Press Release: Over 750 communities have a community network, according to new ILSR map update

Date: 5 Feb 2018 | posted in: MuniNetworks, Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Date: January 23rd, 2018

Updated Community Networks Map Now Includes over 750 Communities

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s map details the communities that are making investments in better connectivity

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — Communities are playing a growing role in connecting their residents and businesses to high-quality broadband access. However, with the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality protections looking imminent, it seems that companies like AT&T, Charter, Comcast, and Verizon are ascendent — but that’s not the case in the 750 communities we’ve mapped across the United States.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has been tracking community networks for more than 10 years, tracking a variety of metrics from gigabit services to open access. For the first time, this map includes communities served by electric cooperatives whereas previous maps focused on municipal networks. The next map iteration will also have communities served by telephone co-ops.

Communities across the United States are investing in telecommunications networks for a variety of reasons to benefit their future. Whether they invest to improve economic development outcomes or to improve access to education and health care these communities are building essential infrastructure that their residents and businesses demand.

Our map now includes over 750 communities, here is the breakdown:

  • 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).

“What this update shows is that, despite federal hostility to community network solutions, more communities are investing than ever,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Municipal and cooperative networks were essential in driving electrification and we are seeing the same dynamic with the expansion of high-quality Internet access.”

This growth comes despite the fact that some 20 states have barriers in place designed to discourage or prevent communities from investing in this infrastructure.

If you’re interested in gaining perspective on this issue from Christopher Mitchell, please email back here or schedule an interview through Nick Stumo-Langer at 612-844-1330.

About Christopher Mitchell:
Christopher Mitchell is the Director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Mitchell leads the acclaimed as part of ILSR’s effort to ensure broadband networks are directly accountable to the communities that depend upon them. He is a leading national expert on community networks, advising high-ranking broadband decision-makers and speaking on radio and television programs across the United States.

FOR MORE INFORMATION and to schedule an interview with Christopher, call Nick Stumo-Langer at 612-844-1330 or email

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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.