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The Internet Government Network

32 Cities Want To Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks 175

Jason Koebler writes: More than two dozen cities in 19 states announced today that they're sick of big telecom skipping them over for internet infrastructure upgrades and would like to build gigabit fiber networks themselves and help other cities follow their lead. The Next Century Cities coalition, which includes a couple cities that already have gigabit fiber internet for their residents, was devised to help communities who want to build their own broadband networks navigate logistical and legal challenges to doing so.
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32 Cities Want To Challenge Big Telecom, Build Their Own Gigabit Networks

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  • 'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MitchDev ( 2526834 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @10:28PM (#48192077)

    Fuck Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T

    • Don't blame them. Blame the people who take their money. You have a chance to vote them out very soon. Go for it...

      • Re:'Bout time (Score:4, Interesting)

        by wickedsteve ( 729684 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @12:59AM (#48192703) Homepage
        Republicans in the right pocket and Democrats in the left pocket. Third party candidates don't have a chance. Your vote doesn't count for shit. Until people start seriously voting for third parties the gov't is bought and paid for.
        • The problem is that third parties do not represent the majority of the country and likely a minority of any given area.

          I used to think the problem with third parties was that they do not run for local offices and only focus on national offices unlesd it is a plant designed to siphon votes from a particular canditate in order to let a less desirable one get elected. But after looking around a bit, i have concluded that the honest reality is that third parties simply do not have much support. I tend to disagr

          • The problem is that third parties do not represent the majority of the country and likely a minority of any given area.

            That's not the problem. Neither do the other two parties and they do fine.

            I used to think the problem with third parties was that they do not run for local offices and only focus on national offices unlesd it is a plant designed to siphon votes from a particular canditate in order to let a less desirable one get elected. But after looking around a bit, i have concluded that the honest reality is that third parties simply do not have much support. I tend to disagree with less on issues from a candidate with a big party than i disagree with on with the closest counter part third party. Many people feel the same at least on a local level and a third party is a waste on the national level because they will have to either caucus with a big party or fight both of them and end up being ignored.

            Third parties simply are not big tent parties and are likely better off running as one of the big parties through the primary process. An example of this is the tea parties (yes, there are more than one).

            Now if you disagree, before replying, think about how the tea party republicans have been treated and explain how any third party trying to do something without even partial support of a big party would do any better.

            The problem is that you're (and the rest of us) voting for the two candidates that the "Lesters [lessig.org]" have picked for us to vote on. The game is rigged.

            • "The problem is that third parties do not represent the majority of the country and likely a minority of any given area."

              That's not the problem. Neither do the other two parties and they do fine

              Actually, the two parties do represent the people and they do it quite well. They mostly do it on the local and state level. There are 108 republicans and 55 democrats in office in Ohio without even getting into the county and city data. The vast exposure most people have with the two parties is on the state and loca

          • by gfxguy ( 98788 )

            Well... while I'm not one for hate and vitriol like most of the politically oriented people out there (it seems), I sit back and watch and: 1) I agree with the other response that neither of the two major parties actually represent a majority of anybody but politicians and businesses, and 2) I thought the tea party was an interesting idea until they became right wing on steroids. I thought they were interesting until they started campaigning against abortion, and inviting people like Sarah Pailin to speak

            • Well... while I'm not one for hate and vitriol like most of the politically oriented people out there (it seems), I sit back and watch and: 1) I agree with the other response that neither of the two major parties actually represent a majority of anybody but politicians and businesses,

              There are a lot more offices than the federal ones. When you start looking at the state and local ones, you see where they do actually represent the people. But the third parties seem to just grab a handful of attention here a

        • Not true.

          There are Republicans and Democrats in the primaries that are not in pockets. Difficult for them to win though, as those pockets are where the majority of campaign funds are. Pretty much the same as you point out for third parties.

          Your chances of getting a good guy (or gal) elected, are better for one of the two real parties in the primaries, rather than a third party in the general election.

    • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Midnight Thunder ( 17205 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @11:11PM (#48192315) Homepage Journal

      These cities should build the infrastructure, focus on the infrastructure and then allow service providers to compete with each other for service. Essentially, government deals with infrastructure since they are generally good with that and private business on the sevice, since they are generally good with that when there is healthy competition.

      • Re:'Bout time (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Idimmu Xul ( 204345 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @11:49PM (#48192439) Homepage Journal

        I love it, private business has fucked you guys so bad that a social enterprise has cropped up to fix the problem. And the first thing you think of is to give that social enterprise back to the same businesses that just completely fucked you.

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          Private industries continual shift of the service goal posts. Originally government, booked to the hour, sometimes a little early or late and everyone complained. Private industry takes over, booked to within two hours, people complained louder. That soon changed booked morning or afternoon and people complained even louder. Then it went to booked for sometime on a day, a bit of the old, ' screw you', to the complainers and then spend up big on advertising saying how great service is, so much better than t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I love it, private business has fucked you guys so bad that a social enterprise has cropped up to fix the problem. And the first thing you think of is to give that social enterprise back to the same businesses that just completely fucked you.

          What country are you in? The system he described is basically the one used in Australia and I'm pretty sure several parts of Europe.

          You have a wholesaler who is either government owned or is a government regulated monopoly with legislated fixed prices which sells access to ISPs who use the infrastructure to provide competing services; the competition keeps prices low, stops them from fucking with the service (fast lane bullshit) and provides a variety of 'value-adds' to choose from without having to go and

          • No, the telcoms infrastructure is privately owned in Australia, mainly telstra, with crap HFC from Optus. I'd like to saw we have 3rd world broadband with 1st world pricing, but in reality a lot of third world countries have much better broadband and our picing is some of the most expensive in the world.

            You might be thinking of our energy grid, which in most states is publically owned, with private companies reselling it. Thats been a resounduing success with record profits for the shareholders and power bi

        • The answer to extremism is rarely extremism in the opposite direction.

        • Private business? The cable industry is a government backed monopoly.
        • by suutar ( 1860506 )

          Not "give back", "allow access". I have no problem with the cable company offering their services. My problem is with nobody else being able to offer services because they can't afford to run a new set of wires. Imho, the times when the incumbent wire-owner has been required to allow other folks to supply services and charge reasonable rates (dial up ISPs and non-fastlaned broadband are the prime examples) were the heyday of the internet.

        • No need for the anti-capitalism rant.
          In general the parent is right. The governments generally are better for Infrastructure based jobs, Because an infrastructure benefits all people. Corporations when left to do infrastructure are not as good as it, because they need to be large enough to maintain a wide area, and having remote areas being far more expensive to maintain. Meaning less dense area get extremely expensive.
          The government getting funding via Taxes means everyone is a customer so everyone is pay

      • The city builds the streets but for the most part doesn't provide the services that use the streets.

        I don't see why municipal networks need to be any different -- they can let third parties sell networking services from Internet to TV to site-site connectivity. They could even let out bids for infrastructure management of the physical network.

        Since government is government, you'll end up with something like public transportation, a low-cost subsidized Internet access but I would think that would be just a

    • That will work great for a few years, until hit a recession or slowdown in taxes and first thing they will do is jack up the rates.
  • Nice to see Boston on the list. I hope other cities join in when they see this.
    • Re:Boston (Score:5, Informative)

      by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @10:37PM (#48192117)

      It gets better as sections of Boston get FIOS from Verizon. but for reasons known only to monopolies Verzion stopped rolling out new FIOS in Boston. I guess the market isn't big enough for them.

      • I live in Andover and have FIOS. For the most part it's a decent service, but it currently cost $65 a month for only a 15/15 Mbps connection. It's only going to go up from there. When I first signed up with them they had excellent customer service, but they get a little more like Comcast every year.
      • by _xeno_ ( 155264 )

        I live in an apartment complex outside of Boston. FIOS is already wired down the street I live on. When I asked Verizon about FIOS, they told me that in order to offer it in my building, the building owners would have to pay to wire it and they'd have to get half the units in the building to sign up ahead of time.

        Needless to say, I'm still on Comcast.

        • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
          My ISP ran fiber to every house in the city, customer or not. Cheaper that way. Even customers that are several miles outside the city limits got fiber, all on the ISP's dime, no local, state, or federal government grants or loans. Verizon is just greedy.
      • Re:Boston (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @12:27AM (#48192589)

        I met the VP in charge of FIOS. I point blank asked him. It came from above his pay grade. The irony is he gets AT&T DSL at his house and they have no plans to expand uverse there.

        Until the current top CEO is gone FIOS is dead in the water. He came up thru the ranks of Verizon wireless and thinks charging people more for less service is a totally awesome idea. They are busy reneging on every deal they made with every municipality they promised to roll it out to. Your politicians (on both sides of the isle) are all well bought and paid for and there is not a thing you can do about it.

        • Re:Boston (Score:5, Insightful)

          by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @02:25AM (#48192943)

          Verizon isn't seeing the return on capital for FIOS; that is well known. They think they can increase subscriber rates in areas they have covered and recover the capital that way.

          What they completely miss is the fact that the use-cases that will drive more valuable service plans only exist when ~gigabit networks are available everywhere.

          The problem I see with either approach is that business internet costs aren't going down fast enough to push that evolution. You get better speeds for less in a co-lo, but that doesn't help enough if you use a single office location.

          • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
            Verizon actually acknowledges that FIOS increase revenue and reduces costs. I'm guessing the problem is running fiber has a 2-3 year break even, which is too long for a public company worried about quarterly returns.
            • Deploying in a market is more likely a 20-year payback, and incremental customers are a 2-year payback. The benefit to Verizon is in deprecating copper infrastructure, which has high maintenance costs due to age, but overlaying new fiber pathways on the existing copper pathways is expensive.

              They want to hit markets where they can have an incremental income from FIOS, and where the chances of competition are low. That means prioritizing affluent communities that have the wherewithal to create alternatives

              • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
                The average GPON rollout is 3-4 years for a small ISP that has a lot of overhead. The larger you get, the more efficient you get. Even Chattanooga EPB broke even at the 3 year mark. They had completely paid off the entire fiber install and where then turning a true profit. Which is why they lowered their 1gb service from $300 to $70, because they no longer needed to pay anything off.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Verizon stopped in North Jersey too, despite promising to get broadband to the whole state in 1993 by 2010, and tacking on a surcharge to EVERY bill they send out. For some reason the jokers that run the show decided to let em off the hook : http://www.dslreports.com/show... [dslreports.com] This is just wrong.. These little monopolies are not justifiable.
      • Just for reference, here's an interesting bit of news from a few years ago that never seemed to get much notice, but which I think may have something to do with FIOS seemingly grinding to a halt: https://gigaom.com/2011/12/02/... [gigaom.com]

        Basically, it seems to basically boil down to a secret non-compete agreement between the established wireless and wired internet providers to not invade each others markets with new competition.

  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @10:37PM (#48192113)

    Nice to see cities stepping up to build better network infrastructure
    And if we can hold onto Net Neutrality, even better.

    • Meh Verizon is just going to buy the city network when it gets it's own people in office. This way they can have tax payers build the network and then buy it cheap.
      • by haruchai ( 17472 )

        True that it won't be the 1st time something like that has happened but at least the damn thing will get built and there's a chance that clauses on the sale can be used to make sure that whichever company ends up owning it must provide minimum levels of service, periodic upgrades, etc or it reverts to the public for a set price.

  • by EzInKy ( 115248 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @10:50PM (#48192191)

    Even with my tiny less then 6mb connection AT&T continues to threaten to charge me more for exceeding their 150gb bandwidth limit. They are already sucking over $100 a month from me, yet they still want more. It is way past due for the entire U.S. to consider cruising the internet as neceassary as cruising the roads. This is required infrastructure as necessary to survive today as highways were 30 years ago. So many mundane tasks such as keeping up with current events and even paying your bills necisatate using the internet that considering it a luxory is really out of synch with the current reality. The internet as become necessary for everyone to have, so the internet must be free for everyone to access.

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      Next time they threaten you, shove the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in their face and go "I can take you to court over this, if you want to talk about some billing issues, assholes. We gave you billions in taxpayer dollars for a product you didn't deliver. Guess who owes who right now?"

      • Next time they threaten you, shove the Telecommunications Act of 1996 in their face and go "I can take you to court over this, if you want to talk about some billing issues, assholes. We gave you billions in taxpayer dollars for a product you didn't deliver. Guess who owes who right now?"

        Oh, you mean the same Telecommunciations Act that promised to ensure that CLECs would actually be able to thrive and compete?

        Yeah, uh where are they now? Oh yeah, I forgot, even the LECs own CLECs were driven out of business.

        Please knock if off with this bullshit. The time for any individual or even a small group to go against a major carrier is long over with. Threaten all you want.

        They will ALWAYS have enough customers no matter how many you might convince to get off their ass and walk away.

        They will A

    • I'd recommend against pushing that highway analogy. It makes it too easy for them to come back with:

      "You don't get to drive 150mph on a highway designed for 70mph."

      "We need to make sure overweight trucks don't destroy the road surface for the rest of our drivers."

      "If everyone drove as much as you do, the roads would be so jammed that nobody would be able to get anywhere."

      Each of these points is flawed, but the analogy you posed doesn't do much to help that.

  • It works (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 20, 2014 @11:00PM (#48192261)

    North State has done this in High Point, NC and the surrounding cities. It works, and OMG it works well. 100 a month for 250 channels, 1 Gig internet, and a landline. Flat rate. No big brother. No filtering. No raping on bills and nickel and diming BS. http://northstate.net/

    If other cities can do this or better, then go for it. Having this infrastructure in place free's up money and increases tech production throughout. It's about time people took internet infrastructure as seriously as electric power. Without it, your civilization is a 3rd world ghetto.

  • ...perhaps then people will finally wake up and realize just how much your government supports the concept of monopolies.

    In the meantime, enjoy playing in the kiddie pool while you still can. I'm sure they're already greasing palms to ensure kiddie pools are outlawed soon.

  • by Scottingham ( 2036128 ) on Monday October 20, 2014 @11:16PM (#48192345)
    Unless there's a coup-de-retardante the next couple of elections I see(hope) internet gets its rightful place as a regulated municipal service. Like water. Juicy data water.
    • by NormHome ( 99305 )

      I was sort of thinking the same thing, internet access is a necessity these days almost as much as electric, water, gas and maybe internet should be a public utility.

  • I wrote mine today telling him that this would be a election great pony to ride.
  • by 2centplain ( 838236 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @01:59AM (#48192881)
    https://bouldercolorado.gov/in... [bouldercolorado.gov]

    "If approved, this ballot measure would reestablish city autonomy for investing in community broadband services currently limited by Colorado Senate Bill 152 pdf (SB-152). SB-152 significantly limits the ability of municipal governments to provide broadband services, including potential partnerships with private entities. SB-152 includes a provision allowing Colorado municipal governments to exempt themselves from the law’s provisions via a public vote.

    The Boulder community would significantly benefit from more economical, higher-capacity broadband services, given the tech-savvy demographic, readiness for next-generation services, and publicly available fiber-optic infrastructure. Learn more about the benefits pdf.

    Although the City of Boulder has no current plans to create a public broadband utility or engage in new public-private partnerships, passing the ballot measure would ensure that the planning and execution of new public initiatives would be unencumbered by significant limitations in state law.

    Approved Ballot Question
    Affirming the City’s Right to Provide Telecommunication Services Shall the City of Boulder be authorized to provide high-speed Internet services (advanced services), telecommunications services, and/or cable television services to residents, businesses, schools, libraries, nonprofit entities and other users of such services, either directly or indirectly with public or private sector partners, as expressly permitted by 29-27-101 to 304, “Competition in Utility and Entertainment Services,” of the Colorado Revised Statutes, without limiting its home rule authority?"

  • The lack of proper infrastructure can break a city.

  • by Snufu ( 1049644 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @07:26AM (#48193951)

    ATT, Comcast and Verizon just lowered rates and expanded fiber coverage to the same 32 cities.

    • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )

      ATT, Comcast and Verizon just expanded fiber coverage to the same 32 cities with low introductory rates that will skyrocket once the new local competition is dealt with.

      FIFY

  • by l0n3s0m3phr34k ( 2613107 ) on Tuesday October 21, 2014 @08:23AM (#48194275)
    At first look this "small" city in Oklahoma is strange, yet with the local of a Google datacenter, seems perhaps the cities leaders see the future of what could be? I'm from Tulsa, and our "highspeed" (at least where I live) is a joke. I'm locked into a semi-illegal "exclusive contract" my apartment complex has with AT&T so nothing other than DSL at a 2.4MB max. But even if my city suddenly "jumped" on this, I still wouldn't see any results at my place for 10-15 years if that.

    We could, of course, utilize our flood control pathways to install high-strength water-proofed fiber optics all over the city within a few years. Tulsa's flood control system spreads into every area of the city, and a fiber optic system that mimics the natural flow might add an interesting experiment too. We're far too busy tearing our roads up though to bother with anything hi-tech. Every single semi-major street is torn up or at least has construction road signs causing traffic jams; since the 1980's the construction barrel industry has made millions off us taxpayers.
  • 1. The service you provide is Internet. Therefore, no screwing with packets, strict network neutrality, no port blocking, no prohibition on uses such as servers. In short, plain bandwidth at a price that does not discriminate between customers.
    2. You do not regulate yourselves.
    3. There are no barriers to future entrants to the market that do not apply to you.

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