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

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.

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