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Wired for Good: Exploring Rural Connectivity in West Virginia - Episode 597 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

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New Tribal Broadband Bootcamps Slated for 2024

We are pleased to announce an exciting lineup of Tribal Broadband Bootcamps (TBB) scheduled for 2024. Bringing together new learners and folks with decades of experience, the bootcamps create a unique opportunity for people across Indian Country to share strategies, challenges, and successes.

Broadband Labels Help Transparent Providers Show Off Their Service

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) recently published rules for its broadband nutrition label provides a partial victory for Internet subscribers and a potential marketing advantage for fiber providers – but may pose a challenge for wireless Internet service providers. Though the new rules were finalized in October, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have until 2024 to publish their broadband labels.

Cullman Electric Cooperative Launches Next Phase Of Fiber Expansion

Cullman, Alabama-based Cullman Electric Cooperative says it is launching a new phase of fiber deployment after receiving a $7 million grant to bring affordable fiber access to long-neglected Cullman and Winston counties. Cullman’s $7 million portion will bring affordable fiber access to 1,300 families, marketed under the Sprout brand.

BEAD’s Match Exemption for High-Cost Areas May Be Challenging for Tribal ISPs

With limited capital for high-speed Internet service on Tribal lands, exacerbated by a vast “missing middle mile,” federal broadband funding will have to be used strategically and collaboratively with Tribes to solve the connectivity challenges across Indian Country. The “high-cost area” match exemption could be an important tool to facilitate sustainable infrastructure deployment on Tribal lands, but it is not yet clear that states will make this exemption feasible.

Jamestown Muni Broadband Plan Gets State Support But Timeline Remains Murky

A plan in Jamestown, New York to deploy affordable fiber to every last city resident has received welcome support from state leaders, even though deployment details remain murky and network construction remains well over the horizon. Still, the city’s plans got a needed attention boost last month when Empire State Development–tasked with boosting economic development across New York State–gave a nod to Jamestown’s efforts in the organization’s five-year development plan.

Building for Digital Equity End of Year Encore

Capping off a banner year in broadband, ILSR and NDIA’s final Building for Digital Equity livestream of 2023 featured timely topics and practical insights from an array of frontline digital inclusion practitioners, teeing up Net Inclusion 2024 – the biggest in-person gathering of digital equity advocates in the nation. If you missed the #B4DE 2023 finale or would like to see it again, the entire livestream is now available.

First Electric Cooperative Making Big Progress Delivering Affordable Fiber Service in Arkansas

First Electric Cooperative – and its broadband subsidiary Connect2First – are making major inroads on their quest to deliver affordable fiber Internet service to long-neglected portions of Arkansas. Buoyed by an historic stretch of federal funding, the cooperative says it’s on target to deliver up to 2.5 gigabit per second service to 72,000 locations by the end of 2024. Connect2First officials say they’ve deployed 4,371 miles of fiber across 18 counties in the southeastern part of the state, just outside of the state capital in Little Rock, delivering speeds significantly higher than seen in more urban, populous areas.

Internet For All or Internet For Some?

The American Prospect recently published an analysis authored by our own Sean Gonsalves that lays out why the federally-backed “Internet For All” initiative will likely fall short of its aspirational goals.

Chelan PUD Eyes Options For Costly Completion Of Countywide Fiber Build

Officials in Chelan County, Washington say they are making meaningful progress on its decades-old plan to deliver affordable broadband to all 79,000 county residents. After securing financing for its latest planned fiber expansion, the Chelan County PUD says it’s exploring options to help finish the job of equitable, affordable, full-county deployment.

Municipal Broadband Dark Money Campaign Washes Ashore on Cape Cod

Even the specter of limited “last mile” fiber service provides a glimpse of what competition can do in a market long characterized by a lack of choice. Recently, the town of Falmouth became the target of a dark money campaign that aims to undermine the town's effort to build either a municipal fiber network or partner with an independent ISP to give residents and local businesses a real choice for Internet service.

Fort Worth Strikes Public Private Partnership To Set Table for Citywide Fiber Network

Fort Worth, Texas, has struck a $7.5 million, 34-year contract with Dallas-based Sprocket Networks to construct a new 300-mile fiber optic backbone to shore up city municipal communications needs, expand affordable access to marginalized neighborhoods, and boost local economic development. City officials say construction crews are expected to begin work sometime in the next three to six months, with the full network construction expected to cost $65 million and take three years to complete.