While most of the information on this site is about broadband networks at a citywide level, there are a variety of groups that are working to supply broadband at the neighborhood level (often in large metro areas). I have worked with folks in Saint Paul that want to establish a coop to deliver symmetrical broadband much faster that Comcast and Qwest (I hesitate to even include them because it will OF COURSE be faster than Qwest).
I just learned of the North East Los Angeles Internet Service Cooperative that is attempting to bring better broadband to a number of neighborhoods in LA. They have run into many of the same barriers I saw in Saint Paul - organizing people for better broadband is difficult. People are intimidated by technology and reticent to pledge the necessary funds needed to launch a cooperative.
At this point, the NE LA Coop is more of an idea than an entity that can deliver service, but it is educating people about the benefits of moving beyond monopolistic incumbents. The person responsible for the idea, Jared, has a number of innovative ideas that may prove very interesting and demonstrate the innovative potential of networks freed from the rules of incumbents.
For instance, by aggregating or sharing the connections of multiple subscribers, individual users may find a boost effect in their surfing. By sharing connections, users can take more control over their networks (and their privacy) - but massive companies like Comcast and Time Warner don't allow users to do this. Community networks may be more accommodating -- especially if required to be when created. To any who find this improbable, remember that when we own the network, we make the rules.
California has an ambitious $6 billion proposal to shore up affordable broadband access throughout the state, which includes a $3.25 billion plan to build an open-access statewide broadband middle-mile network backers say could transform competition in the Golden State. But while the proposal has incredible potential, digital equity advocates remain concerned that the historic opportunity could be squandered.
A new chapter in state-Tribal relations is being written as the importance of robust and reliable telecommunication becomes all-too-apparent, especially in the face of more frequent extreme weather events. For the first time, a Tribe in California is building high-speed Internet infrastructure in collaboration with the state, thanks to the resilience of the Hoopa Valley people. With NTIA grant funding now secure, Hoopa Valley is on the cusp of building out a fiber network and more reliable wireless infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet access to over 1,000 on-reservation homes currently without service.
California digital equity advocates say that recent cuts to the state’s ambitious broadband deployment plan unfairly harm low-income and minority communities. And despite promises from state leaders that the cuts will be reversed, local equity advocates say the process used to determine which neighborhoods should be prioritized remains rotten to the core.
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.
The coalition known as Digital Equity LA assembled to picket in front of State Sen. Steven Bradford’s Office, publicly calling for an “end to digital redlining” and for passage of Assembly Bill 41 (AB 41), also known as The Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023. If passed as is, the proposed bill – which we wrote about previously here – would establish an equal access requirement, anti-discrimination provisions, and a process for the public and local governments to provide input on the franchise agreements governing how cable Internet service providers serve their communities.
Thanks to a coalition of local digital equity advocates inroads are being made on fixing long-broken California cable franchise law as Digital Equity LA celebrates a major victory in pressuring the California Public Utilities Commission to produce more accurate maps that will be used to determine where the state's broadband funds should be targeted. These efforts come as California is putting its $7 billion broadband expansion plan into place with an eye on boosting competition and driving down consumer costs.