Community Broadband Dominates List Of Fastest US ISPs

from the if-you-build-it-they-will-come dept

For years, a growing number of US towns and cities have been forced into the broadband business thanks to US telecom market failure. Frustrated by high prices, lack of competition, spotty coverage, and terrible customer service, some 750 US towns and cities have explored some kind of community broadband option. And while the telecom industry (and the lawmakers, regulators, and policy wonks paid to love them) routinely tries to paint such projects as radical socialist boondoggles that always end in failure, that’s never actually been true.

The latest case in point: once a year PC Magazine offers a breakdown of the fastest broadband networks in the United States. And this year, as usual, the list is dominated by community-owned and operated broadband networks. Look at the list of the fastest ISPs in the nation overall:

Three of the fastest ISPs are directly owned by the city (Longmont, Colorado?s Nextlight, Chattanooga, Tennessee?s EPB Fiber, and Cedar Falls, Iowa?s CFU). These same ISPs, not coincidentally, also tend to score really well on overall consumer satisfaction studies. And the fastest ISP in the country (Empire Access) makes heavy use of an open access middle mile fiber network funded in large part by the public. Other companies, like Ting and Google Fiber are tightly partnered with local municipalities and regional fiber networks as well.

Data just keeps showing how locally-owned and operated public networks routinely offer better, faster, and cheaper service. But instead of embracing such options, our heavily compromised US regulators have either tried to hamstring them via dodgy state laws, or exploit myopic partisanship to demonize them (“socialism!” “government run amok!” “a terrible affront to the miraculous free market!”). Despite such networks seeing broad, bipartisan public support, House Republicans just this year tried to ban them completely across the entire United States. It’s just blisteringly ignorant corruption.

As the Institute for Local Self Reliance notes, it’s easier and cheaper for a politically powerful regional telecom monopoly like AT&T to pay off a few lawmakers than it is to actually try harder. But try as they may to demonize such projects, their popularity and effectiveness continues to speak for itself:

“Monopoly providers have often trotted out the claim that modern network infrastructure is too complicated and costly for local communities to build and operate successfully. It?s an argument that doesn?t stand up to scrutiny, and even less so given that not only do modestly sized cities beat out the national ISPs for pure speed, they do it twice as fast, lapping the competition.”

But it’s also important to note that community broadband isn’t some either/or option. Many areas are creating a healthy symbiosis between municipalities, cooperatives, community broadband networks, public/private partnerships, and private companies. COVID just got done educating us as to the essential nature of broadband connectivity. Efforts to hamstring or ban productive regional solutions continue to be ignorant and counterproductive.

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Comments on “Community Broadband Dominates List Of Fastest US ISPs”

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14 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Bloof (profile) says:

Blindsided by this triumph of socialist communist Marxist community broadband, the big telcos redoubled their efforts, vowing to crush the red menace by building new infrastructure, cutting prices and upgrading their networks to prove the free market always wins in the end… No wait, they’ll just buy enough state senators to ban community broadband state by state.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Blindsided by this triumph of socialist communist Marxist community broadband…"

Or, as it’s also called, "Your tax money at work". ????

"…the big telcos redoubled their efforts, vowing to crush the red menace by building new infrastructure, cutting prices and upgrading their networks to prove the free market always wins in the end…"

Ahh, the free market. Playing out as advertised. ????

"…No wait, they’ll just buy enough state senators to ban community broadband state by state."

Admit it, when you’re telling stories to children it’s the version where the wolf eats Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel end up baked, right? ????

ladyattis (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well it’s more that capitalism always favors controlling markets by non-market means when possible. The idea that markets ought to be liberated enough to allow for profits to fall and competition to diversify the economy is antithetical to capitalism. It’s liberated enough to make profits for big firms and not much else. laughs in Proudhon and Tucker

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
DannyB (profile) says:

An idea for ISPs

Dear ISP,

Please try building the bestest, fastest, cheapest big-dumb-pipe possible, while charging enough to build and maintain your infrastructure and make a profit.

That’s it! Nothing more.

No zero rating. No trying to own content providers. No negotiating special deals with content providers. Just be the best at what your business actually advertises.

It is a time honored way of doing business. Yes, really.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: An idea for ISPs

"It is someone else’s time honored way of doing business. Yes, really."

In the US of today, the honored way of doing business was laid out by Rockefeller, P.T. Barnum the Koch Brothers and Trump.

What AT&T and Comcast truly strive for is the business model where low-paid thugs show up and receive your money in exchange for not actually beating you up.

ECA (profile) says:

Would it be interesting?

To get all the Main groups together to Tell us Why (without key words to Blame others or ideology), Whats up and why things arnt getting done?

Get the idea out there that Maybe there is a better way and find out Why these things cost as much as they do.
Stock market says the prices of fruit/veggie/grains is about $0.03 per pound, and we end up paying $3-4 just for Cereal and crackers. And $1.70+ for 1 pound of frozen veggies.
Looking at these prices, even at 1/2 the price everyone is making tons of money.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Corrupt, not stupid

Despite such networks seeing broad, bipartisan public support, House Republicans just this year tried to ban them completely across the entire United States. It’s just blisteringly ignorant corruption.

Oh don’t give them a pass here, they know exactly what they are doing and do not in any way deserve even a shred of ‘maybe they just don’t know better?’ benefit of the doubt.

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