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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on May 26, 2015

Public Private Partnerships: A Reality Check

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/public-private-partnerships-a-reality-check/
When Westminster, a community of 18,000 in rural Maryland, found itself with poor Internet access that incumbents refused to improve, it decided to join the ranks of a growing trend: public-private-partnerships between local governments and private companies to invest in next-generation Internet access. They are now working with Ting – one of a growing number of private sector firms seeking partnerships with cities – though how partnerships are structured varies significantly across communities.

In building an infrastructure intended to serve the community for decades, city leaders knew Westminster should retain ownership of the network to ensure it would remain locally accountable. Ting is leasing fiber on the network and providing Internet services to the community with plans to offer some type of video in the near future. The public-private-partnership (or “P3”) includes a temporary exclusivity arrangement for two years or when a minimum number of subscriptions are activated. Westminster will then have the ability to open up its network to other providers in an open access arrangement.

Communities are realizing that if they want better connectivity, they need to take matters into their own hands. As local leaders wade through the complex process of planning, financing, and deploying Internet network infrastructure, P3s are becoming more common. Communities with little or no experience in managing fiber optic networks may assume that P3s are safer or easier. That may be true or not depending on the specific P3 approach; the data is only starting to come in. P3s have been relatively rare compared to the hundreds of local governments that have chosen to build their own networks in recent decades.

Partnerships will continue playing a larger role  when improving local connectivity but this area is still maturing – there are already a few examples of successful P3s though many will also recall the failed Gigabit Squared P3 approach.

P3s are more established in municipal public works projects involving other areas of infrastructure. A November 2013 Governing article by Ryan Holeywell examined the pros and cons of transportation P3s. Many of the lessons apply to other areas of the economy, including efforts to improve Internet access.

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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jun 18, 2015

Boston Globe Profiles Lafayette; OpenCape Inspired

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/boston-globe-profiles-lafayette-opencape-inspired/

 In a recent Boston Globe Opinion, Dante Ramos notes that Boston has a reputation as a technology hub. When seeking options and affordability, however, Ramos recounts the successful approach of Lafayette, Louisiana: Today, the top broadband speeds advertised to residential customers in Boston are about one-ninth of what’s available in Lafayette. A municipal network in… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jun 5, 2015

ALEC in Savannah: Local News Video Exposes the Corrupt Process of Lawmaking

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/alec-in-savannah-local-news-video-exposes-the-corrupt-process-of-lawmaking/

We have reported on the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the past and stories about ALEC sponsored legislative retreats pop up in the news on a regulary basis. Most recently, NBC Channel 11 from Atlanta reported on the shadowy world of big corporate influence in Georgia. None of this will be new to anyone… Continue reading

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Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Jun 9, 2015

LD 1185 Advances in Maine With Overwhelming Support

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/ld-1185-advances-in-maine-with-overwhelming-support/

On June 5th, the Main House of Representatives voted 143 – 0 in favor of LD 1185, the Maine bill to provide state planning and implementation grants for local municipal networks. Representative Norm Higgins, the sponsor of the bill, contacted us to let us know about the incredible support for the bill. LD 1185 proposes… Continue reading

North Carolina
Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on May 22, 2015

North Carolina Files Petition Opposing FCC Ruling to End Anti-Muni Laws

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/north-carolina-files-petition-opposing-fcc-ruling-to-end-anti-muni-laws/

It took a while, but the State of North Carolina finally decided to take its turn at the throat of the FCC. Attorneys filed a Petition for Review in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals similar to the one filed by the State of Tennessee in March. The Petition is available for download below. Our… Continue reading