Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband Networks

March 23, 2011 -

An interesting story on Ars Technica points out that 133 cities in the United States have their own broadband networks. This data comes from a new map developed by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The group compiled the list of 54 fiber networks and 79 cable networks. The objective of these networks is to "maximize value to the community in which they are located rather than to distant stockholders and corporate executives."

Ouch. The advantage to these networks is that they are not driven by profits; for example, a city-owned network would be more apt to extend itself out to even remote residents, while a corporate ISP would determine that based on the number of residents on a stretch of line per mile. 

City-owned networks often offer better speeds. An example cited in the article is Wilson, North Carolina, where 100Mbps symmetrical broadband upload and download speeds are more preferable than anything offered by ISP's. Another is Chattanooga, Tennessee, which runs its own 1Gbps fiber network.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) believes that local communities need to be able to build networks of their own because they are so important to the future. It's also important because the FCC's version of net neutrality has mostly fallen flat and net neutrality is mostly needed because of corporations who may try to introduce things such as usage based billing.

Naturally companies in the business of serving up broadband have objected to government-owned networks because they feel they represent unfair competition but ISP's are not expanding fast enough and are not supporting customers in rural areas.

You know, those areas where people are still using dial-up and AOL still..

Read the whole story here.


Comments

Re: Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband ...

My local phone company is starting on a Fiber network right now. It might take a year or two, but having 100Mps here will be a nice option. Especially since no other company will go past a city limit.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

Re: Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband ...

They'll end up just like the old city owned phone networks. Next budget crunch they'll lease it to an ISP, with provisions in the contract to eventually sell or give it to them.

Or worse, they'll be staffed by contract with an ISP at twice the existing cost because the city payroll is out of control with facilities and services it shouldn't be providing.

There are still people in my area old enough to be angry about needing to memorize seven digit numbers instead of five after the city sold the local phone network to AT&T.

Re: Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband ...

"Naturally companies in the business of serving up broadband have objected to government-owned networks because they feel that they represent competition."

Fixed.  The ISPs love their virtual monopolies.  They would object to any competition, "fair" or not.

Re: Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband ...

I love this part:

"The disadvantageCity-owned networks often offer better speeds."

Seems you are missing a sentence or more...

Re: Report: 133 U.S. Cities Operate Their Own Broadband ...

I noticed that too.  I sent GP a heads up earlier so it should be corrected soon.

 

Andrew Eisen

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