Christopher Mitchell spoke with Gavin Dahl about community broadband on KYRS, a community radio station in Spokane, Washington, on April 11. The discussion touched on legislation in Washington that could have encouraged rural broadband deployment by area public utility districts and why the private sector is not getting the job done.
We also discussed the role of federal policy and what some communities have done elsewhere to build next generation networks.
CVFiber continues to make progress in deploying affordable fiber to long-neglected rural areas in Vermont. In late 2022 CVFiber broke ground on an ambitious plan to build a 1,200-mile fiber-optic network to bring affordable gigabit broadband access to 6,000 rural Vermont addresses with its first customers having been connected in the central Vermont town of Calais.
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.
Butler Electric Cooperative and its Velocity broadband subsidiary say they’re making meaningful progress in bringing fixed wireless access (FWA) — and ultimately fiber optic broadband — to long-neglected sections of rural south-central Kansas. It’s the latest example of electrical cooperatives playing a leading role in the longstanding quest to bridge the digital divide.
Vermont’s nascent Communication Union Districts (CUD) are pioneering creative efforts to deploy affordable broadband to the rural parts of the Green Mountain State. That includes the Lamoille FiberNet CUD, which has greenlit a major new plan to expand affordable access to fiber in the most neglected parts of rural Vermont. Lamoille plans to have Fidium Fiber and Consolidated Communications deploy and manage 630 miles of new fiber connecting more than 4,800 unserved and underserved Lamoille County homes and businesses.
The establishment of a new broadband office in Mississippi heralds a new era in the state’s efforts to bring high quality broadband to all its residents, especially those living in the most rural parts of the state. On the forefront of that effort is the Delta Electric Power Association, an electric cooperative building out fiber networks in the Mississippi Delta region, where about a quarter of residents do not have access to broadband of any kind.
The Whatcom County Public Utility District is now leading the charge in one of the most difficult-to-reach parts of the state in building an open access dark fiber network that will bring high-speed connectivity to over a thousand homes and businesses in Point Roberts.