City Council in Maine Declares Internet Essential Infrastructure

Date: 24 Jul 2018 | posted in: MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

While smaller communities in Maine are laying plans to develop community broadband networks for high-quality Internet access, the state’s third largest city indicated a shift in how they view fiber optic connectivity. At a recent city council meeting, Bangor elected officials passed a resolution declaring, “Fiber and access to the Internet is an essential service in the City of Bangor, Maine.”… Read More

Small Business Owner Testifies on Internet Access in Congress, Drama Ensues

Date: 23 Jul 2018 | posted in: MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

In North Carolina, no other rural community embodies the rural struggle for high-quality Internet access as well as Pinetops. At a recent hearing in D.C., one of the leading voices in Pinetops, Suzanne Coker Craig, testified before a legislative committee assembled to delve into the issue. During her short five minutes at the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Coker Craig described her town’s rescue by the local municipal network and subsequent betrayal by their state legislature.… Read More

Toolkit Helps Independent Businesses Advocate for Policies that Support the Local Economy

Date: 17 Jul 2018 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

When independent businesses meet with their local officials, they help build the mindset that independent businesses matter. A new Local Policy Action Toolkit created by ILSR with the Advocates for Independent Business coalition offers independent business owners and retailers concrete tips for engaging with their city officials and advocating for policies that strengthen and grow local businesses. By advocating for policy change, independent business owners can help create a stronger local economy.… Read More

Release: Solar and Energy Storage Threatens Utility Business Models, Enables Energy Democracy

Date: 17 Jul 2018 | posted in: Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

What happens to an electric utility when its big bets on new power plants are undercut by customers producing their own power from solar and storing it in cost-effective batteries?

Hundreds of utility power plants could become stranded assets if electric customers pursue these affordable alternatives to utility provided power, undercutting a century of the traditional “bigger is better” electric utility business model. The latest report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance details how battery storage literally and figuratively reverses the grid’s power flow and puts customers in charge. It offers policymakers, utilities, and individuals a roadmap of rules to capture this opportunity for energy democracy and save everyone money.… Read More

Amazon’s New Path to Monopoly Is Through Your Local Government (Episode 50)

Date: 12 Jul 2018 | posted in: Building Local Power, Podcast | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

On the Building Local Power podcast, ILSR’s Communications Manager Nick Stumo-Langer is joined by researchers Stacy Mitchell and Olivia LaVecchia to discuss their new report detailing Amazon’s new thrust into local government procurement and their attempts to capture every aspect of the economy.… Read More

Maine Community Moves Internet Project Forward with Incremental Financing

Date: 12 Jul 2018 | posted in: MuniNetworks | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The City of Sanford, Maine, is putting the final pieces of funding in place to move forward with its ambitious 45-mile fiber optic build, SandfordNet, the largest fiber infrastructure build proposed in Maine to date. Along with two other funding sources, the project will be financed by an existing Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district in downtown Sanford. According to the Journal Tribune, the project will cost $2.02 million in total to complete; that figure is higher than initially projected, due in part to fees to access utility poles.… Read More

Release: Amazon’s National Contract to Supply Local Governments Puts Cities and Schools at Risk, ILSR Report Finds

Date: 10 Jul 2018 | posted in: Press Release | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A national contract that Amazon secured last year to provide local governments with office and classroom supplies lacks standard safeguards to protect public dollars and public transparency, and puts cities and schools at risk of paying more and getting less, according to an investigation published today by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). View more information from our press release.… Read More

Report: Amazon’s Next Frontier: Your City’s Purchasing

Date: 10 Jul 2018 | posted in: Retail | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Amazon recently secured a national contract that opens the way for billions of dollars in local government spending to shift to the company, but there’s been virtually no reporting on the deal. In this new report, we examine the contract and Amazon’s push to capture local government spending, and find concerns — including that the contract leaves local governments at risk of being ripped off, and sets Amazon up to expand its monopoly power. We conclude by offering examples of local governments that are choosing to reject Amazon’s deal.… Read More

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