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The Success of Urbana-Champaign's Broadband Revolution - Episode 601 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

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Latest Stories

Building for Digital Equity Podcast Returns

We are set to launch a brand new season that focuses on the frontline work to expand Internet access, address affordability, and help provide the digital skills and devices necessary to fully participate in a digital world. The first episode of 2024 features an insightful conversation with Pierrette Renée Dagg, Director of Research for the MERIT Network in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Municipal Broadband Provider Whip City Fiber Serves Up Win “For Everybody”

Westfield City Council votes to approve $11.1 million bond for a new athletic track and field at the local high school, thanks to the success of Westfield Gas & Electric’s broadband subsidiary Whip City Fiber. And though the return on investment may not be as eye-popping as the $2.7 billion Chattanooga's municipal network, EPB Fiber, has reaped in Tennessee, Westfield officials hailed the community investment as a “huge moment” for local residents.

Caution Ahead: RDOF and BEAD Collision Course

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund was supposed to drive affordable fiber into vast swaths of long-underserved parts of rural America. But the program has been plagued with problems since its inception, putting both current and future broadband funding opportunities at risk. French-owned cable company Altice is the latest to announce it would be defaulting on 18 census block groups in Louisiana.

Massachusetts and New York Look To Make Affordable Housing Broadband Ready

Massachusetts and New York officials hope to entice affordable housing property owners with new grant programs that would pay the retrofitting costs to expand high-speed Internet connectivity into decades-old affordable housing developments. Given that many of these multi-dwelling units (MDUs) were built before the advent of the Internet, a significant number of low-income tenants are living in buildings that are not wired to support reliable broadband connections or where residents can’t afford monopoly provider prices.

NextLight in Longmont, Colorado Expands Beyond City Borders

Longmont, Colorado’s community-owned NextLight broadband network has now crossed north of Colorado Highway 66, outside of city limits. Longmont officials say this latest expansion is being financed entirely by subscriber revenues and money set aside for capital projects, with no bonding or other supplementary funds involved.

West Springfield, MA Breaks Ground On Citywide Fiber Plan

West Springfield residents recently gathered to break ground on a plan to deliver affordable fiber access to all 28,000 city residents. The effort, first conceived in 2021 during the height of the pandemic, involves working with Westfield Gas and Electric's broadband subsidiary Whip City Fiber to deliver symmetrical gigabit fiber.

Selma, 17 Other Alabama Communities Will See Construction of $230 Million Open Access Fiber Network

Selma, Alabama – and parts of 16 other communities in eight different counties – will soon be connected to a new, $230 million open access fiber network that aims to bring affordable broadband to historically marginalized sections of the Yellowhammer State. The deployment comes courtesy of a public private partnership (PPP) the city has struck with Meridiam Infrastructure and Meridiam-owned YellowHammer networks – an agreement that will launch the expansion of fiber access across Alabama’s Black Belt region.

Trojan Horse To Cripple Muni Broadband in New York Slipped Into State Assembly Budget Proposal

Language added to a New York State budget bill is threatening to undermine a municipal broadband grant program established by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office earlier this year. Buried near the bottom of the Assembly budget proposal is a Trojan horse legislative sources say is being pushed by lobbyists representing Charter Spectrum, the regional cable monopoly and 2nd largest cable company in the U.S. that was nearly kicked out of New York by state officials in 2018 for atrocious service.