News

‘Scrappy’ Island Munis Lead Charge For Affordable Broadband In Maine

Thanks to tenacious island communities and forward-thinking state leadership, a growing roster of community-owned broadband networks are leading the charge toward affordable access the state of Maine. Now local Maine communities are taking matters into their own hands, beginning with long-neglected island residents no stranger to unique logistical challenges.

Martinsville, Virginia To Finally Take Full Advantage Of Decades-Old Muni Fiber Network

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 Strikes Right Of Way Agreement With Google Fiber

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.

Documentary: The Municipal Broadband Wave and Monopoly Response

In January, we released our new census of municipal networks in the United States for 2024, and the significant growth that we've seen over the last two years as more and more cities commit to building Internet infrastructure to add new tools for their local government, incentivize new economic development, and improve connectivity for households. The trend has not gone unnoticed by the monopoly players and their allies, and a new short documentary by Light Reading does a great job of outlining the stakes for local governments, residents stuck on poor connections, and the incumbents as the wave of municipal networks grows.

Save The Date: #B4DE Life After ACP

The first Building For Digital Equity (B4DE) livestream event of the year is now set for March 20. The popular (and free) virtual gathering will focus on the imminent demise of the Affordable Connectivity Program and will be designed to help digital inclusion advocates set the table for life beyond ACP and how communities can prepare and move forward.

Eagle, Idaho To Connect First Residents To City’s Open Access Fiber Network

Eagle, Idaho is preparing to connect the first of the city’s 32,000 residents to a new, municipally-owned open access fiber network. The project, which the city says will take between five to 10 years to complete, is being heavily funded by federal grants, and aims to meaningfully boost broadband competition – and affordable access – citywide.

Municipal Broadband in Colorado Big Winners In Latest Wave Of State Grants

Colorado has long been home to some of the most innovative municipal broadband projects in the country. It’s now being buoyed by a massive new wave of state grants that should further expand affordable broadband to long-neglected parts of the state. Larimer County in particular – home of some of the most disruptive municipal broadband operations in the country – got a major infusion of new funding for several community-owned providers working to bridge the digital divide.

ECFiber S&P Bond Rating Shines Light on How Municipal Broadband Builds Can Save On Borrowing Costs

Shining a light on bond-backed municipal broadband projects is the recent announcement that ECFiber, Vermont's first Communications Union District (CUD), obtained a BB rating from Standard & Poor Global, the nation’s preeminent credit rating agency. In what ECFiber officials describe as "a historic moment,” the bond rating will allow ECFiber to pay lower borrowing costs to complete a network expansion project now underway.

Boulder, Colorado Issues New RFP For Citywide Fiber Build

Boulder, Colorado officials have issued a new request for proposal (RFP) seeking partners for their ongoing quest to deliver affordable fiber to the city of 104,000. The city is offering potential partners a long-term lease of city-owned dark-fiber backbone infrastructure and a right of way agreement for the construction and operation of a network delivering gig speed or more to all Boulder homes and businesses.

NEK Broadband Expands Access To Affordable Fiber In Rural Vermont

NEK Broadband continues to bring affordable fiber access to the long-neglected corners of the Green Mountain State. According to the latest update by NEK Broadband, a recently completed rollout has delivered affordable fiber access to 700 new addresses across multiple rural Vermont communities. With this latest expansion, NEK Broadband now provides fiber access to 2,100 predominantly rural Vermont residents in total, many of which only received broadband for the first time last year.

Windstream and Colquitt Electric Cooperative Partner On $33 Million Georgia Fiber Deployment

Windstream Communications and local nonprofit electrical cooperative Colquitt Electric Membership Corp are partnering on a $32.5 million fiber deployment that will bring fiber optic broadband to 17,000 homes and businesses in Colquitt County, Georgia. Once completed sometime next year, the partnership should help deliver last-mile fiber access to roughly 70% of Colquitt County residents, many of which either have no current broadband access, or have long been stuck on sluggish, expensive, and dated digital subscriber line (DSL).

Louisiana and Virginia Maps Give Window Into First BEAD State Challenge Processes

In the quest to unlock billions of dollars in broadband infrastructure money, Louisiana and Virginia have outpaced all other states in the speed with which they are dispatching the BEAD program’s requirements. Louisiana was the first to complete the challenge process and is still the only state to have received approval for Volume 2 of its initial proposal. Virginia, meanwhile, has completed their challenge process but now appears locked in a battle with the NTIA over the low-cost plan parameters they intend to set. How their challenge maps are built and displayed offer lessons for BEAD moving forward.

New York Launches Municipal Infrastructure Program

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces a $228 million infusion of federal funds the Empire State will earmark for its recently established Municipal Infrastructure Program. Created as part of New York’s billion dollar ConnectALL Initiative to expand high-speed Internet access to every unserved and underserved household in the state, the MIP is specifically designed to support municipal broadband projects.

Los Alamos County, New Mexico Issues RFP For Community Fiber Network

Los Alamos County, New Mexico joins the growing list of municipalities looking to explore a community-owned broadband network in a bid to improve resident access to fast, affordable, next-generation fiber. An updated RFP was issued in December giving potential partners until January 12 to respond.

New Municipal Broadband Networks Skyrocket in Post-Pandemic America As Alternative To Private Monopoly Model

As the new year begins, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) announced today its latest tally of municipal broadband networks which shows a dramatic surge in the number of communities building publicly-owned, locally controlled high-speed Internet infrastructure over the last three years. Since January 1, 2021, at least 47 new municipal networks have come online with dozens of other projects still in the planning or pre-construction phase, which includes the possibility of building 40 new municipal networks in California alone.

Waterloo Fiber Launches Trial Ahead Of February Commercial Launch

Waterloo, Iowa’s municipal broadband project has taken a major step forward after nearly two decades of planning. Waterloo Fiber officials just launched their first limited fiber trial, will connect their first commercial customers in February, and are on target to deploy affordable fiber at speeds up to 10 gigabit per second (Gbps) to every last city resident by 2026. Construction of the network began last summer at a groundbreaking ceremony hosted by Waterloo Mayor Quentin Hart. Last month the city connected the first of four participants in a limited pilot project.

FCC and Broadband Providers Prepare for ACP Wind Down

Over 22 Americans now enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are weeks away from being officially notified of its pending termination as ACP funds are on track to be depleted by the end of April. Given the increasingly likely chance Congress will not act before the fund runs out of money, the Federal Communications Commission is freezing enrollment as Internet service providers who have participated in the program since its inception two years ago are turning their focus to how to wind down the benefit.