Part of the reason broadband competition is so dang hard to come by for millions of us? Protectionist, industry-backed laws that make it either obscenely difficult or outright illegal to start a public network. Colorado is one of the states with such a law on the books, but voters in the Centennial State are once again saying they’d rather municipal networks had a chance. [More]
More than a dozen states have laws that either prohibit counties and cities from operating their own broadband internet networks, selling service directly to consumers, or expanding their service behind a prescribed footprint. In 2015, the FCC voted to preempt two of these laws — in Tennessee and North Carolina — but this morning a federal appeals court says the FCC lacks the legal authority to do so. [More]
The legislative process, in theory, brings us laws that have been robustly debated, discussed, compromised on, and perfected. But in reality, legislatures have this thing where lawmakers can often add completely unrelated amendments or riders to bills to accomplish, well, basically any pet goal they want. That’s what’s happened in Missouri this week, and now municipal broadband in the state is under fire from a law about… traffic tickets.
More than a year after the FCC voted to preempt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that heavily restrict city- and county-owned utilities from providing broadband to consumers, the states and the federal regulator finally had their day in court. [More]
While Google is based in the San Francisco Bay area, the closest the Internet biggie has come to bringing Google Fiber to the region is listing San Jose as a “potential” Fiber market for the future. But today, Google announced that at least some people in San Francisco will be able to get its high-speed data service. [More]
In most of the cities where Google Fiber exists (or is in the process of being built out), the company is starting from nothing — digging trenches, running new fiberoptic cable — but Google announced today that when it launches Fiber service in Huntsville, AL, it will be doing so over Rocket City’s municipal fiber network. [More]
If you live in the city, it’s almost a certainty that your property can get high-speed Internet access from at least one company. But for rural America, it’s a different story, with nearly 4-in-10 people lacking access to fixed-line broadband service. [More]
As Comcast rolls out its superfast 2 gigabit fiber service for $300/month — not to mention upwards of $1,000 in startup costs — yet another municipally owned broadband service is offering similar service for less money. [More]
Publicly-owned broadband networks can be a great alternative to incumbent ISPs like Comcast and AT&T in towns where there’s no competition, or in areas that existing providers don’t want to serve at all. Incumbent ISPs tend to like their pervasive monopoly status, though, and so they support and bankroll protectionist laws that prohibit municipalities from launching their own networks.
A committee in Congress yesterday held a hearing on promoting broadband infrastructure investment. That is, getting more wires put in the ground so more people can get online faster and more reliably. That’s a laudable goal that we here at Consumerist tend to cheer on. But one theme became clear from the testimonies of the assembled analysts, industry members, and local public companies who spoke: real improvement is going to be a long, ugly series of fights… and consumers are going to keep paying a lot more while it happens.
It’s been a big year for North Carolina in terms of improving the Internet connections for many of its residents. Google Fiber will bring new options to multiple markets in the state, and the FCC acted against a state law that limits municipal broadband providers from expanding their services. But rather than acknowledge that maybe it shouldn’t let Time Warner Cable dictate state laws, North Carolina has sued the FCC. [More]
While some members of Congress have argued that the best way to deal with net neutrality is to create a law that guides what broadband providers can and can’t do with regard to data, one legislator from Tennessee — who has received significant money from neutrality’s biggest opponents — has introduced a bill that would kill neutrality and strip the FCC of its authority to regulate broadband as a necessary piece of telecommunications infrastructure. [More]