Skip to content

Municipal Networks

How Big Telecom Smothers City-Run Broadband

Janice Bowling, a 67-year-old grandmother and Republican state senator from rural Tennessee, thought it only made sense that the city of Tullahoma be able to offer its local high-speed Internet service to areas beyond the city limits. After all, many of her rural constituents had slow service or did not have access to commercial providers, like AT&T Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. But a 1999 Tennessee law prohibits cities that operate their own Internet networks from providing access outside the boundaries where they provide electrical service. Bowling wanted to change that and introduced a bill in February to allow them to expand. She viewed the network, which offers speeds about 80 times faster than AT&T and 10 times faster than Charter in Tullahoma according to advertised services, as a utility, like electricity, that all Tennesseans need.

Flexible Borders, Your Rights & Drones And Public Broadband

This week on Act Out! we're talking borders and barriers. First up, did you know that the U.S constitution has a different border zone than the official border map of the U.S.? And what does that have to do with drones in a small town in Maine? Next up, make some noise between barriers this New Years and here's how the U.S now extends to 75% of the world's nations. Finally, following last week's Net Neutrality decision, you may be feeling down – but here's a pick me up that gives YOU the power to access the internet – no telecoms allowed.

The Kurds Liberating Themselves Through Grassroots Democracy

By Joris Leverink for ROAR Magazine - The developments in Kurdistan — and especially in Rojava, the Kurdish region in northern Syria — have tickled the radical imagination of activists around the globe. The revolution in Rojava has been compared to Barcelona in 1936 and the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico. The radical left needs its own mythology as much as everybody else, and in this sense Rojava, Barcelona and Chiapas serve as hopeful reminders that there is an alternative; that it is possible to organize society in a different way. Bookchin believes that if our ideal is a Commune of Communes, the natural place to start is at the local political level, with a movement and program as the “uncompromising advocate of popular neighborhood and town assemblies and the development of a municipalized economy.” Ultimately, the best way to support the struggles of the Kurds, the Zapatistas and many other revolutionary movements and initiatives that have sprung up across the globe in the past few years, is by listening to their stories, learning from their experiences and following in their footsteps.

How Do We Further Democratize The Internet?

On the same day the Federal Communications Commission adopted “Net neutrality” regulations, it also voted to let the cities of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina extend their community broadband networks to neighboring communities. The 3-2 vote let the two cities pre-empt state laws that prohibit them from expanding the service beyond their borders. The decision has also built momentum to repeal similar laws in 20 other states that either prohibit municipal broadband service outright or require communities to obtain permission to establish it from private Internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, and Time Warner, corporations that have largely monopolized the market across the U.S. Public broadband also often offers cheaper and faster service than the major corporate ISPs.

City Fiber Networks Create Community High-Speed Internet

Municipal fiber networks are spreading from coast to coast, but not all community fiber is equal, and some cities have taken very different approaches. What are they getting right, and where is there room for improvement to ensure universal high-speed Internet access? Roosevelt Institute Fellow Susan Crawford, joined by Harvard Law School students John Connolly and Travis West and Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law student Melissa Nally, takes on these questions In a new paper published by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Read the abstract below, and click here to download the paper, "Community Fiber in Washington, D.C., Seattle, and San Francisco." This report provides detailed accounts of planning carried out in connection with community fiber networks in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, CA, and Seattle, WA. It includes information about existing fiber assets that the cities identified, funding mechanisms that were considered, and roadblocks that were encountered. Our hope is that this report will be helpful to other cities that are considering launching fiber optic networks.
Sign Up To Our Daily Digest

Independent media outlets are being suppressed and dropped by corporations like Google, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our daily email digest before it’s too late so you don’t miss the latest movement news.