Tag Archives: Localnetchoice

Our Way Forward

What Is Local Internet Choice?

The traditional model of broadband deployment, where private-sector investment flows to the areas that produce the highest returns, has worked in some parts of the country, but it has also left many communities without competitive options for broadband services and in some cases without any option at all.  This “connectivity gap” is most acute in America’s low-income and rural communities.

The Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) seeks to build understanding and consensus on the need for local broadband decision-making.  CLIC focuses on positive, non-partisan themes—the benefits of advanced communications capabilities; the value of cooperation between the public and private sectors; critical importance of preparing for the future of work.  CLIC backs up its advocacy with the best available research and a wealth of case histories.

At CLIC, we believe that communities should be free to seek a range of options for obtaining the best broadband infrastructure they deem necessary—by working with willing incumbents, by entering into public private-partnerships of various kinds, by deploying broadband themselves, or by developing other creative alternatives.  This is Local Internet Choice

What Does CLIC Do?

State Legislative Battles

More than 20 states currently have industry-promoted barriers to community broadband initiatives and public-private broadband partnerships, and several other state legislatures consider such legislation every year.  These anticompetitive laws are bad for the communities involved, bad for the private sector, particularly the high tech industry, and bad for America’s global competitiveness.  CLIC assists localities in opposing new and existing barriers by organizing opposition from a growing number of prominent companies and national associations, including Google, Neflix, Indeed, and others.  CLIC also assists our local allies with analyzing proposed legislation, drafting alternatives, developing strategies, identifying and preparing witnesses, preparing talking points, etc.

Thought Leadership

CLIC has developed several key papers that have helped to shape the conversation around community-led broadband initiatives as a matter of economic importance that cannot be defined by a single model or community.  In addition, CLIC responds to campaigns that seek to mischaracterize community broadband efforts as wasteful, inefficient, or anti-competitive.   In our blog and newsletters, CLIC also publishes articles from prominent thought-leaders in our field.  In addition, CLIC hosts a webinar series, a bi-annual day-long conference, and frequently advises our allies on broadband matters. 

State Chapters

CLIC’s state chapters arose organically from the desire of our members to organize under the CLIC banner at the state level.  The state chapters host regular lunches with community leaders, have built their own web presence, and next spring, our first state chapter, CLIC-NC, will host a statewide conference.

How You Can Help?

CLIC’s leadership has set three major goals for the next twelve months: Defeat all new proposed state barriers, roll back as many existing state barriers as possible, and continue building a national consensus on the need for and benefits of local Internet choice.  We need your help.  Please call or write to us to discuss ways that we can work together to achieve these goals.

WHEELER ON LOCAL BROADBAND CHOICE & AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY

Chairman Wheeler

Amidst enormous applause and a final standing ovation, FCC Chairman Wheeler spoke to NATOA two weeks ago about the critical federal-local partnership that is essential for “all citizens” “to have access to robust broadband networks.” CLIC revisits this important speech and Chairman Wheeler’s focus on Lafayette’s local broadband victory to demonstrate the inherent value in local communities being able to determine their own broadband futures. Wheeler stated:

“The advantages of competition are so obvious and ingrained in the American psyche that many local communities have stepped up to facilitate it where the private sector has not. Communities are listening to the needs of their citizens and enterprises, engaging community stakeholders, and focusing on delivering competitive broadband services to respond to those needs.  As you know, two communities – Wilson, NC and Chattanooga, TN – have petitioned the FCC to preempt the laws enacted by state legislatures that prohibit them from expanding their community-owned broadband networks…. We will make our decision on those petitions on the record and on the merits. I am not going to comment on them any further.

However, I do encourage you to consider how local choice and competition can increase the broadband opportunities for your citizens. I love the story of Lafayette, Louisiana where the local incumbent fought the city’s fiber network tooth and nail, bringing multiple court challenges and triggering a local referendum on the project.  Thankfully, none of the challenges managed to prevent deployment – sixty-two percent of voters approved of the network in the referendum, and the Louisiana Supreme Court unanimously sided with the city – but they did delay deployment almost three years.  When the network was finally built, the community experienced the benefits of competition, as the local cable operator decided to upgrade its network..

…. Local choice and competition are about as American as you can get.”

CLIC encourages you to get involved and let the Commission know why communities should have the right to decide their own economic and broadband futures. Take five minutes and file ex-parte comments, as we mention here.

 

Letter to Chairman Wheeler from Mayor of Wilson, NC Re: Importance of Local Choice

Tom Wheeler
Chairman
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

June 20, 2014

Dear Chairman Wheeler,

I am writing today to thank you for your support of broadband expansion throughout the U.S. and to encourage you to do whatever you must to remove state legislation that has restricted its growth.

Let me share our experiences here in Wilson, North Carolina, a community of 50,000 population, located halfway between New York and Florida. Our city’s economic history reflects our country’s transition from an agricultural to a global economy as Wilson has evolved from being the world’s largest tobacco market to North Carolina’s first Gigabit City.

As mayor of a non partisan City Council, I have worked with local leaders who are able to agree on broad, forward-thinking plans for our community by focusing on our community’s future welfare as the common goal.    Our community has  benefitted  from  this  non partisan approach  in  many  ways including the deployment of our community-owned fiber to the home broadband infrastructure. Our Gigabit network has not only helped retain our historical manufacturing and financial base but has allowed our community to attract 21st century information businesses, such as film effects companies, internet marketing firms, and to open our local labor force to the rest of the world’s employers.

This approach has also produced strong enduring results.  The City of Wilson’s credit rating was upgraded  by  Moody’s  and  Standard  and  Poor’s  in  late  2008,  shortly  after  the Greenlight  service launched. I am proud to note that Moody’s recently maintained our Aa2/A1 bond rating after 6 years of operating this broadband network, in a report which emphasized the highly responsible nature of our city’s implementation of this Gigabit network, and its projected long term stability.

Wilson has a long history of self-reliance and community owned infrastructure development based on experience.  In the years when electricity first developed, our community was left behind by the private developers of this new technology. Our response was to develop our own municipal electric utility that now serves six counties. As our economy evolved from a traditional manufacturing, agricultural and textile base to an information base, we forecast once again being left behind by the private  industry,  who  declined  our  invitation  to build  a  21st  century  fiber  network  together.  Our response was to build our own. Now North Carolina state law holds us back from expanding our community generated Gigabit services (found nowhere else in the state) to the five other rural counties we serve with electricity.

We thank you for your support for the deployment of next generation broadband infrastructure by any entity that has the courage and talent to make it happen, whether that is by the public sector, the private sector, or some creative mix of all the above. Our country’s ability to compete in a 21st century global market depends on all options being available.  Wilson’s Greenlight Network shows it can be done responsibly by a community itself.

Thank you for your interest. If I can provide any more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Mayor C. BruceRose
City of Wilson ,North Carolina