Media Outlets Cover ILSR’s Community Networks Map Expansion

Date: 7 Mar 2018 | posted in: Media Coverage | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In the News:

January 2018

Media Outlet: Multiple Outlets

In January of 2018, our Community Broadband Networks initiative team updated our vital Community Networks Map and garnered vast media attention. Here’s the information from our map:

This map tracks a variety of ways in which local governments have invested in wired telecommunications networks as well as state laws that discourage such approaches.

Our map includes more than 750 communities (updated January, 2018):

  • 55 municipal networks serving 108 communities with a publicly owned FTTH citywide network.
  • 76 communities with a publicly owned cable network reaching most or all of the community.
  • 197 communities with some publicly owned fiber service available to parts of the community (often a business district).
  • More than 120 communities with publicly owned dark fiber available
  • More than 130 communities in 27 states with a publicly owned network offering at least 1 gigabit services.
  • 258 communities served by rural electric cooperatives. 10 communities served by one broadband cooperative. (Communities served by telephone cooperatives will soon be on the map as well).

Here are a few of the analyses from the various media outlets. From Motherboard Vice‘s Karl Bode:

More communities than ever are embracing building their own broadband networks as an alternative to the Comcast status quo.

According to a freshly updated map of community-owned networks, more than 750 communities across the United States have embraced operating their own broadband network, are served by local rural electric cooperatives, or have made at least some portion of a local fiber network publicly available. The map was created by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a nonprofit that advocates for local economies.

These networks have sprung up across the nation as a direct reflection of the country’s growing frustration with sub-par broadband speeds, high prices, and poor customer service. They’ve also emerged despite the fact that ISP lobbyists have convinced more than 20 states to pass protectionist laws hampering local efforts to build such regional networks.

From Telecompetitor‘s Carl Weinschenk:

This is the first time that the group has added services by electric cooperatives. Previously, only municipal networks were tracked. “What this update shows is that, despite federal hostility to community network solutions, more communities are investing than ever,” said Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in a press release. “Municipal and cooperative networks were essential in driving electrification.”

In a nightly news story video from ABC 10 – Sacramento‘s Irene Cruz:

The growing interest in building local networks in Truckee and many other communities, according to a Harvard study, is due to lower prices, transparency, and less confusion compared to big providers like Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T.

In addition, recent opposition to net neutrality and broadband privacy protections has only made big providers less appealing.

Even a policy brief from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance suggests Comcast has a threat looming over the horizon.

“A real choice in broadband services could reduce Comcast’s revenues by millions of dollars per month,” according to the policy.

Even so, some of these local networks have faced lawsuits from private companies and more than 20 states have passed laws to restrict local efforts.

As the struggles continue with these local networks, the question remains whether they will be the next wave of the future.

In the Internet curation and content site, Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow:

Municipal networks are cheaper and faster than the ones that cable and telephone duopolists build after being given exclusive franchises to serve cities, which is why the FCC had to issue an order banning cities to stop building them — in the absence of such an order, it seems likely that most of America would end up using municipal internet connections (unlike today, when 100,000,000 Americans are served by a single ISP).

Thus it should come as no surprise that 750+ US communities have already built their own municipal internet networks, often in the teeth of vicious, multimillion-dollar scare campaigns from ISPs, featuring such laughable lies as “this means state-funded pornography production.”

And, finally, by DSL Reports’ Karl Bode:

The trend of towns and cities building their own broadband networks only continues to grow. According to an updated map by the Institute for Local-Self Reliance, more than 750 towns and cities in the United States now have some variety of community-owned broadband network. Towns and cities increasingly pursue the option after what’s often more than a decade of frustration at the high price, slow speed, and historically bad customers service by most large, incumbent ISPs.

And it’s a trend that’s only accelerating as ISPs successfully lobby to strip away most state and federal oversight of the broken market.

According to the group’s latest data, there’s now 55 municipal networks serving 108 communities nationwide, and another 76 communities with a publicly owned cable network reaching most or all of the community. More than 197 communities no provide publicly owned fiber service to at least parts of the community (quite often business districts or municipal buildings), and 258 communities served by rural electric cooperatives.

Explore our Community Networks Map for yourself and see how communities near you are investing in Internet infrastructure.

Read the stories at:

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Nick Stumo-Langer

Nick Stumo-Langer was Communications Manager at ILSR working for all five initiatives. He ran ILSR's Facebook and Twitter profiles and builds relationships with reporters. He is an alumnus of St. Olaf College and animated by the concerns of monopoly power across our economy.