Fourteen years ago, the original MuniNetworks.org went live. With support from the Ford Foundation, it came into being to tell the stories of all of the communities around the country that were taking back their telecommunications future from the monopoly providers. I hoped it would be two things: a clearinghouse of news and local-government success stories, and a lasting, living archive of the movement to return the ideology of self-reliance to Internet infrastructure. We launch this new site and begin the new year full of hope. We want to thank long-time readers and new arrivals alike, as we start a new phase of life. Read on to see what stays the same and what's new.
The Digital Equity LA Summit last week focused on the challenges ahead. Front and center: urging state officials to fix the broadband priority maps the state will use to target where to invest $2 billion in state broadband grant funds
AARP has announced it is accepting applications for its seventh annual Community Challenge grant program, a funding source for nonprofit organizations and governmental entities to apply for “quick-action” projects that make communities more livable and have the potential to seed long-term change.
In an announcement last week, Alexandria, Minnesota's (pop. 15,000) electric and water utility (ALP Utilities) announced it would be selling its business-facing fiber network to Arvig, a 40-percent employee-owned Internet Service Provider (ISP) that has 54,000 subscribers across urban and rural Minnesota.
Dryden, New York, population 14,500, has formally launched the town’s municipal broadband network, becoming the first municipality in the state to provide residents with direct access to affordable, publicly owned fiber.
On the most recent episode of the Connect This! Show, Geoff joins to share what happened when he moved to a house and discovered that it was in the Bermuda Triangle of broadband service, and what he's done to try and fix it.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) as a host organization for a Leading Edge Fellowship for the second time. The application window has opened for recent PhDs in the humanities to apply for a two-year, full-time fellowship to be a Tribal Broadband Policy Analyst. The fellow will continue and contribute to foundational work by ILSR on Internet access in Indian Country while gaining experience in the regular portfolio of research and policy activities by the Community Broadband Networks initiative at ILSR.
LA County is accelerating its plan to deliver affordable broadband access to the city’s unserved and underserved, with an eye toward building one of the biggest municipal broadband networks in the nation. But the county is first taking baby steps, recently announcing target communities prioritized in a pilot program aimed at bridging the digital divide.
What is going wrong with the distribution of the $42.5 billion to build new, modern Internet access networks, the mapping process, and continued failure of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to show competence in the broadband arena? And how can these important problems be fixed as every jurisdiction from Puerto Rico to Hawaii feels overwhelmed by the challenge?
More than 121 Colorado cities and towns have now opted out of SB152, a 17-year old state law backed by telecom monopolies greatly restricting the construction and funding of community broadband alternatives. And the trend shows no sign of slowing down.
From the miraculous benefits of WiMax to the hype surrounding 5G, U.S. wireless companies have long promised near-Utopian levels of technological revolution. Yet time after time these promises have fallen short, reminding a telecom sector all-too-familiar with hype that fiber optics remains, for now, the backbone of bridging the digital divide.
Kicking off the new year, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s office announced $234 million of the state’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF) will be used to deploy new high-speed Internet infrastructure in the Peach State, courtesy of the American Rescue Plan Act.
While many of us were in the midst of celebrating the holiday season, a number of significant broadband developments were being unwrapped in the nation’s capital. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that all 50 states and territories have received critical broadband infrastructure planning funds from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA); the opportunity to make sure you're represented on the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) national broadband maps is closing in a week; and the FCC is kicking off a major initiative to combat digital discrimination which will have far-reaching consequences for the lowest-income households that only have access to low-speed or high-cost connections.
As the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is set to unleash an unprecedented amount of federal funds to expand high-speed Internet access as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s “Internet for All” initiative, all 50 states and U.S. territories have now received their initial planning funds.
When it comes to affordable broadband, Vermont has always been a trailblazer. From early adoption of municipal broadband and cooperatives to more recent experimentation with CUD (Communications Union District) fiber deployments, the state’s efforts are inspiring communities nationwide looking for new, creative solutions for the stubborn digital divide.
Whether it is UTOPIA Fiber or the growing number of cities establishing open access fiber network agreements with Strata Networks, Utah continues to be on the cutting edge of developing creative, highly-localized alternatives to entrenched regional monopolies, the first step in genuinely bridging the nation’s stubborn digital divide.