Author: Will Smith

One Community’s DIY Broadband Network

Typically, residents of communities without broadband access can look to one of two options for improving their Internet speed: private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or a municipal network. However, the community of Doe Bay, located on Orcas Island just off Oregon’s northern coast, isn’t typical. Its geography and its small population meant no one was interested in improving the island’s 1.5 Mbps Internet connection, which in practice was often barely better than dial-up. After losing their link to the Internet completely for 10 days, members of the community decided to do something about it: they built their own network....

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Broadband Opportunity Council: Here’s How to Spread Broadband Access

In April, we wrote about the formation of the Broadband Opportunity Council, a new federal government organization designed to promote the spread of broadband access. Co-chaired by the secretaries of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Commerce, the group is made up of elements from 25 federal agencies. It was given a deadline of 150 days to prepare a report on how to improve broadband quality and availability in the U.S. On August 20, the council turned in its homework early, three days before the due date, and briefed President Obama on its conclusions. On...

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Colorado Communities Overturn State Law Restricting Municipal Broadband Networks

Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) angered a number of states by pre-empting their laws restricting or prohibiting local governments from creating municipal broadband networks. In all, 19 states currently have such laws, though the details of each state’s laws vary. In Colorado, the law doesn’t outright prevent municipal broadband networks, but it requires voters in those communities to put the issue to a vote. On Tuesday, November 3, 27 Colorado cities and 17 Colorado counties did exactly that, and in all 44 cases, local voters approved the creation of a municipal network. A Win-Win Situation for...

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Federal Bill Could Lower Fiber Infrastructure Cost

On October 22, two members of the House of Representatives introduced the Broadband Conduit Deployment Act of 2015. Chairman of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, Greg Walden (R-Ore.), and the Committee’s Ranking Member, Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), submitted the bill, which if passed will require all highway construction projects that receive federal funding to include the installation of conduits for fiber. What’s “dig once”? The idea behind the dig once policy is simple: every time you’re going to build a new road or highway, or make significant repairs to an older one, you put a pipe in place for fiber-optic...

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Video Killed the Radio Star. Will Broadband Kill Radio?

For three decades, MTV was the most influential medium in music. But for the last decade, people who want to see and hear their favorite artists haven’t turned on the TV: they’ve gone online. Is it a coincidence that MTV stopped playing music videos around the same time people realized they could watch any video they wanted to online? It may have lost its place as music’s number-one medium, but over-the-air radio survived the challenges presented by MTV and satellite radio. But will radio be able to survive broadband music streaming? A new report from market research company Parks...

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