David Talbot on the Battle Over Community Broadband
Since our first season, with the emergence of the Gig City in Chattanooga, CLBR has been following municipal broadband and large ISP efforts to prohibit municipalities from offering broadband services to prevent competition. (See CLBR #149: The Battle Over Muni Broadband and Community Broadband Map) .
David Talbot is a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, at Harvard University. Talbot leads their project on municipal fiber networks and has authored a study “Community-Owned Fiber Networks: Value Leaders in America” showing that most community-owned FTTH networks charged less and offered prices that were clear and unchanging, whereas private ISPs typically charged initial low promotional or “teaser” rates that later sharply rose, usually after 12 months.
The study is part of their Responsive Communities project which addresses the most important issues of social justice, civil liberties, and economic development involving Internet access and government use of data.
Show Outline / Guest David Talbot, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society
- Welcome, Happy Valentines Day
- David Talbot, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society and Responsive Communities Project Background
- Background on Muni Fiber Networks
- Where Have They Suceeded
- Legislative Efforts to Block Muni Networks
- Why the Study
- Muni Pricing and Value
Our major finding is that in 23 out of 27 communities where comparisons were possible, entry-level broadband service from a community-owned FTTH network—meaning the lowest-cost service that met the FCC’s definition of broadband (at least 25 Mbps download, 3 Mbps upload)—was less expensive, when considering the average
annual cost of service over four years, than such service offered by a private competitor.
The benefits ranged from a savings of 2.9 percent, or $19, annually in Tullahoma, Tennessee, to more than 50 percent, or $600, annually in Lafayette, Louisiana. Twelve of the community-owned FTTH providers beat their private competitors’ prices by 20 percent or more for entry-level broadband service.
- ISP Pricing Games
- ISP Criticism of the Study
- Future of Muni Fiber Networks
David Talbot joined the Berkman Klein Center as a fellow in early 2015 to lead a project researching municipal fiber networks, and later served a broader role producing editorial projects for the Center. He is now a senior researcher and analyst at CTC Technology & Energy, which serves public sector and nonprofit clients on a variety of communications and engineering projects in the public interest. A journalist for most of his career, David spent nine years as chief correspondent at MIT Technology Review, where he frequently covered Internet policy and communications technology topics. David was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT during the 1999-2000 academic year.
- Feb 21 – Tech’s 2018 Washington Agenda with David Snead
- Feb 28 – Stan Stahl, Citadel Information Group, Cyber Security Threats 2018
- March 14 – Ann Ravel, Fmr Chair, Federal Elections Commission on Regulating Online Political Ads
- March 21 – Darieth Chisolm, 50 Shades of Silence
Shout Outs and Announcements
Today is Ash Wednesdays which means put away your Mardi Gras beads and decide what you will give up for Lent.