Building for Digital Equity Event Encore

Today’s Building for Digital Equity (#B4DE) webinar – "Building Connected Communities: Sustaining the Momentum" – was packed with practical information and inspiration on how local communities are pushing the digital equity movement forward.

Lancaster PA Revives Public Private Partnership Plans With Shentel’s Glo Fiber

Lancaster, Pennsylvania has revitalized the city’s long percolating plan for a municipal broadband network, this time via a public-private partnership (PPP) with Shenandoah Telecommunications Company (Shentel). The city’s quest for more affordable, reliable broadband is a quest that’s taken the better part of a decade to finally come to fruition.

Next B4DE Event This Tuesday: Building Connected Communities, Sustaining Momentum

Lots happening for Digital Inclusion Week 2023, which kicks off this Monday. One free online event that will be of particular interest for digital equity advocates across the nation is the next installment of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and ILSR’s Building for Digital Equity (#B4DE) webinar. The popular virtual gathering will be held this Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 12 noon to 1:15 pm ET and will focus on the DIW-inspired theme: “Building Connected Communities: Sustaining Momentum.”

Murfreesboro, TN Soon To Be Awash In Affordable Fiber Thanks To Local Cooperative, Google Fiber

Murfreesboro, Tennessee suddenly finds itself awash with looming broadband competitors thanks to the city’s booming growth. In less than a month, United Communications – owned by not-for-profit electric cooperative Middle Tennessee Electric (MTE) – and Google Fiber have unveiled major plans to expand affordable gigabit fiber within city limits. MTE-owned United Communications says it has some big plans for the city of 157,000, starting with broadband upgrades for the utilities’ 77,000 existing electricity customers.

Colorado and Texas Municipal Broadband Networks Nab National Awards

The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) recently announced that its Community Broadband Projects of the Year Awards for 2023 will go to the Connexion network in Fort Collins, Colorado and in Pharr, Texas. Fort Collins is also a part of a municipal-owned communications partnership known as Northern Colorado Community Fiber, which received the Fiber Broadband Association Star Award for going “above and beyond what is expected in the advancement of Fiber-to-the-Home.”

State BEAD Plans and “Chilling Effect” of Municipal Broadband Restrictions

One major barrier to providing universal access to fast, reliable and affordable Internet service–long recognized by ILSR, telecom experts, and a growing number of ordinary citizens–are the monopoly-friendly preemption laws that either outright ban or erect insurmountable barriers to municipal broadband. Here’s a look at what three of the 17 states with preemption laws are saying about those barriers in their BEAD Five Year Action Plans.

A Nutrition Label for Broadband Service: Where Are We Now?

In November of 2022, the FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking detailing how the broadband nutrition label will be implemented. Industry and consumer advocates alike submitted nearly 250 filings during the public comment period. The FCC recently responded to three petitions it received from coalitions pushing back on the rules outlined in the proposed rulemaking.

Expert Coalition Says Existing BEAD Rules Harm Small ISPs, Municipalities

A massive coalition of more than 300 broadband policy experts and organizations have written a letter to the U.S. government, warning that smaller broadband providers, nonprofits, and municipalities will be elbowed out of an historic $42.45 billion broadband grant program without some notable changes to program rules. BEAD program rules currently require grant recipients to obtain a letter of credit (LOC) from a bank, collateralized by cash or cash-equivalent. According to the coalition’s letter to lawmakers, such requirements present unnecessary obstacles for smaller ISPs and cash-strapped municipalities

Berthoud, Colorado Eyes Community Broadband Options

Berthoud is the latest Colorado community to explore community broadband alternatives to expand public access to affordable fiber. Currently in the process of crafting a request for quote (RFQ), the city says it hopes to make its final determination by November and have a preliminary plan in place by the end of the year.

Initial BEAD Proposals and Five Year Action Plans Come Into Focus

The key for states to unlock their portion of the $42.5 billion in federal BEAD funds is the submission and approval of their Five Year Action Plans and Final Proposal. Today, we will look at two states (Maine and Louisiana) and follow up with the others as we are getting a clearer picture of how each state intends to put this historic infusion of federal funds to use.

Nushagak Cooperative Driving Fiber To Rural Alaskan Communities For The First Time

Launched in 1975, the member-owned Nushagak Electric & Telephone Cooperative, based in Dillingham, Alaska, offers locals broadband access through microwave towers. But the co-op, which also offers a electric, telephone, and cable TV service, says it’s on the cusp of new fiber deployments that should finally bring next-generation speeds to a chunk of the co-op’s members.

Nation’s First Digital Inclusion Leadership Certificate Program Announced

Arizona State University (ASU) and the Marconi Society announce the creation of a first-of-its-kind Digital Inclusion Leadership Certificate program that aims to provide “a foundational understanding of the technology, policy and digital inclusion essentials needed to create true digital equity.” The Digital Inclusion Leadership Certificate is the nation’s first professional certificate in the field as the program is geared to educate individuals and teams at all levels of government, as well as nonprofits and anchor institutions.

Timnath, Colorado and Loveland Team Up to Further Expand Celebrated Municipal Fiber Network

Officials in Loveland and Timnath, Colorado recently announced the ratification of an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) that greenlight’s a plan to bring ubiquitous, affordable high-speed Internet access to yet another community in the Centennial State, as an increasing number of Colorado cities and towns embrace municipal broadband after years of frustration with the inadequate, high-priced service from the region’s monopoly incumbents.

Indigenous Connectivity Summit 2023 Calls to Action

Each year since its creation in 2017, the Indigenous Connectivity Summit (ICS) has convened those working on the frontlines of Tribal connectivity. This year the Summit was held in Anchorage, Alaska, where participants agreed on a series of calls-to-action for governments and other entities with an eye on promoting digital equity in Indigenous communities.

Congress Could Soon Decide Fate And Future Of Affordable Connectivity Program

The farm bill may soon play a key role in maintaining the $14 billion Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) currently overseen by the FCC. However, the farm bill doesn’t represent the only shot of extending and funding the ACP. A bipartisan coalition of 45 lawmakers are simultaneously pushing for the ACP to be funded by other appropriation measures currently winding their way through the halls of Congress. Both the appropriations and farm bills face a looming September 30 deadline Congress seems unlikely to meet.

Decorah, Iowa Inches Closer To City-Owned Fiber Build With Plan To Reach Finish Line

Decorah, Iowa is moving forward on a long-percolating plan to expand the city’s core fiber ring to provide affordable broadband access to long-neglected residents and businesses. While the project has been discussed for years, local officials tell ISLR the project gained renewed momentum during peak COVID, and is creeping closer to launch. While contracts are still being finalized, the city hopes to spend somewhere around $12 to $15 million to deliver fiber to all 3,000 potential subscriber locations.