ILSR report reveals uptick in community broadband movement

Incumbent operators may be hellbent on preventing communities from starting up their own broadband networks, but a new map released by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) shows that over 100 communities have built their own networks.

ILSR's Community Broadband is part of the research firm's new report Publicly Owned Broadband Networks: Averting the Looming Broadband Monopoly. In this new report, ILSR argues that community-owned networks offer a competitive broadband choice for a growing base of U.S. consumers.

Following in the footsteps of early community-based Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network operators like Bristol Virginia Utilities (BVU) and Kutztown, Pa., a growing crop of communities including Salisbury, NC and Opelika, Ala. have also stepped up to the plate over the past year with networks.

Of course, these networks were built amidst great unlikely alliance of opposition from both incumbent cable operators such as Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), Charter (Nasdaq: CHTR) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) and telcos including AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL).

Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR's Telecommunications as Commons Initiative, said that consumer choices for both wireline and wireless services are dwindling.

"In wireless, we effectively choose between AT&T and Verizon," Mitchell said. "In wired, cable networks increasingly offer a substantially faster and more reliable product than DSL, leaving the majority of us with only one option for high-speed access to the Internet."

For more:
- see the release

Related articles
North Carolina lawmaker launches another community broadband ban bill
Salisbury, NC to launch municipal FTTH service next month
Charter claims it can one-up Opelika, Ala.'s fiber network