The Debate Over Muni Broadband Expansion

By Stephanie Kanowitz

As communities across the country continue to clamor for high-speed broadband, the number of critics speaking out against municipal broadband is growing.

At the heart of the debate is whether governments or private industry should have jurisdiction over broadband. Those who favor private industry point to the historical success of capitalism, while “broadband populists,” as a new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) calls them, favor government regulation and operation much like other city services. Continue reading

Expand Broadband Internet, Not The Size Of Government

 

I’d like to respond to two letters in your July 13 edition that praised Rep. Mike Carter’s efforts to expand statewide broadband access. Rep. Carter wants more government involvement in the broadband sector, including an expansion of taxpayer-funded, municipal broadband networks.

Rep. Carter’s supporters argued he’s standing up for consumers against huge telecommunications companies, but by supporting greater government ownership of broadband he’s really working against small businesses like mine. While it’s true many of my colleagues in the telecom sector oppose Rep. Carter’s efforts, the bills he supports wouldn’t hurt the giants of the industry. They’d hurt small, locally owned internet service providers like mine that are struggling to provide good service in our neighborhoods and good jobs in our communities. Continue reading

After Legal Defeat, US Mayors Vow to Continue Municipal Broadband Fight

WRITTEN BY SAM GUSTIN

Two weeks after a federal court dealt a major blow to municipal broadband advocates, dozens of US mayors and city leaders vowed on Wednesday to continue the fight for local control of next-generation communications networks.

These community leaders are speaking out after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to preempt state laws that pose barriers to municipal broadband development. Continue reading

Annette Meeks: Municipal broadband puts taxpayers’ dollars in jeopardy

Although I do not paint as dire picture as Annette Meeks on municipal broadband. There are still several cautionary tales out there that need to be seriously considered by localities when embarking on a municipal broadband project. Most of them have been failures due to poor planning and optimistic projections including the miscalculation of how their commercial competition will respond. In some cases there are no other alternatives than a city to offer their own services, but those are few and far between. There are many creative alternatives that municipalities can implement that increase broadband penetration and offer competition. 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

Lakeland fiber optic broadband option still alive

By Christopher Guinn
Polk Theatre (Lakeland, Florida)

Polk Theatre (Lakeland, Florida) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LAKELAND — If the City Commission decides against starting a publicly owned Internet service utility, it won’t be because of a philosophical disagreement with the idea, commissioners agreed Wednesday.

Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs and Commissioner Don Selvage sought consensus from their colleagues following a brief discussion of the “gigabit” issue, in which the city would leverage its existing fiber optics assets to improve broadband connection speeds in the city. Continue reading

Fairlawn, OH, to start FairlawnGig gigabit broadband project

The city is actually building infrastructure and not becoming a service provider. They will offer access to other service providers.

Lightwave Staff
English: A fiber optic splice lab being used t...

English: A fiber optic splice lab being used to access underground fiber optic cables for splicing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city council of Fairlawn, OH, approved four ordinances on April 4 that will kick start the launch of FairlawnGig, a municipal broadband project. Through a combination of wireless and fiber-optic network infrastructure, the project aims to make gigabit broadband services available to all residents and businesses in Fairlawn, as well as to the Akron-Fairlawn-Bath Township Joint Economic Development District (JEDD).

The votes came after the completion of an RFP process that explored the feasibility of the project as well as potential partners. The city plans to have Fujitsu Network Communications, Inc. design, build, operate, and maintain the fiber to the premises (FTTP) and wireless networks. Extra Mile Fiber, LLC, of Dayton, OH, will serve as FairlawnGig’s anchor service provider. Continue reading