Amazon recently secured a national contract that opens the way for billions of dollars in local government spending to shift to the company, but there’s been virtually no reporting on the deal. In this new report, we examine the contract and Amazon’s push to capture local government spending, and find concerns — including that the contract leaves local governments at risk of being ripped off, and sets Amazon up to expand its monopoly power. We conclude by offering examples of local governments that are choosing to reject Amazon’s deal.… Read More
The report, Yes! In My Backyard: A Home Composting Guide for Local Governments, profiles 11 home composting programs (10 in the United States, 1 in Canada) and is a guide for local governments starting their own programs. It makes the case that home composting should be a central component of every community’s residential food waste reduction strategy. The guide is not intended as a manual on how to compost at home.… Read More
A new report released by BioCycle — with research led by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance — details the growth of residential access to food scrap collection services, both through curbside and drop-off programs. Food scrap recovery is increasingly recognized as a key to reaching high waste diversion levels, protecting the climate, and feeding the soil.… Read More
In each of our wide-ranging initiatives, we work alongside community leaders to provide the hard data, detailed policy expertise, and compelling narratives needed to support effective advocacy, organizing, and real-life projects. ILSR was busy in 2017, check out the progress we’ve made this year.… Read More
Rural communities across the United States are already building the Internet infrastructure of the future. Using a 20th century model, rural America is finding a way to tap into high-speed Internet service: electric and telephone cooperatives are bringing next-generation, Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) networks to their service territories. This policy brief provides an overview of the work that cooperatives have already done, including a map of the cooperatives’ fiber service territories. We also offer recommendations on ways to help cooperatives continue their important strides.
Download the policy brief, Cooperatives Fiberize Rural America: A Trusted Model For The Internet Era here.… Read More
The retail industry is experiencing significant upheaval, but almost all of the reporting on the issue has focused on national chains. Now, a national survey finds that shifts in retail are playing out differently for independents. While 90% of independent retailers report that Amazon is negatively affecting their businesses, they also say that their distinct strengths are helping them weather the storm better than many national chains.… Read More
Comcast is doing its best to buy elections in Seattle and Fort Collins and this new report from the Community Broadband Networks team found out why: the telecom giant stands to lose millions in customer’s service if their preferred option loses at the ballot.… Read More
A wave of consolidation has swept across the U.S. economy over the past decade, reshaping already-powerful corporations into financial and political powerhouses. The trend has taken particular hold among electric utilities, a sector where monopoly reigns virtually unchecked.
Consolidated, investor-owned utilities now have service territories that span several states and include millions of customers. They say gobbling competitors delivers operational efficiencies and cost savings. But who sees the benefits? And what are the unspoken costs?
This report explains how concentration of power in monopoly utilities delivers fewer customer benefits than alleged, and how the unmentioned costs of concentrating power in a few firms undermines protection of the public interest.… Read More
The U.S. vehicle market will undergo a massive technology disruption from electric vehicles in the coming decades. Many analysts see the potential for surging sales of these efficient vehicles to enable smart grid management, but few have explored the local impact of electric vehicles: promoting energy democracy. Electric vehicles offer a natural use for solar energy, a pathway to pump more local solar power onto the grid, and a source of resilient power when the grid goes down. Ultimately, electric vehicles are another tool to miniaturize the electricity system, providing unprecedented local control.
… Read More