The city council in Wilson, North Carolina, has reluctantly voted to turn off the fiber Internet service it provides to a nearby town because of a court ruling that prevents expansion of municipal broadband services.
The Federal Communications Commission in February 2015 voted to block laws in North Carolina and Tennessee that prevent municipal broadband providers from expanding outside their territories. After that vote, Wilson’s Greenlight fiber Internet service expanded to the nearby town of Pinetops. Continue reading
It’s Gigabites, the Labor Day Weekend edition. In this week’s report, Google Fiber and AT&T battle it out in Nashville; the FCC backs down from the municipal broadband fight; Comcast challenges Verizon in a ranking of broadband speeds; and more.
Who loves Nashville the most? Google Fiber Inc. says it has the city’s best interests at heart in requesting a new One Touch Make Ready (OTMR) ruling from the city government. The OTMR ordinance would make it easier for Google Fiber, and anyone else, to attach new broadband lines to local utility poles. In ablog post dedicated “To Nashville, with love,” the company appeals directly to the city’s residents asking them to support the ruling at a vote on September 6. Google Fiber says a positive vote would speed up the process of bringing Google Fiber to the Music City. So far, the company points out that only 33 utility poles have been made ready for Google Fiber attachments out of the more than 44,000 in the city that need work done in preparation for new fiber lines.
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
Phoenix Center chief economist George Ford has taken issue with a story in The Tennessean newspaper in which Chattanooga, Tenn., Mayor Andy Berke touted the economic benefits of its municipal fiber network.
A federal appeals court recently rejected the FCC‘s preemption of a Tennessee state law limiting the expansion of that city network, but the story preceded that decision and made no mention of it. Continue reading
Local governments and communities are faced with a dilemma when it is not commercially feasible for one or more companies to serve suburban and rural areas with competitive broadband services. Communities recognize that broadband networks contribute to their economic vitality so citizens ask them to pick up the ball where commercial enterprises will not go. Should local governments compete with commercial enterprises where they may have an unfair advantage? No. Government should facilitate the growth and creation of businesses; not compete with them. Local governments can do this by only deploying the fiber infrastructure and selling access to the fibers to any communication services provider that want to offer services in a community. This open access infrastructure promotes business in a community and gives consumers a choice of what services they want to purchase. The state of Tennessee should amend its’ law to allow communities and local governments to deploy fiber infrastructure and promote public/private partnerships when necessary to encourage competition for broadband services.
The results of a study commissioned by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) to evaluate broadband access throughout the state may encourage state lawmakers to rethink long-stalled legislation when the 110th General Assembly convenes in January. Continue reading
Tullahoma, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NORMANDY, Tenn. – It’s usually between the 10th and the 15th day of the month when Clifton and Joanna Miller’s satellite Internet account hits its data cap. Clifton, a lawyer, and Joanna, a sixth-grade math teacher, are unable to work from home. Their 16-year-old daughter, who depends on access for homework, takes a laptop to her grandmother’s house nearby to complete her assignments until a new month begins.
The Millers’ house is less than a mile from Tullahoma‘s city limit, but under state law, the Tullahoma Utilities Board cannot extend its high-speed fiber Internet network outside its electric service footprint. They would settle for basic broadband from other providers, but those companies — AT&T and Charter Communications — don’t reach his neighborhood. Continue reading
Chattanooga, Tennessee from Lookout Mountain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Federal Communication Commission ruled last week that cities like Chattanooga may expand their municipal broadband service, but Tennessee officials who oppose the decision are lining up to block the move.
On Tuesday Republican state lawmakers led by Rep. Jeremy Durham of Franklin urged state Attorney General Herbert Slatery to file a lawsuit challenging the decision as “a violation of state sovereignty.” Continue reading