Muni broadband can defend net neutrality, but winning isn't guaranteed

24 April 2018 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Net neutrality and municipal broadband are two separate issues that overlap in a couple of ways. First, there’s an assumption that muni broadband systems will abide by net neutrality principles, even if not required (but there’s a bill in the California legislature, AB 1999, that would require it). It’s an easy pledge to make now, but it’s not a certainty that muni systems could or would swim against the financial tide if the economics of the business changes significantly.… More

FCC pits one local technical expert against big telecom's lobbyist horde

19 April 2018 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Ajit Pai is trying to stop the bleeding on his Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). The Federal Communications Commission chairman appointed David Young to the committee, as a representative of the National League of Cities. Young is the fiber infrastructure and right of way manager for Lincoln, Nebraska’s public works department. It’s not explicitly stated, but the intent seems to be to fill at least one of the chairs left vacant by recent resignations by high profile municipal representatives.… More

Another muni broadband expert says no to being a stage prop for industry lobbyists

3 April 2018 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Citing similar worries as San Jose mayor Sam Licardo over the FCC’s apparent determination to let industry lobbyists write the Federal Communication Commission’s broadband deployment advisory committee (BDAC) manifesto, Miguel Gamino, New York City’s chief technology officer, turned in his letter of resignation last week

I have expressed concerns with other municipal colleagues in multiple meetings and documents that the makeup of the BDAC, with roughly 75 percent of members representing large telecommunications and cable companies or interests aligned with those companies, would result in recommendations unfavorable to localities looking to responsibly manage public rights-of-way to promote public safety, quality of life, and other priorities.


Tacoma seeks private sector help for its city-owned cable system

1 April 2018 by Steve Blum
, ,

The City of Tacoma wants to hang on to its municipal cable system, but it’s looking for someone else to come in and run it. It posted a request for information and qualifications (RFI), asking private sector companies to propose business models.

Examples given include leasing out the system as a whole to an operator, bringing in a company to manage it or running it as an open access system, where competing retail providers would buy wholesale capacity from the system and take responsibility for selling it to customers.… More

Reporters ripped for muni broadband stories. Is Comcast behind it?

11 February 2018 by Steve Blum
, , ,

A “visiting scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute (and a member of Donald Trump’s “landing team” at the Federal Communications Commission) has taken to trash talking writers and publications that reported on a recent municipal broadband study (I haven’t yet – it’s on my to do list). The resemblance to a Comcast-sponsored astroturfing campaign is noteworthy.

Roslyn Layton joined Jeffrey Eisenach and Mark Jamison as volunteers assigned to help cobble together telecoms policy and overhaul the Obama-era FCC.… More

Riverside's open access muni fiber network is open for business

6 February 2018 by Steve Blum
, ,

Municipal dark fiber is now available for lease on an open access basis in Riverside, California. Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) – the City of Riverside’s municipal electric and water utility – has gone live with its dark fiber webpage, which sets out the rates and terms for leasing strands on its 120 mile network.

The base rate is $125 per strand-mile per month (one mile minimum, by tenth of mile after that), which can fall to $70 with term and volume discounts.… More

California legislature looks at muni broadband rules. Beware

5 February 2018 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Municipal broadband is on the line in the California legislature. Assemblyman Ed Chau (D – Monterey Park) introduced assembly bill 1999 last week. As drafted, it would do two things: require muni broadband systems to abide by network neutrality principles and remove restrictions that effectively prevented community services districts from getting into the Internet service provider business.

On the face of it, AB 1999 is straightforward. It succinctly lays out net neutrality rules – no blocking, throttling or paid prioritisation – and applies them to broadband services offered by cities, or by the special districts that are particularly authorised to do so by Californian law.… More

FCC grabs ankles for industry lobbyists San Jose mayor says, but in a nicer way

26 January 2018 by Steve Blum
, , ,

The Federal Communications Commission is only interested in listening to big telephone and cable companies, according to San Jose mayor Sam Licardo. He resigned from the FCC’s broadband deployment advisory committee yesterday, following two days of frustrating meetings that were dominated by industry lobbyists and other corporate hacks. Licardo said in his resignation letter that the industry bias was blatant…

One working group, which did not have a single municipal representative among its 30+ participants, created a draft model state code that included provisions to eliminate all municipal control over when, how, and whether to accept industry applications for infrastructure deployment.


California muni broadband battle continues, with or without federal advice

4 December 2017 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Even if it’s adopted as is – and it’s as likely to get worse as it is to get better – a wish list of muni-stomping broadband policy drafted by a Federal Communications Commission advisory group, and echoed by the FCC majority, probably won’t have much impact in California.

That’s not necessarily good news for Californian cities and counties, though. One of the recommendations – grant cable franchises on a statewide basis with an impossibly light and delicate regulatory touch – has been law here for more than ten years.… More

State lawmakers should exorcise muni broadband evil, federal advisors say

19 November 2017 by Steve Blum
, , ,

Stomp on cities. Boiled down, that’s the conclusion of a group advising the Federal Communications Commission on what states ought to be doing to promote broadband deployment. The FCC formed the Broadband Development Advisory Committee earlier this year, which is top heavy with lobbyists and others from big and mid-sized telecoms companies, very weak on local or state government representation and devoid of any municipal broadband experience. The committee spun off five working groups, including one tasked with writing model laws for states to adopt or, potentially, for the FCC to impose through its assumed preemption powers.… More