Conduit, Fiber Optics & The Last Mile | Building a Fiber-To-The-Home Network

What’s it take to run fiber to the home? In a new animated video, Sr. Community Broadband Networks Researcher Maren Machles breaks down conduit, the central office, and the last mile to give you a birds-eye-view of a typical fiber optic network. Coming in just under two and half minutes, this video is suggested for folks who need a quick overview of what the last-mile is, and what it takes to build a subterranean fiber optic network.

Tribal Wireless Bootcamp Summer 2021

Supported by Internet Society and a host of wonderful experts and organizers, the first Tribal Wireless Bootcamp ran over the July 4th, 2021 weekend. Representatives from a handful of Tribes joined to learn and forge relationships to support local broadband efforts in their own communities. Here's a look at how it went!

Connect This!

In this live show hosted by Christopher, a diverse panel of broadband policy experts and industry veterans get together and talk about recent news, untangle regulations, demystify technology, dig into grant programs, and have a good time. Compared to the Broadband Bits podcast, Connect This! will range wider and encourage guests to find common ground on the complicated issues that collectively define our networked future. 

We also feature longer documentary videos on

Short Video Explains Community Broadband

This video explains why communities consider building their own broadband networks. Please pass it around, embed it in social media, and enjoy this 90 second video on the advantages of community broadband!

Sandy, Oregon: Home of the $60 Gig

Sandy, Oregon developed its own municipal fiber network and brought a gig to the community for under $60. Sandy is one of the few municipal FTTH networks that has been built without having a municipal electric department. This video, made in cooperation with Next Century Cities, shares their story of local self-reliance.

Ammon's Model: The Virtual End of Cable Monopolies

The city of Ammon, Idaho is building the Internet network of the future. Households and businesses can instantly change Internet service providers using a specially-designed innovative portal. This short 20 minute video highlights how the network is saving money, creating competition for broadband services, and creating powerful new public safety applications.

Why a Gig? The Video Response You've Been Waiting For!

With the increasing number of gigabit cities, a trend led by local governments, Google, and some cutting edge small ISPs, some are confused why a gigabit is important now when most applications do not need that much bandwidth to operate.

From Crops to Co-ops: Small Towns Want Better Internet!

The people of “Villageville” are fed up with poor Internet access from the large monopoly incumbent ISP. Their local businesses, schools, and citizens are suffering with slow, unreliable, outdated connectivity and they’re ready to take matters into their own hands. Watch this campy animated series to see how the folks from our fictional rural community took matters into their own hands. They reached out to the local rural electric cooperative to improve Internet access in their community. Listen to present and past Community Broadband Network Initiative Team Members try their hand at campy, fun voice over work. Don’t worry: we won’t quit our day jobs! Be sure to check out the show playlist to see all the episodes of this saga.

Rural America, Broadband is Not on the Way

Rural communities need better Internet access but the federal government is throwing money at big companies like AT&T while not requiring them to even provide basic broadband service. Communities need to look locally for solutions - and many already have.

The Big Lie

We’ve all been lied to, but when we’re lied to by those we rely on, it’s the worst. Right now, we are all subject to a lie about our Internet access. That lie is rooted in the idea that the best way to move forward is to allow the free market to dictate our access to the Internet, along with the quality of services, privacy protections, and competition.

Blair Levin on Smart Policies for Smart Cities

Blair Levin delivers a riveting keynote speech at the Next Century Cities “Making Connections” event held in July 2018. He reviews the work of the FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Council (BDAC) and offers advice on developing smart policies to create smart cities. After his speech, Blair and Christopher sit down for a panel discussion and address questions from attendees.

Tennessee Fiber Optic Communities - Video on Gig Freedom

In a video calling for "Broadband Equity," the Tennessee Fiber Optic Communities have released a video explaining why communities must have their local Internet choice restored. We encourage you to Like and Follow their campaign on Facebook.

The Birth of Community Broadband

Glasgow, Kentucky, was the first community broadband network and also appears to have been the first city in the United States with citywide broadband access. This 10 minute video explores their story. Watch the video on Vimeo here.

Presentation: Economic Development and Community Broadband

On April 28, 2012, Christopher Mitchell gave a presentation as part of the Economic Development track of the Broadband Communities Conference in Dallas regarding the role of community networks. The full panel presentation is here (along with links to all the other presentations over 2 days of economic development). Christopher's presentation runs a little over 9 minutes:

Community Fiber Networks Are Faster, Cheaper Than Incumbents

We compare the broadband prices and speeds of community networks to incumbent providers, using examples from North Carolina that are representative of modern community fiber networks. Incumbent providers want to outlaw these networks even though many, including the Federal Communications Commission, recognize the clear benefits of allowing communities to decide locally whether such an investment makes sense.

Community Broadband, A Level Playing Field?

Communities pursuing their own broadband network are met with accusations from massive incumbent telephone and cable companies saying that it is not fair for local governments to compete against the private sector. This video shows that incumbent providers actually have all the advantages.

Community Broadband Networks and Preemption

Testimony before Commissioners Copps and Clyburn of the Federal Communications Commission at a hearing in Minneapolis on August 19, 2010. Christopher Mitchell comments focus on the need for the FCC is actually regulate in the public interest to ensure an open Internet and the right of communities to build their own broadband infrastructure when they choose.

PBS: Need to Know - High Fiber

5/13/2011 - Rick Karr, a correspondent with PBS' Need to Know, travels to Europe to investigate why some countries there have surpassed the US in fast, affordable, and reliable access to the Internet.

FTTH - What is it?

The video was produced the FTTH Council of Europe for a general audience on what fiber to the home means.

PdF 2011 - Lawrence Lessig: Citizens

Lessig presents at the Personal Democracy Forum 2011 using many of the findings and graphs on this website. He reviews the recent struggles with local broadband nationwide.


Christopher Mitchell presents at FiberFête on April 20, 2011 in Lafayette, Louisiana. He reviews ILSR's work and personal experiences with broadband.

Testimonial from EPB Fiber

EPB Fiber has produced several testimonials from real Chattanooga residents on their switch.

Chippewa Valley Local Network

The University of Wisconsin Extension Service looks at Wisconsin cities pooled their resources to build a high-speed broadband network. The high-speed connections create opportunities to share applications, and open up possibilities for new uses of technology.

High Speed E-government

Another video from the Building Community Capacity through Broadband project (hosted by the University of Wisconsin Extension service) takes a look at how local governments use broadband and the importance of high capacity, reliable connections that they can actually afford.

iProvo for Dummies

Jesse Harris, of the Free UTOPIA blog, gave a presentation explaining broadband network concepts and definitions without technical jargon. He also offered a history and recent events update about iProvo in a special meeting.

Debate over Muni Broadband Competing With Private Sector

An oxford-style debate hosted by the Information Technology Innovation Foundation in Washington DC. Jim Baller and Christopher Mitchell defend local authority to build community networks over the course of a two hour debate. This is an excellent policy discussion.

For more videos, check out our video archive.