Fiber-optic networks – the roads of the digital age By Christopher Mitchell, originally published in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, December 5, 2007 The United States, birthplace to the Internet, now lags in access to it. Countries in Asia and Europe now have faster and cheaper connections, allowing their businesses to communicate more effectively, operate on … Read More
A short time ago, to much less fanfare, Comcast decided to stop providing free telecommunications services to many police and fire stations in communities around Michigan. Earlier this summer, Comcast closed the East Lansing public access studio.
Michigan is reaping the fruits of dependence, and monopoly. To paraphrase an old truism, he who owns the network calls the shots. Comcast manages its network for its shareholders, not you. That is why the people of Michigan must insist that the communities themselves own the next generation of fiber-based information networks.
Hundreds of communities across the United States are considering municipal fiber network projects. Nearly all will have to start from scratch, spending years building the network and attracting users before it is useful. Mooresville and Davidson have a historic opportunity to invest in the future while skipping the grunt work.
Thanks to the foresight of those who negotiated Adelphia’s cable franchise, Mooresville and Davidson can purchase the existing network and upgrade it to fit community needs.… Read More
In the modern world, broadband information networks are essential infrastructure, a combination of the past’s canals, telegraph wires, interstate highways, and airports. Unfortunately, other developed countries offer faster networks at cheaper prices to their businesses and citizens. Few disagree that the United States must solve this broadband problem.
This case study shows how one city did it. No private company was willing to build the high-speed information network Burlington, Vermont, needed on the timeline it wanted. Rather than hope and wait, they’re building it themselves. After their original plan collapsed, they persevered and developed a different model, using a tax-exempt municipal capital lease arrangement with an outside investor. The City will have direct ownership within 15 years; they already have complete control.
ILSR issued a report in 2011 that updates this case study: Learning from Burlington Telecom: Some Lessons for Community Networks
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 8, 2007 Publicly owned networks are the key to universal access and healthy competition Localizing the Internet: Five Ways Public Ownership Solves the U.S. Broadband Problem This January 2007 report argues that a publicly owned information infrastructure is the key to healthy competition, universal access, and non-discriminatory rates. download the report … Read More