Muni broadband endorsed by Comcast, again

26 February 2017 by Steve Blum
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Comcast jumps on board.

Are you wondering whether or not you live in a place where Comcast will soon upgrade at least some of its broadband infrastructure and technology to the high speed, DOCSIS 3.1 standard? All you have to do is check to see whether there’s a municipal broadband project underway nearby. That’s a very reliable way to gauge the esteem that Comcast bestows upon your town.

According to a story by Daniel Frankel in FierceCable, Chattanooga, Tennessee is the next stop on Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.1 road trip, where it will begin offer much cheaper 1 gigabit service to homes and businesses…

Comcast had been delivering its pricey 10-gig fiber service to local Chattanooga businesses, and 2-gig fiber service to local residences.


FCC decision says state laws must treat muni and private ISPs the same

15 March 2015 by Steve Blum
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Only Washington can level the playing field.

Municipal broadband initiatives either have to be banned altogether by state law or allowed the same latitude to conduct business that the FCC gives private Internet service providers. That’s the core of the FCC’s decision, released last Thursday, to preempt state-imposed restrictions on publicly-owned broadband systems in Tennessee and North Carolina…

A different question would be presented if we were asked to preempt…a law that goes to a state’s power to withhold altogether the authority to provide broadband.


FCC muni broadband decision relies on a wobbly position

13 March 2015 by Steve Blum
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This isn’t the first time the feds have fought in Chattanooga.

There was no doubt that the FCC would vote two weeks ago to pre-empt state laws in Tennessee and North Carolina that restrict the ability of local governments – the cities of Chattanooga and Wilson respectively – to get into the broadband business. Both U.S. president Barack Obama and FCC chairman Tom Wheeler promised it was coming. And there’s no shortage of reasons to do it (or not).… More

Muni broadband ruling posted by FCC

12 March 2015 by Steve Blum
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Today is the day. The FCC just followed up its release of new common carrier rules for the Internet with the text of its decision to preempt state restrictions on municipal broadband projects in Tennessee and North Carolina…

Click here to download the muni broadband decision…

The statements issued by the five commissioners can downloaded here.

It’s 116 pages long. Added to the 400 pages of new common carrier rules all the associated commissioner statements, objections and press releases, that makes for a serious reading assignment today.… More

Muni advocates need to be careful what they wish for at the FCC

27 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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If you like the idea of cities and other local agencies encouraging broadband development and deciding to go into the business themselves – as I do – then FCC chair Tom Wheeler’s talk about sweeping away state-level restrictions is sweet music to the ears.

The City of Chattanooga certainly enjoys the tune. It filed a petition with the FCC on Thursday, asking it to override a Tennessee law that prevents it from expanding its fiber-to-the-home network.… More

Chattanooga forces Wheeler's hand: tear down muni broadband barriers

25 July 2014 by Steve Blum
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The City of Chattanooga formally asked the FCC yesterday to throw out a Tennessee state law that prevents it from extending its fiber-to-the-home network to surrounding areas. In doing so, the city is asking FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to make good on his high-sounding rhetoric about pre-empting state restrictions on municipal broadband.

The filing is a goldmine of information. The petition itself was written by muni broadband legal expert Jim Baller, and the attachments provide a wealth of case study material on the Chattanooga project specifically, and the history of muni broadband regulation and legislation in general.… More

States rights invoked as muni broadband grandstanding continues in Washington

Blackburn’s not shy about extending a helping hand, particularly towards money.

States would be free to ban municipal broadband projects, under under language inserted into a bill and approved by the U.S. house of representatives (h/t to the Baller-Herbst listserv for the heads up). Since bills that get passed by the republican-controlled house seem to have a rocky time in the democrat-controlled senate (and vice versa), it’s unlikely have any practical effect. But the idea is to pre-empt FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s (likely empty) talk about stepping in between local governments that want to get into the muni broadband business and states that want to ban it.… More

Sunk costs support sinking gigabit prices

6 October 2013 by Steve Blum
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Nowhere to go but up.

Fiber-to-the-home system operators are falling in behind Google’s idea that market share counts more than marginal revenue gains (or cost controls). Both Chattanooga’s municipal FTTH network and the Utopia system serving several Utah communities are following Google’s lead in Kansas City and Provo, and offering residential gigabit service for monthly fees in the $65 to $70 range.

At $350 per month, Chattanooga was attracting only a few dozen gigabit-level subscribers. At $70 per month, it should shortly have tens of thousands.… More