I am not going to spend a lot of time on this, because if it isn't in the proverbial weeds for the focus of this site, it is pretty close. But the merger between Comcast and NBC would be bad news for publicly owned networks.
Comcast is already a massive company that has huge advantages due to its scale. When a community served by Comcast decides it wants a network that puts the community first rather than the boardroom in Philadelphia, they have to compete with Comcast for customers. Comcast can cross-subsidize from its non-competitive markets, meaning it can offer its services at a loss in competitive communities, offering prices that a new network simply cannot beat while paying its bills.
The larger it gets and the more channels it owns, the more market power it has and the harder for competitors to get enough subscribers to stay in business.
Beyond publicly owned networks, the Comcast and NBC merger is bad for everyone who likes real choices in channels to watch and programming to consume. In these times of great creativity due to the openness of the web, it further constrains opportunities for independent content creators - as illustrated by two articles describing the sausage-making of creating a channel lineup: Comcast vs. the Tennis Channel and How Cable Programming is 'Chosen.'
The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) recently announced that its Community Broadband Projects of the Year Awards for 2023 will go to the Connexion network in Fort Collins, Colorado and TeamPharr.net in Pharr, Texas. Fort Collins is also a part of a municipal-owned communications partnership known as Northern Colorado Community Fiber, which received the Fiber Broadband Association Star Award for going “above and beyond what is expected in the advancement of Fiber-to-the-Home.”
Berthoud is the latest Colorado community to explore community broadband alternatives to expand public access to affordable fiber. Currently in the process of crafting a request for quote (RFQ), the city says it hopes to make its final determination by November and have a preliminary plan in place by the end of the year.
For over 20 years, the city of Palo Alto, the "Birthplace of Silicon Valley,” has flirted with the idea of building a city-owned municipal fiber network. Now after years of debate, numerous studies, several false starts, and many unfulfilled RFPs, city officials say they’re finally moving forward with a city-owned fiber network they hope will transform affordable broadband connectivity citywide. Phase One of the city’s planned fiber deployment should begin later this year, delivering fiber access to around 20 percent of the city–or 6,500 homes and businesses.
Edison, New Jersey is proceeding with the construction of an affordable, gigabit-capable fiber network after receiving $2 million cash infusion from state leaders. The resulting network will be built on the back of decades’ worth of local frustration with the high prices, spotty availability, and slow broadband speeds provided by regional monopolies.
Portland activists are renewing their calls to prioritize the construction of a municipally owned broadband network in the Oregon city of 635,000. With an historic infusion of federal subsidies and a looming shakeup of city politics, advocates for community-owned broadband say the time is right to finally revolutionize city telecom infrastructure with an eye on affordability.
Fort Piece, Florida officials say the city continues to make steady progress with its plan to expand access to affordable fiber to all 45,000 Fort Pierce residents with the help of the city-owned utility. The network, inspired by similar utility-backed efforts in cities like Chattanooga, promises to deliver multi-gigabit speeds at prices notably lower than regional monopolies.