Ponca City, Oklahoma Finishes Municipal Fiber Build, Says Business Is Booming

Ponca City, Oklahoma officials say they’ve completed construction of a citywide fiber broadband network both ahead of schedule and under budget. And now business is booming. The finished network is now providing affordable, uncapped, multi-gigabit fiber access to every local resident in the community or 24,100 residents of Northern Oklahoma city.

New Episode of Connect This! Show Tomorrow

Join us Wednesday, July 12th at 4pm ET for the latest episode of the Connect This! Show. Co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by regular guests Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) and Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) to talk about all the recent broadband news that's fit to print.

Harlingen, Texas Pauses Municipal Broadband Plan Citing High Costs

Officials in the South Texas town of Harlingen say they’ve put their plan to deploy a municipal broadband network on hold after projected costs ballooned well beyond original estimates. Originally, Harlingen officials had hoped to construct a $4 million fiber network to shore up broadband access to the city’s unserved and under-served populace, using a portion of the city’s $22 million share of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Garden Spot of Utah Moves to Build Bountiful Fiber Network in Face of Dark Money Campaign

Bountiful, Utah officials have settled on a plan to bring Bountiful Fiber and affordable connectivity to its residents and businesses. By unanimous vote of the city council, the issuance of $48 million in bonds was recently authorized to fund construction of what will be a city-owned open access fiber network. A dark money campaign spearheaded by the Utah Taxpayers Association (UTA), however, is threatening to derail the project.

Digital Equity LA Picket Urges CA State Senator to Pass AB 41

The coalition known as Digital Equity LA assembled to picket in front of State Sen. Steven Bradford’s Office, publicly calling for an “end to digital redlining” and for passage of Assembly Bill 41 (AB 41), also known as The Digital Equity in Video Franchising Act of 2023. If passed as is, the proposed bill – which we wrote about previously here – would establish an equal access requirement, anti-discrimination provisions, and a process for the public and local governments to provide input on the franchise agreements governing how cable Internet service providers serve their communities.

Allegan County Michigan Open Access Fiber Network Gets $30 Million Grant Infusion

Allegan County, Michigan will soon receive a $30 million state grant to finalize the deployment of a new open access, carrier-neutral fiber network. The end result will bring overdue competition – and affordable multi-gigabit fiber access – to long neglected communities by 2025. The $30 million award is part of Michigan’s $238 million Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant program, made possible by 2021’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the resulting Capital Projects Fund.

Colorado Springs Utility Fiber Deployment Moves Into Second Phase

Colorado Springs, Colorado and its city-owned utility have begun construction on the second phase of a promising open access fiber optic network that should bring affordable fiber broadband to the city of half a million residents. Construction of the network by Springs Utilities began in the first region in September 2022, shortly after the city-owned utility struck a 25-year lease agreement with Ting to be the network anchor tenant.

ECFiber in Vermont Marches Toward Completion

It was a big week for ECFiber as Vermont’s first – and oldest – Communication Union District (CUD) celebrated lighting up the last hub of its 1,500 mile-network in White River Junction. To mark the occasion of connecting the “golden patch cord” that will extend high-speed Internet service to eight more communities in the Upper Valley region, White River Junction’s VFW Hall was packed to celebrate what ECFiber officials liken to “the Golden Spike moment tying the first transcontinental railroad together.”

Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative Should Light Up First Fiber Users By August

Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative (SVEC) has begun construction on an ambitious new fiber deployment that will soon bring affordable, multi-gigabit fiber access to all of the cooperative’s existing electrical customers in rural Northern Florida. SVEC's three-phase build out is well underway, with a beta anticipated this summer and the first commercial customers connected by August. SVEC Communications Director Jon Little says the cooperative’s goal remains to deliver affordable fiber to all 20,000 of the cooperative's current electric customers by the end of 2026.

KUB Fiber On Track To Reach 55,000 Fiber Customers By Year’s End

Knoxville Utilities Board remains on track to construct one of the biggest municipal broadband deployments ever attempted, and hopes to have delivered affordable fiber access to 55,000 Knoxville households and businesses before the end of the year. Once completed, the municipal network will provide affordable fiber access to 214,000 households across KUB’s 688-square-mile service area spanning Knox, Grainger, Union, and Sevier counties.

New Video: Coalition of Community Broadband Advocates Prevail in Louisiana

Sometimes local coalitions can beat Goliath. To mark the moment of how community broadband won in East Carroll Parish, Louisiana, Delta Interfaith, Connect Humanity, and Conexon released a new short video that captures the moving story of how people-power prevailed, beat back the regional monopoly provider, and are now seeing fiber service come to a historically underserved area. While the full build-out of the new network won’t be complete until 2024, the first subscribers are expected to start getting affordable fiber service later this year.

CBN Welcomes New ACLS Fellow to Work on Advancing Digital Sovereignty in Indian Country

Say hello to our new American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellow. In September, Jessica E. Auer will join the CBN team as a postdoctoral fellow to undertake a two-year project that advances policy initiatives in support of expanding broadband access and digital sovereignty for Tribal Nations across the U.S. It’s the second time ACLS has selected ILSR as a host organization for a Leading Edge Fellowship, which embeds humanities and social science PhDs with nonprofits committed “to solve problems, build capacity, and advance justice and equity in society.”

Worries Mount Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Default Money Will Be Wasted

Concerns are mounting that over $2.8 billion in potential broadband grants doled out by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) could be wasted, further eroding the already well-criticized program’s disjointed effort to expand broadband access across rural America. These issues have not only imperiled RDOF program funding, but have thrown a wrench in the works of numerous additional government efforts to shore up broadband access, from the FCC’s long-criticized quest to accurately map U.S. broadband access, to the implementation of newer grant programs overseen by other agencies.

Let’s Get Going Broadband Bootcamps Continue To Roll

ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks (CBN) Initiative continues to host Let’s Get Going Broadband Bootcamps across the country. The next two upcoming bootcamps will be held in New Mexico. The in-person, hands-on bootcamps are aimed at helping participants understand broadband and digital equity basics, identify local needs, evaluate options, and chart a path forward.

Eagle, Idaho Poised to Build Open Access Fiber Network as Nearby Communities Forge Ahead on Similar Projects

Inspired by Ammon, Idaho’s heralded open-access fiber network, the city of Eagle, located in the southwestern part of the state and home to 32,000 residents, is now soaring ahead with building its own open-access fiber network to connect city facilities and bring quality broadband to residents and businesses. Meanwhile, the nearby cities of Mountain Home and Emmett are also moving forward with similar projects. Ammon’s open access network has inspired these networks, as well as others nationwide.

State Lawmakers Gut Wisconsin Governor’s $750 million Plan to Invest in Broadband Infrastructure

In Wisconsin, Republican state lawmakers voted earlier this month to kill Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to invest $750 million of Wisconsin tax dollars to expand high-speed Internet infrastructure across the Badger State. Republicans state lawmakers say the state should wait for Wisconsin’s forthcoming share of the $42.5 billion in federal BEAD funds instead. Meanwhile, Democratic state lawmakers say waiting for BEAD funds would unnecessarily delay the building of vital infrastructure and hurt the state’s economic prospects.

ARPA Grant Supercharges New Hampshire Electric Cooperative’s Broadband Plans

After receiving $50 million in new federal funding, the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative (NHEC) has begun a major expansion of its fiber network across large swaths of the state, providing many long-frustrated rural residents access to ultra-fast, affordable broadband for the first time ever. In October of last year, NHEC received a $50 million grant from the New Hampshire Business and Economic Affairs Department, made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).