Cities, States Face Off On Municipal Broadband

by Jeffrey Stinson –   NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect the following correction: The U.S. House last month voted 223-200 to block any FCC preemption of state laws limiting broadband. Wilson, North Carolina, determined nearly a decade ago that high-speed Internet access would be essential to the community’s social and economic health in the 21st century, just as electricity, water and sewers were in the previous 100 years. But private Internet service providers would not join the city in building a high-speed broadband network, so in 2006 Wilson’s city council voted unanimously to go it alone, borrowing about $35 million to deliver fiber optic cable to homes, schools and businesses via its municipal electric utility. Today, Wilson is North Carolina’s first “Gigabit City.” Its Greenlight broadband utility serves 7,000 of 50,000 residents with Internet speeds between 20 Mbps, or 20 megabits per second, and 1 Gbps,...

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