Next Century Cities, a consortium of 32 cities, has been created with the mission of making 1 Gbps fiber-based broadband available to any community in the United States.
During today's launch in Santa Monica, Calif., mayors and other leaders from 31 cities--including Santa Monica; Boston; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Raleigh, N.C.; Portland, Ore.; Lafayette, La.; and San Antonio, Texas--came together for a discussion about what's worked in their cities and how to support next-gen broadband networks nationwide.
"Our goal is not necessarily to have all these cities to become municipal providers, but instead our real goal is to make sure everybody has access," said Deb Socia, Executive Director of Next Century Cities, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Making sure all of our cities has next-generation broadband they can use to help with things like public safety, education, smart cities, and all the great ways that technology can improve the quality of life for residents."
Each of the participating cities will engage and help other communities develop and deploy next-gen broadband services to their residents and businesses. They will also share their stories on what works and what does not work.
Socia said that since every one of the 32 cities is different, they also don't want to advocate a specific technology or method to expand broadband services.
"Our goal is next-generation broadband, but we aren't trying to determine what that pathway will be because every city has a different issue: Leverett, Mass. is very unique, Boston is very unique and they're never going to look the same," Socia said. "We have 32 cities from around the country and no two of them have taken the same pathway."
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler delivered a video message and Mayor Pam O'Connor (D) of Santa Monica, Mayor Joey Durel (R) of Lafayett and Mayor Andy Berke (D) of Chattanooga gave remarks.
Wheeler has emerged as a controversial champion of the municipal broadband movement.
In May he made a call to challenge more than 20 state laws that prevent or discourage municipalities from building out their own broadband networks. Later in June, he set his focus on a Tennessee law that prohibits the state's cities and towns like Chattanooga from building their own fiber-based networks, particularly in areas where a telco or cable MSO already provides service.
Lafayette and Chattanooga have become poster children of the community broadband race with local municipal providers LUS Fiber and EPB offering 1 Gbps-based fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP)-based services at competitive prices of $110 and $70 a month, respectively.
- see the release
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This article was updated on Oct. 21 with more information from Next Century Cities.