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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Oct 16, 2017

Anti-Municipal Broadband Bill In Michigan Pulls No Punches

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/anti-municipal-broadband-bill-in-michigan-pulls-no-punches/

Torpedo legislation aimed at municipal network initiatives don’t usually appear in October, but Michigan’s year-round legislature is making 2017 atypical. Last week, Freshman Representative Michele Hoitenga from the rural village of Manton in Wexford County introduced a bill banning investment in municipal networks.

HB 5099 is short; it decrees that local communities cannot use federal, state, or their own funds to invest in even the slowest Internet infrastructure, if they choose to do it themselves:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

SEC. 13B. (1) EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (2), A LOCAL UNIT SHALL NOT USE ANY FEDERAL, STATE, OR LOCAL FUNDS OR LOANS TO PAY FOR THE COST OF PROVIDING QUALIFIED INTERNET SERVICE. (2) A LOCAL UNIT MAY ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH 1 OR MORE PRIVATE PARTIES TO PROVIDE QUALIFIED INTERNET SERVICE. (3) AS USED IN THIS SECTION, “QUALIFIED INTERNET SERVICE” MEANS HIGH-SPEED INTERNET SERVICE AT A SPEED OF AT LEAST 10 MBPS UPSTREAM AND 1 MBPS DOWNSTREAM.

The exception allows local communities to engage in public-private partnerships, but the bill’s ambiguous language is likely to discourage local communities from pursuing such partnerships. As we’ve seen from partnerships that have successfully brought better connectivity to towns such as Westminster, Maryland, communities often took the initiative to invest in the infrastructure prior to establishing a partnership. Typically, the infrastructure attracts a private sector partner. If a community in Michigan wants to pursue a partnership that suits the exception of HB 5099, they will first have to grapple with the chicken and the egg dilemma.

Rather than put themselves at risk of running afoul of the law, prudent community leaders would probably choose to avoid pursuing any publicly owned infrastructure initiatives.

 

Munis Gaining Ground In Michigan

seal-michigan.pngMichigan already has a significant state barrier in place; municipalities that wish to improve connectivity must first appeal to the private sector and can only invest in a network if they receive fewer than three qualifying bids. If a local community then goes on to build a publicly owned network, they must comply with the terms of the RFP, even though terms for a private sector vendor may not be ideal for a public entity.

Nevertheless, several communities in Michigan have dealt with the restrictions in recent years as a way to ameliorate poor connectivity. They’ve come to realize that their local economies and the livelihood of their towns depend on improving Internet access for businesses, institutions, and residents.

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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Christopher Barich | No Comments | Updated on Oct 12, 2017

Mount Washington, Massachusetts, Set To Debut New FTTH Network

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/mount-washington-massachusetts-set-to-debut-new-ftth-network/

Mount Washington, Massachusetts, is set to light up its new Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network this month. By “building our own Fiber-to-the-Home broadband network, we are taking an important step in securing our community’s long-term vitality and sustainability,” says Selectboard Member Gail Garrett. Mount Washington Recap Mount Washington is nestled within the forested Taconic Mountains area located in… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Oct 9, 2017

Couldn’t Make It To Ammon, Idaho? Christopher Mitchell’s Presentation Featured in Videos

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/couldnt-make-it-to-ammon-idaho-christopher-mitchells-presentation-featured-in-videos/

You may not have been able to get to Ammon, Idaho, to attend the official lighting ceremony of the community’s open access fiber network. Perhaps you weren’t able to watch the stream to the event either; life is demanding and sometimes we just can’t fit everything into our day. But you can still watch the event at… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Christopher Barich | No Comments | Updated on Oct 10, 2017

Franklin County Infrastructure Bank to Invest in Grove City, Ohio’s Fiber Network

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/franklin-county-infrastructure-bank-to-invest-in-grove-city-ohios-fiber-network/

On August 1, 2017, the Franklin County Infrastructure Bank awarded Grove City, Ohio a $2 million loan to support their construction of a municipal fiber optic network. The Grove City Plan According to the city’s Request for Proposal (RFP), the city is focused on first establishing an institutional network (I-Net) and plan to expand it to serve local businesses over… Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Oct 6, 2017

Fiber for Key Industrial Areas Coming to Somerset County, Pennsylvania

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/fiber-for-key-industrial-areas-coming-to-somerset-county-pennsylvania/

Over the past several decades, the population of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, has incrementally jumped up and down, but today’s population is the same as it was in 1960. In order to boost economic development and encourage growth with more jobs, community leaders are deploying fiber for better connectivity in several industrial areas. Financial Help For Fiber Connectivity… Continue reading