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Media Roundup: Broadband Around the Nation – Week of August 15, 2014

| Written by Rebecca Toews | No Comments | Updated on Aug 18, 2014 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/media-roundup-broadband-around-the-nation-week-of-august-15-2014/

This week in Community Broadband coverage, Eldo Telecom is helping debunk some fiber fallacies. Blogger Fred Pilot responds to a typical Comcast claim that government should not compete with private sector telecommunications providers, saying the argument is economically false:

“When the public sector steps in to build and/or finance telecommunications infrastructure, it does so because this market environment combined with the previously mentioned business model limitations of investor-owned telephone and cable companies produces market failure on the sell side. That failure has left millions of Americans unable to order modern Internet landline-delivered services at their homes and small businesses.”

And, as the debate heats up about whether cities can restore local authority to build networks, cities, towns and counties around the nation took action to expand or develop community broadband networks. 

Many media outlets, including Syracuse.com reported Mayor Stephanie Miner’s frustration with a lack of broadband options. Miner announced this week that a publicly owned network may be in the city’s future. Though many questions are ahead for Syracuse, including how it would be run and who would pay for it, the mayor agreed that high speed internet should be a public service: 

“Almost as important as trash pick-up and water… [it is] the modern day equivalent of infrastructure… It’s clear that broadband is going to be a foundation of our new economy.”

And, if Kanabec County, Minnesota officials have their way, they could expand broadband in unserved areas with a partnership and revenue bonds. The Kanabec Broadband Initiative asked county officials this week to consider selling revenue bonds to expand its high speed Internet. Marc Johnson, chair of the Kanabec Broadband Initiative:

“The effort would be similar to how rural electric and rural telephone initiatives got started. Bonds would be repaid over time from broadband sales in much the same way as the county has backed revenue bonds for the FirstLight Health System, which are repaid from hospital and clinic revenues.

Rockport, Maine

Rockport, Maine is on its way to helping the state shrug off its dismal ranking of 49th in the nation for Internet access and quality. Maine Public Broadcasting and other news organizations report that Rockport, Maine joined the growing list of Gig Cities to light up its fiber for the city. A local ISP – Great Works Internet or GWI – was excited about the launch. The Portland Press-Herald also editorialized its support for municipal broadband.

Senator Angus King was on hand for the official launch of the network:

“Cable TV is something you can take or leave. You can watch it or not. Internet service, to me, is a different animal. It’s something you can’t live without,” King said. “And to me that’s what justifies giving it a different kind of treatment.”

And finally, Cleveland’s got Lebron back, they will soon have Kevin Love, and maybe– just maybe, it will also have access to some of the fastest Internet speeds in the nation?

Kyle Wiggers of the CleveScene wrote this commentary favoring munis. He writes about the need for speed in Northeast Ohio: 

“If health care improves in part because of fiber, how long are we going to wait? If a school can begin to leverage next-generation internet in interesting ways, how long are we going to wait? The future is around leveraging fiber optics for the things that really matter: education, health, and economics.”