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. 
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

Tired of Waiting For Verizon, MA Town Gives Itself Gigabit Fiber

Way back in 2005 we profiled the Massachusetts towns of Shutesbury and Leverett, two shining examples of the kinds of U.S. towns that have fallen into broadband connectivity black holes. Large regional providers like Verizon didn’t want to upgrade the markets (Boston still hasn’t been upgraded to FiOS), and could barely be bothered to keep aging copper in the region fully functional.

A decade later and Leverett last Friday formally launchedLeverettNet, a new network that will deliver gigabit speeds to the town’s previously-underserved masses. 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

Study finds EPB fiber optics generates over $865 million in benefits for Chattanooga

by Dave Flessner

EPB (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A new study suggests that EPB‘s fiber optics has helped generate at least 2,800 new jobs and added $865.3 million to the local economy by cutting power outages, improving Internet links and attracting businesses to the “Gig City.”

The study by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Economist Bento Lobo found that since its introduction six years ago today, EPB’s smart grid and first-in-the-nation citywide gigabit Internet service has helped local education, health care, business, arts and culture and municipal services. The smart grid is estimated to have avoided 124.7 million customer minutes of interruptions by better detection of power faults and better methods of rerouting power to restore service more quickly than in the past. Continue reading

Lexington Goes for a Gig

By Masha Zager / Broadband Communities
A view of Keeneland's grandstand at dawn, take...

A view of Keeneland’s grandstand at dawn, taken from the last turn leading into the home stretch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city of Lexington, Ky., is famous for its beautiful horse farms and historic bourbon distilleries but not for its broadband. Internet service there could fairly be described as mediocre – the Internet metrics company Ookla recently measured the average download speed in Lexington at 16.2 Mbps, well below the U.S. average of 37.1 Mbps.

On the other hand, unlike some other cities that have launched FTTH initiatives, Lexington isn’t precisely underserved. There is no groundswell of community outrage about broadband. But Jim Gray, the city’s mayor, believes better broadband will give the city a better future, and he vowed to make Lexington a gigabit city. “Every city is in a competitive chase for talent and investment and jobs,” he explains. “This is essential just to stay competitive.” Continue reading

The Latest Big Cable Consolidation Will Screw Consumers and Startups

Get a Clue

Get a Clue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This article is a bit late, but the subject is still pertinent. These technology bloggers do not have any idea of how the communications industry operates. It really doesn’t matter if companies consolidate across geographical boundaries because the companies are not competing against each other in the first place. The number of choices that a consumer has remains constant in this transaction. The premise of this article is flawed, but coming from Gawker Media it is no surprise.

I find it ironic that the author complains of not enough competition then lauds efforts by the government to get into the business which is the ultimate monopoly. These kiddies think that the government will solve all of their problems while in reality they care even less about service quality and customer service than commercial service providers. I totally agree that more competition will be health for consumers but stopping this transaction will not do anything to improve that situation.

Adam Clark Estes-, Gawker Media 

America woke up to some frustrating news today. Charter, the fourth-largest cable company in America, wants to buy Time Warner Cable, the second-largest, as well as Bright House, the tenth-largest. If the deal goes through it’s going to affect come 23 million internet customers directly. Not in a good way.

Major cable mergers like this one and, like the failed Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable, stand to further wreck the already terrible state of America’s broadband.
Continue reading