No Broadband Champagne Yet

Blair’s opinion piece generally supports competition as opposed to more regulation as proposed by FCC Chairman Wheeler. While he has the facts to make a case that more regulation stifles innovation and cements the incumbents market position, he does not fully utilize them to make a strong case against Title II regulation. Instead he uses this opportunity to support municipal broadband and his Gig.U organization. Still I am delighted that re/code published is opinion article against more regulation because they have been a strong supporter of Title II regulation.

By Blair Levin, Executive Director, Gig.U

On Feb. 26, the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate broadband under Title II and challenge two state laws constraining municipal broadband deployment efforts. Progressives, longtime advocates of both actions, owe a huge “thanks” to Verizon. Its legal challenge to earlier, weaker FCC rules opened the door to the reclassification and a footnote in the court decision provided a path for the FCC to champion municipal broadband, a valuable lesson for all considering responding to adverse agency decisions. Continue reading

FCC, FTC chiefs urge Internet openness, security at CU conference


This article incorrectly states that the Chairman said that 75% of households have only one carrier while the correct number is 2 carriers. Also what the Chairman said is an oxymoron, you cannot keep something “open” when you allow a commission influenced by large media corporations that will define what can be said and done on the Internet. Finally more regulations increase costs that discourage, not encourage, investment. This doublespeak is typical from what we have been hearing from this administration, but it is shocking that it is coming from the FCC that is supposed to be an independent agency.

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Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Monday forcefully defended the agency’s intent to regulate the Internet as a utility, stating that the agency’s goal is to keep the ‘Net “fast, fair and open for all Americans” while encouraging incentives for investment. Continue reading

Cedar Falls Muni Provider Concerned about Title II

English: Cotton Theater located at 103 Main St...

English: Cotton Theater located at 103 Main Street in Cedar Falls, Black Hawk County, Iowa is on the National Register of Historic Places (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An Iowa-based municipal broadband provider that President Obama praised during a mid-January visit is worried that Title II regulation could hurt its finances and impede its ability to expand services for customers.

In mid-January, President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, to tout the Internet services provided by Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU), as a model for how a publicly run broadband network should be operated. But in a recent filingwith the Federal Communications Commission, CFU joined USTelecom member Shenandoah Telecommunications Company and members of the American Cable Association (ACA) to highlight why reclassifying broadband services under Title II might harm small and medium sized internet service providers. Continue reading

Phoenix Questions Chattanooga as Muni Role Model

Downtown of Chattanooga, Tennessee

Downtown of Chattanooga, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to municipal broadband successes, Chattanooga, Tenn., may not be the best example to cite in support of allowing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preempt state laws that ban or restrict competition from community broadband, according to a recent report published by the Phoenix Center. Chief economist George S. Ford, who authored the report, says this perspective, which has been touted by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the White House, does not account for Chattanooga’s unique circumstances.

Ford says the Chattanooga experience is not easily replicated elsewhere. Chattanooga‘s broadband system is constructed and maintained by the city’s municipal electric utility, which benefitted from $229 million in revenue bonds and a $50 million construction loan. Only 14 percent of Americans are served by government-owned electric utilities, usually present in rural markets where there are very high network deployment costs. Continue reading

Opinion: Google Fiber deal not in best interest of NC public

Occasionally I will post opposing opinions and different views about broadband services. This article below posits that broadband Internet provides no value to the community and individuals yet goes on to claim that such an asset should be owned by the government. 

The economic benefits to a broadband network are well documented and readily available if the writer chose to search and read them. I can definitely provide personal experiences how broadband Internet has enriched my life and made me more productive. Also, I take aim at why the government should own this network. With his logic, the government should own the other broadband networks as well. I quickly discounted the validity of his claim with his poor analogies and oxymoronic reasoning. I applaud Google for coming to town and introducing true competition in the markets that they enter.


The announcement of a deal with Google to bring ultra-fast Internet to the Triangle is being hailed like rain in the desert. Amid an economy that, flashes of optimism aside, remains in stagnation, we imagine that the super-fast Internet will super-charge our businesses, our schools, our very lives.

High-speed Internet doesn’t really improve the speed or, more importantly, the quality of how most of us do business –most of us don’t work for Netflix or engage in high-speed financial speculation. It also doesn’t make children learn faster or better – I somehow doubt that more HD streaming video will solve our education problems. Continue reading

Broadband Is Best Left to Private Sector

ows_142205957499425Earlier this month President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, to encourage more American communities to build government-owned broadband networks. He issued this challenge for cities and towns to build their own municipal networks because, he said, the United States has fallen behind much of the world in providing super-high-speed broadband. The president then instructed what was previously thought to be an independent commission, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to overturn existing state laws in 19 states that exist to protect citizens against ill-advised municipal broadband projects.

One that they are seeking to overturn is in effect in Minnesota, where state law requires a local ballot initiative before a municipal broadband project can advance, providing transparency and some level of protection to taxpayers. Continue reading

City Leaders Explore Municipal Broadband

English: 4th Street in Loveland CO

English: 4th Street in Loveland CO (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

City officials discussed the possibility of bringing municipal broadband service, or citywide high speed internet to Loveland, at the City Council and staff retreat Saturday.

The structure of how the service would operate as well as whether it would be a city-owned and operated service or one developed by a public-private partnership, among other factors, will be part of future discussions on the topic. Continue reading