To celebrate the launching of MuniNetworks.org, we wanted to highlight some of the best broadband available in the United States.
If you were looking for the best citywide broadband networks available in the United States, you would almost definitely find publicly owned networks. We just collected some data on top-performing networks in the U.S.
Though Comcast and Verizon have received a lot of attention for their investments in higher capacity networks, they still do not compare to some of the best community full fiber-to-the-home networks.
In comparing some of the fastest publicly owned broadband networks to some of the fastest national private sector networks, we found that the publicly owned networks offer more value per dollar. Update: A few weeks after this was published, Verizon upped its speeds and prices for several of the tiers.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the data are the baseline speeds available in Wilson North Carolina and Lafayette Louisiana. Lafayette offers a symmetrical 10Mbps connection for $28.95/month whereas Wilson charges $34.95.
I can only imagine how these networks have made their businesses more competitive while cutting telecom budgets for the schools and cities. Imagine being a business in Lafayette with a 50Mbps symmetrical connection when your competition is renting a T-1 at 1.5Mbps for $500/month. 30x the speed at 1/10th the cost. That is a competitive advantage.
In Utah, if Comcast has upgraded to DOCSIS 3 in that area, they'll be charging $140/month for a 50/10 connection when those in the UTOPIA footprint have access to a 100/100 connection for $147.
At least some communities across the U.S. are still competitive with the rest of the world when it comes to Mbps at affordable prices. There is still hope.
At a recent Martinsville City Council meeting, the council offered unanimous support for a phased expansion of the city’s Municipal Internet Network (MiNet). What exactly the expansion will look like, and how it will be funded, very much remain a work in progress. Despite having been first constructed in the 1990s, Martinsville’s MiNet only has about 376 customers in a city of nearly 14,000 residents. There’s roughly 20 users currently on a multi-month waiting list, eager to get access to affordable fiber at speeds up to a gigabit per second (Gbps).
Golden, Colorado has struck a new right-of-way agreement with Google Fiber that should expedite the competitive delivery of affordable fiber to the city of 20,000. The deal gives Google Fiber non-exclusive access to public right-of-way to build a commercial broadband network, though it delivers no guarantee of uniform access across the entire city.
The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board (BAB) has greenlit $120 million in broadband grants from the Idaho Capital Projects Fund (CPF) to fund 18 different broadband projects across Idaho, delivering affordable fiber access to 30,000 homes and businesses, many for the first time.
UTOPIA Fiber has completed its fourth major broadband deployment of 2023, with the finished construction of a $23.5 million citywide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) build in Syracuse, Utah. The new fiber network passes 12,324 residential addresses, and has already reached a nearly 16% subscriber take rate in the city.
The Knoxville Utility Board (KUB) says it has completed the first phase of what will be the nation's largest municipal broadband deployment, bringing affordable fiber access to more than 50,000 premises in this city of 192,000 – many for the very first time. All told, the $702 million project aims to deliver affordable fiber to 210,000 households across KUB’s 688-square-mile service area, taking between seven and ten years to complete.
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.