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Localism Over Consolidation:
An Exploration of Public Broadband Options
Think Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, or Google are the nation's only option for broadband? Well, think again. Over the last decade hundreds of communities across the U.S. have built public broadband networks to meet the civic needs of their citizens. Cities like Chattanooga TN and Wilson, NC built fiber-to-the-home networks that offer residents and businesses some of the fastest broadband speeds available in the U.S and the world. Many more communities have made public investments in broadband to improve access for sectors like education, healthcare, and public safety.
Today, more and more communities are thinking of broadband as a local issue. Even large cities like Baltimore, Seattle and New York have recently begun public discussions about ways to improve broadband services and what role the local government could play in that improvement. Current technology policy debates about net neutrality and the potential Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger mean it is more important than ever that local governments play a more active role in ensuring their communities do not get left behind in the digital age.
New America's Open Technology Institute presented a discussion of various approaches to local investment in broadband. The panel featured a diverse set of experts on public broadband networks and projects, including the manager of a municipal fiber network in Wilson, NC. Panelists discussed different approaches communities have taken so far and share thoughts on what steps other local governments can take going forward to support access to affordable and high-speed broadband.
Join the conversation online using #broadbandoptions and by following @OTI.
Director of Community Broadband Networks, Institute for Local Self-Reliance
President, CTC Technology & Energy
General Manager, Greenlight, Wilson, NC
President, SouthEast Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (SEATOA)
Senior Policy Counsel, New America's Open Technology Institute