Content tagged with "Optimum"

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Ruston, Louisiana Gives Up, Will Sell City-Owned Fiber Network

Ruston, Louisiana officials say they’re throwing in the towel, and will be selling a city-owned fiber network that has existed for the better part of 15 years.

City officials say they finalized the decision at a city council meeting earlier this month, though they’d already sent out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for potential bidders as early as February.

The network was first constructed back in 2010, and consists of over 136 miles of fiber connecting roughly 300 area businesses. The network doesn’t currently service residential customers, though that could change under new ownership.

The city had briefly considered expanding the network in 2018, but scrapped the idea two years later. Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker tells the Lincoln Parish Journal that numerous factors went into the city’s decision, including new broadband construction currently being funded by a historic new wave of federal broadband infrastructure subsidies.

“Six years ago we did a study and thought about getting into the private/home internet service,” Walker said. “We were moving along that track and then four years ago, when the federal government starting putting so much money into broadband across the United States — billions of dollars to the state of Louisiana — that’s when we decided as a staff it was time to exit that business because there were so many other large companies doing that.”

Ruston LA cyclists downtown

Like countless communities, Ruston sees little meaningful broadband competition. Cable giant Optimum enjoys a monopoly over broadband access across much of the city, with AT&T DSL and fiber scattered across some neighborhoods. This muted competition has resulted in spotty access, slow speeds, high prices, and substandard customer service.  

Edison, New Jersey Inches Forward On Municipal Broadband Plan

After years of planning, Edison, New Jersey officials are moving forward on a municipal fiber plan built on the back of a $2 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant. While the funding was originally announced last summer by state leaders, city officials only just passed a resolution last week accepting the grant.

Edison residents have long complained of a local broadband monopoly at the hands of Optimum, resulting in spotty access, slow speeds, and high prices. While Edison wants to break the competitive logjam, the full cost and scope of Edison’s as-yet-unfinished plan remains unclear.

Edison spent $36,750 on a feasibility study in 2022 to determine the plausibility of building a citywide fiber network. The resulting study by Matrix Design Group found that 87 percent of Edison locals would likely switch to a city-owned and operated fiber network if the option existed.

"Ending Optimum’s monopoly in Edison is a high priority," Edison Mayor Sam Joshi wrote on Instagram and Facebook shortly after the study was published, calling it "a step towards internet freedom."

After Years of Declining Service, Pikeville, Kentucky Strikes a Deal for a New Partnership

Pikeville, Kentucky (pop. 7,300) sits about 150 miles southeast of Lexington, in the extreme eastern part of the state. Today, after almost a decade of fighting with Internet Service Provider (ISP) Optimum about service so consistently poor that the city finally sued the provider, it’s working on an alternative: a partnership that will see the local government build new citywide fiber infrastructure and lease it to an operating partner.

A Tale As Old As Time

Publicly available data shows that, historically, about two-thirds of the city of Pikeville can take Internet service from Inter Mountain Cable - a regional provider with about 25,000 subscribers across Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia. Likewise, Optimum (formerly Suddenlink) offers cable service to about the same number of households. AT&T’s DSL service covers a little more than a quarter of town. Those living in the northern half of the city generally have better service options than those living in the southern half.

Pikeville Kentucky Map

The path the city of Pikeville has taken began almost 15 years ago. In 2009, the local government signed a new, 10-year franchise agreement with Suddenlink. But when Altice (originally a French telecommunications company) bought Suddenlink back in 2015 to build its portfolio here in the United States, things quickly took a turn for the worse.

Edison, New Jersey Nabs $2 Million For City-Owned Fiber Network

Edison, New Jersey is proceeding with the construction of an affordable, gigabit-capable fiber network after receiving $2 million cash infusion from state leaders. The resulting network will be built on the back of decades’ worth of local frustration with the high prices, spotty availability, and slow broadband speeds provided by regional monopolies. 

The city spent $36,750 on a feasibility study in 2022 to determine the plausibility of building a citywide fiber network. The resulting study by Matrix Design Group found that 87 percent of Edison locals would likely switch to a city-owned and operated fiber network if the option existed.

Edison’s network is in the early stages of planning, and city leaders are only just starting to field competing bids from consulting vendors who’ll then draft a more comprehensive business plan.

Edison Survey Results

In the interim, the city has received $2 million as part of the New Jersey fiscal year 2024 budget to help get the proposal off the ground.

"Access to the Internet is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” State Senator Patrick Diegnan, Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak and Assemblyman Sterley Stanley said of the funding. “We commend Mayor Sam Joshi for making high-speed municipal broadband a priority for Edison."

In a post last year made to social media, Joshi detailed the city’s longstanding frustration with regional telecom monopoly Optimum, owned by French telecom giant Altice.  

NYC Co-op Told To Pull Free Service From Affordable Housing After City’s Reversal On Open Access Fiber

Last November we noted how New York City had scrapped its longstanding plan to build a promising open access fiber network. Not only did that stark reversal leave many partner ISPs high and dry after years of planning, some local community-run ISPs now say the city is forcing them to remove existing free service to affordable housing developments.

People’s Choice Communications, a small NYC cooperative cobbled together by striking Charter Communications workers, was one of several ISPs left in a lurch by the sudden reversal by the Adams administration.

Adding insult to injury, the ISP is now being told by the city to pull existing service provided for free to marginalized communities in The Bronx.

New York City’s original master plan was poised to be a game changer when it was first introduced back in 2020. The plan not only included a pilot program designed to bring affordable broadband to 450,000 residents of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings, but a plan to spend $156 million on a pilot open access fiber network.

The proposal was to showcase the real-world benefits of the open access model, which data suggests results in significantly lower costs and higher quality service thanks to increased competition. If successful, the city would have then considered a bigger $2.1 billion plan to deploy such a network citywide, providing a template for major metropolitan areas nationwide.

New Mayor, Old Playbook

With the election of a new mayor, everything changed.