March 13, 2015 – The FCC has found that it has the authority to remove aspects of Tennessee and North Carolina law that limit local authority to build or expand Internet networks. While the ruling extends only to communities in Tennessee … Read More
Iowa expressly authorizes cities to build publicly owned networks. In 1999, the Iowa Legislature adopted changes to Chapter 63 of the Iowa Acts that defined legislative intent, giving local authorities the unquestionable right to invest in community owned networks. The … Read More
Open standards and open source are essential to local self-reliance. Citizens and communities should have the right to modify the technology they use in order to improve it and solve problems. Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation, has compared software to a recipe. When cooking, you do not need permission to alter the pancake recipe to your taste. When you come across a problem in software that you are using, you should have the right to fix it.… Read More
Ammon, Idaho, is a community of approximately 15,000 outside Idaho Falls in eastern Idaho. Ammon has struggled to boost economic development in part because providers in Ammon offer slower, more expensive services than are available in Idaho Falls. For years, Ammon has sought to expand access to next generation networks, including an application to the broadband stimulus program in 2010.… Read More
Chelan is in a rural region of Washington state and was a pioneer in rural fiber networks, investing high-speed connections for citizens and businesses long before private companies saw any reason to do so. They have adopted an interesting line-extension policy that may lower the cost of the network to the PUD and allow households to take greater responsibility for connecting.
In short, the new policy is that the PUD will connect subscribers if the cost of doing so is less than $1500 (or average cost for a group of subscribers). If the cost exceeds $1500 per subscriber, the subscribers will have to pay the difference or make alternate arrangements to lower the cost. This alternate arrangement is where we think the rule is interesting. A homeowner, or group of homeowners that want to trench their own property and backfill can lower the costs, benefiting everyone.
States that want to spur broadband in their state would do well to look at the Virginia Resources Authority. Created in 1984, the VRA helps municipalities and other public entities to secure funding for important infrastructure projects. In 25 years, the VRA has helped create more than $3.1 billion in communities around the state.
In 2009, Joe May of the House of Delegates led an effort to improve broadband access in communities across the state with HB 2665 – creating the Broadband Infrastructure Loan Fund, a revolving loan program modeled on the Virginia Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund.
On May 21, 2009, Vancouver passed an important resolution to encourage technological openness in the City. The city is committing to making more data available, which will encourage citizen oversight and understanding of what the city government is doing.
The city is committing to open/accessible data, open standards, and open source software (not by mandating it, but by mandating its consideration when replacing or acquiring new systems).
Building the core network (a network that will first serve the public needs of the city, schools, state, and Ramsey county but could later be the backbone of a network serving others in the city) correctly the first time offers the freedom later to expand at a reasonable cost, if the city chooses. This is the smart decision because it does not commit the city to any further action but frees it consider what is best at a future date. Should it later be expanded, the core will be ready; if it is never expanded, the city will still benefit from a more reliable and secure network than would be built if only looking to solve current needs.… Read More
Prior to June 2007, a Vermont town that wanted to create a community broadband network would have to amend the town charter and get it approved by the Vermont Legislature to gain the necessary authority to do so. Public Act 79 of 2007 changed that, granting broad authority to communities to create their own networks.
The national telecommunications companies like Comcast and Verizon had largely ignored Vermont, like other upper New England states. These companies invested little in the low density communities – preferring to invest where they could maximize profits. Realizing the future required fast broadband networks, the Vermont Legislature and Governor Douglas partnered, forming an overwhelming majority to pass legislature to encourage broadband investment.… Read More