Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Small Town Volunteers in Massachusetts Begin Pole Inventory
Volunteers in Shutesbury will fan out this weekend to perform a "pole inventory blitz" reports the GazetteNet.com. The town of approximately 1,800 people sits near Leverett and faces many of the same difficulties with connectivity.
Shutesbury and Leverett were working together a few years ago hoping to develop a solution to bring infrastructure to both communities. The two communities approached Verizon and Comcast asking for better connectivity, but their requests led to nothing. Eventually, Leverett became frustrated and broke out on their own. They are now deploying their own fiber network.
One of the first steps in determining the feasibility and costs to deploy a fiber network is accurately evaluating assets. Many local communities do not have an up-to-date inventory of utility poles or what entities own those poles. In Lake County, Minnesota, Frontier Communications asserted ownership of utility poles in the town of Two Harbors after fiber had been strung on those poles. Unfortunately, the county's records had not been revisited in some time and Frontier was able to produce records put ownership in question. The project was significantly delayed; planners eventually moved more fiber underground to avoid many of those poles. Pole inventories and due diligence, as in Shutesbury, help avoid delays and unanticipated cost increases. (Read all about Lake County's project in our recent report, All Hands on Deck: Minnesota Local Government Models For Exanding Fiber Internet Access)
Most Shutesbury residents use Verizon DSL, satellite, or dial-up and the community knows it needs better access. In an effort to obtain connectivity that will ensure fast, affordable, reliable services in the future, Shutesbury is taking inspiration from its neighbor. The city does not have any specific plans for a municipal network but is realistic about lack of interest from private investment.
The committee originally formed to work on the issue with Leverett began meeting again last April and has organized volunteers to get the process started. On November 8th, 60 volunteers will go out in teams of 3 in order to accurately collect information on utility poles in the 27.2 square-mile town. They will use a special iPad app developed by one of the Shutesbury Broadband Committee Co-Chairwomen, Gayle Huntress.
Asha Strazzero-Wild, another co-chairwoman of the Broadband Committee told the GazetteNet that the community is painfully aware of the lack of connectivity in Shutesbury:
“Everyone who’s involved in this is saying we need broadband and we need it yesterday.”
New Bill Could Make Colorado Friendly State for Municipal Broadband
Summit County, Ohio Building $75 Million, 125-Mile Fiber Ring
Georgia CPF Funds Go Mostly to Big Incumbents; Cooperatives Share Leftovers
New York City’s Ambitious Broadband Plan Is A Shadow Of Its Former Self
In 2020, New York City officials unveiled a massive new broadband proposal they promised would dramatically reshape affordable broadband access in the city.
Instead, the program has been steadily and quietly dismantled, replaced by a variety of costly half-measures that critics say don’t solve the actual, underlying cause of expensive, substandard broadband.
Fairlawn Gig Adds Speed, Lowers Price
Subscribers to FairlawnGig – Fairlawn, Ohio’s municipal broadband network – are being upgraded to new service levels as the city-owned network bumps up speeds and slashes prices to make its fiber Internet service faster, and even more affordable. Earlier this week, FairlawnGig announced that subscribers who had been getting Fairlawn’s basic service tier of symmetrical 300 Megabits per second (Mbps) were being upgraded to symmetrical gig speed service – for the exact same price of $55/month.
Charter, Comcast Continue to Dominate State Grant Awards
While cooperatives, utilities, and municipalities are seeing a welcome portion of Covid relief and infrastructure bill funding, the nation’s two biggest cable broadband monopolies continue to hoover up the lion’s share of most new broadband infrastructure grants.