on Monday  as part of its research into establishing a broadband utility within the current Light and Power service area. A random selection of residents also will be surveyed.

The survey, which will provide data on customer preferences for Internet service and pricing   models, is being conducted by independent researchers at Colorado State University and Discovery Research Group. Customers will first receive a phone-call invitation to provide an email address so they may receive a link to the 10-minute online survey. Continue reading