ILSR’s Research Serves as Backbone For White House Community Broadband Action

Date: 20 Jan 2015 | posted in: MuniNetworks, Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail



Minnesota Organization’s Research Serves as Backbone For White House Community Broadband Action was instrumental in providing information, context and support to the administration ahead of their community broadband announcement this week.


Minneapolis, MN – The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a Minnesota-based non-profit organization, has a lot to be proud of today as President Obama makes his State of the Union address.

The organization was consulted for the White House’s executive report, Community-Based Broadband Solutions: The Benefits of Competition and Choice for Community Development and Highspeed Internet Access.

ILSR’s Christopher Mitchell was invited to Cedar Falls, Iowa by the White House in order to hear the president make the announcement. Mitchell is also the policy director of Next Century Cities, which the President acknowledged in his speech when he announced the proposal last Wednesday.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) ( is considered the national expert on community broadband networks. White House officials contacted Mitchell to learn more about how the administration could help improve Internet access and promote economic opportunities for Americans.

“The efforts of so many people to legitimize community networks are now paying off,” says Community Broadband Networks Director Chris Mitchell. “Hundreds of cities have realized that they are better served by investing in themselves rather than waiting for the cable monopoly to improve its service. Everyone now recognizes that local governments can play an important role in ensuring we all have great Internet access.”

Community networks are crucial to job creation and economic development by allowing communities to offer competitive Internet options. They connect health care facilities with 21st century life-saving technology and they are instrumental in helping students attain the education necessary for the modern economy.

ILSR’s regularly updates an interactive map tracking more than 450 communities that have already invested in publicly-owned telecommunications networks. Municipal networks are offering gigabit services in part or all of 82 cities in 17 states.



Frustrated with inadequate, over priced, or unreliable networks from existing providers, hundreds of communities have decided to build their own networks, sometimes in partnership with local companies. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is tracking these efforts.

  • 19 states have decided to limit community authority to build their own networks, a veritable gift to telephone and cable monopolies.
  • At least 89 communities in the US have a citywide fiber-to-the-home network owned by local government
  • More than 180 communities have invested in publicly owned fiber optic connections to part of town, including businesses and/or residents
  • 76 communities have citywide cable networks, often built before 2000
  • At least 113 communities make dark fiber available. Most of the cities included in this map also make dark fiber available, but this count is just those that only do dark fiber. Dark fiber is most often used by other ISPs, large businesses, or high tech firms.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) is a 40-year-old national nonprofit research and educational organization. ILSR’s mission is to provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support strong, community rooted, environmentally sound and equitable local economies.

Press Contact: Niketa Kumar,