The Institute for Local Self-Reliance has put together a useful interactive map plotting the locations of community broadband networks, primarily in the U.S., but also highlighting several in other countries.
The map contains flag markers for each project, indicating whether the project involves citywide cable, citywide fiber or fiber in a portion of a city. By clicking on a flag, users can see the name of the city in which it is located and can click again to link to the coverage of that project on the Community Broadband Networks website.
According to a summary released by the ILSR, the map shows:
- 89 communities served by publicly owned fiber-to-the-home networks
- 74 communities served by publicly owned cable networks
- 179 communities with fiber optic connections available in some areas of town, owned by the community
Interestingly, the ILSR also found 35 communities in 10 states with access to a gigabit from a community owned network. In an announcement about the map, the ILSR notes that “though most fiber optic networks can offer gigabit connections, we are tracking networks that either advertise a gigabit service or have a customer subscribing to that level of service.” Communities with gigabit offerings are flagged with a special marker, as are projects offering dark fiber and projects that were funded by the broadband stimulus program.
The map also color codes states to indicate which ones have barriers to community owned networks. Surprisingly many of those states already have some community owned networks, suggesting that the barriers may have been erected in response to existing projects.
Community owned networks have come under attack from some people who say they are not financially viable – and established cable and telephone companies in some cases have mounted aggressive campaigns to stop projects in the planning phase. Organizers of community networks typically say they tried unsuccessfully to persuade local service providers to deploy broadband and felt they had no choice but to take matters into their own hands.