Next Century Cities

Connecting Communities

Archive for February, 2016

  • NCC Celebrates the One-Year Anniversary of Successful Municipal Broadband Ruling!

    Friday, February 26, 2016

    Exactly one year ago this morning, the Federal Communications Commission granted two petitions from Next Century Cities members Chattanooga, TN and Wilson, NC which sought relief from state laws restricting both communities’ ability to expand their successful gigabit Internet networks. The decision marked an important victory in support of oneof Next Century Cities’ core principles, that communities must enjoy self-determination. Supporting Wilson and Chattanooga in their fight were over 40 elected officials from Next Century Cities members who signed an open letter to the FCC. The letter urged the Commission to reconsider state-level barriers to broadband, observing, “Our communities – and all members of Next Century Cities – have taken divergent approaches to bringing broadband Internet to our residents, from municipal networks to partnerships with private providers, including major incumbents…. What has made possible this diversity of approaches and, in many cases, successes, has been the ability for our communities to make choices that suited our individual needs and circumstances.”

    The decision is currently being appealed by Tennessee and North Carolina, and oral arguments are scheduled before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on March 17. Next Century Cities has filed an amicus brief that argued the state-level barriers were a barrier to broadband deployment.  We will keep you updated as the case progresses.

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  • Exciting New Fiber Deployment Model from Google Fiber Announced

    Monday, February 22, 2016

    A recently-announced partnership between city leaders in Huntsville, Alabama and Google Fiber points to a promising new model for ensuring greater access to high-quality broadband Internet. This new collaboration will see the City of Huntsville build out and own a fiber network while leasing dark fiber capacity to Google Fiber to provide gigabit-speed Internet to city residents. The plan has its origins in March of 2015, when the City of Huntsville along with their municipal utility, Huntsville Utilities, unveiled plans to build a local fiber network that could bring gigabit speeds to residences, businesses (large and small) and provide a fiber backbone for local research institutes to use. The RFI stated that the City would be interested in discussing multiple forms of partnership, including “cost-sharing, infrastructure leasing, and profit-sharing arrangements.”

    Huntsville Utilities, which is owned by the City of Huntsville, is building its own fiber network throughout the City. The network is being built independently of Google Fiber, for purposes associated with the electric utility business. Once the network is built, Google Fiber will lease dark fiber on the network in order to offer its services to customers. There will be fiber available for other uses, including by Huntsville Utilities and other ISP providers, or any third party.

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  • Louisville, KY: Fiber-Friendly Success Story

    Friday, February 12, 2016

    ]Next Century Cities members often ask how they can become fiber ready communities. We encourage them to start by checking out helpful checklists, such as Google Fiber’s City Checklist or CTC’s Broadband Strategies Checklist. Using these checklists to become ‘fiber-ready’ makes communities more attractive for all investors in broadband infrastructure, not just the organizations that produce the checklists!

    Louisville is one of many compelling stories of success. Louisville has focused on becoming a more fiber-friendly community since 2013. Their commitment to be fiber-ready has led Louisville into talks with Google Fiber, and already AT&T has announced plans to bring gigabit-speed internet to the city as well.

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  • New Report Illustrates Costs of Inadequate Internet Speeds

    Thursday, February 4, 2016

    Earlier this week, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center of the Sesame Workshop released a new report on the state of digital inclusion and the impacts of persistent inequalities in access to high-quality Internet. Released as part of a February 3 event at New America, the report demonstrated that low-income families continue to suffer from inadequate speeds and unreliable service. For instance, nearly 30 percent of respondents from low- and moderate-income families had had Internet service limited due to data caps, while about half stated that their current Internet service was too slow to meet their needs. As the report noted, insufficient speed has real effects on family well-being, impacting the ability of children to complete classroom assignments and adults to find employment.

    For more information on the report, see this article from USA Today.

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