The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has created a fact sheet that could help organizers of community broadband networks garner support for their projects. The two-page document includes examples of how community broadband networks in eight states have helped attract business to or retain businesses in their communities.
“Community-owned networks often deliver the highest capacity connections at far greater levels of reliability than cable and DSL companies – they are focused on helping local businesses, not extracting monopoly profits,” the fact sheet states.
Most of the eight projects profiled in the fact sheet attracted or retained at least two businesses in the community – including manufacturing facilities, call centers, Internet-focused businesses and others. At least three big name companies — DirecTV, Northrup Grumman, and Expedia – are among the businesses that were attracted by the community networks.
The fact sheet also makes a point of indicating the number of jobs some of the businesses created or retained. Two of the more impressive wins were 1,000 new call center jobs in Lafayette, La. created by NuComm International and 539 jobs created by professional and technology services firm ICF International in Martinsville, Va. The community network supporting NuComm in Lafayette is LUSFiber. The Martinsville jobs are supported by the MiNet community network.
For those who are interested in more details on any of the projects included on the fact sheet, web links to more detailed profiles are provided.
Community networks have come under attack from some incumbent carriers who argue that constructing and operating such networks is not an appropriate activity for a municipality. In some states the incumbents have helped pass legislation aimed at preventing municipal networks.
Nevertheless there are now 19 states with community broadband networks, according to an ILSR map included in the new fact sheet. The map uses different icons to show the location of citywide cable projects and citywide fiber projects.