Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
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“I think [the LMCC executive committee] realized that if a municipal fiber network is ever going to be built, the cities need a considerable amount of time spent in educating and understanding the significance of building such a system,” said a memo from Sally Koenecke, LMCC executive director. The $81 million proposal sought to provide 25,000 households in communities from the 17 member cities with Internet, phone and cable fiber optic services.I have occasionally offered technical advice to this ambitious project and have watched as Mediacom and other incumbent providers spread rumors and lies to disrupt it. These companies will stop at nothing to preserve the limited competition they rely upon to maintain their market power.
“I’m personally against spending any money on the fiber optic project,” said Orono mayor Lili McMillan. “What I want to do is send a message. I don’t feel government should be in this.”To be clear, if Lili McMillan doesn't want the government to build a next-generation network, they will have to continue relying on Mediacom cable and slow, unreliable DSL services. Their choice. Their incumbents do not have the capacity or interest to build a next-generation network themselves but they do have the capacity and interest to prevent any other party from doing so. As Ann Treacy notes at Blandin on Broadband, this is not necessarily the end of the line and may actually serve to increase the desire of people in those communities to take action:
Unfortunately I think that having interest if the price is low enough might not be enough to motivate a community through the perils of community supported fiber. But I always remember the folks in Monticello saying that each set back in winning over the residents just made them stronger in the end.
Before communities were building broadband networks, many had local radio stations. Now most radio stations are owned by massive companies far from the community -- but this is a key moment for expanding local, low-power radio. Watch this video to learn more and how you can help.
An excellent satirical look at those who believe government is the root of all problems. Modern society has many problems that cannot be solved by individuals acting autonomously -- we need to work together to solve them. "Government" is one of the key entities we use to work together to solve problems.
Rick Karr has produced a "can't miss" 15 minute video that shows what happens when telecommunications is treated more like infrastructure and less like a for-profit morass controlled by massive companies.
We can have universal, fast, affordable, and reliable access to the Internet but we choose instead to let companies like AT&T and Comcast dominate telecommunications to the detriment of our economy, innovation, education, and health care. It is a choice -- and one we desperately need to revisit.This video is no longer available.
Some still question whether we need FTTH networks, suggesting that modest copper upgrades will be fine for most over the next 5-10 years. When it comes to essential infrastructure, the idea that we should "cut costs" by operating right on the margin usually ends poorly -- and costs more, particularly in lost opportunities.
But to get a taste of what is possible on next-generation networks, check out a short video synopsis (the first video) of an entire conference discussing this subject.
The following videos are much more in-depth (and in chronological order), following the theme of "Public Services in a Gigabit World."
I have long been a fan of Larry Lessig's work, so I was proud to see him use our work as the foundation for his presentation at the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum. He talks about the fundamental right of communities to build their own networks as well as Time Warner Cable's successful purchase of competition-limiting legislation in North Carolina.