Technology

Fed Up, US Cities Take Steps to Build Better Broadband

Government shouldn't be in the broadband Internet business — fierce private sector competition has made the Internet an epicenter of innovation and technological development.(Toby Talbot/AP Photo)
Government shouldn’t be in the broadband Internet business — fierce private sector competition has made the Internet an epicenter of innovation and technological development. (Toby Talbot/AP Photo)

 

(Ars Technica) – State and local governments aren’t typically known for leading the way on technology. Remember that West Virginia library that uses a $20,000 router for a building the size of a trailer?

But all that’s changing fast, at least at the municipal level—and the demand for broadband is what’s driving this shift. No longer content to let residents suffer from poor Internet access, cities and towns saw a need to boost their tech savvy. Now many are partnering with technologists in order to take matters into their own hands.

While some municipalities have taken on the extraordinarily complex task of building their own networks, others have succeeded with lower-tech methods. Streamlining permitting processes and readying public infrastructure has helped some draw in new ISPs such as Google Fiber. Other cities and towns are taking advantage of legal processes to pressure incumbents into offering better and cheaper service. And still other cities are laying fiber conduits every time construction workers dig up the ground for unrelated projects, allowing quicker upgrades from cable and copper. In all these ways, cities and towns are showing that smart management can be just as important as high-tech systems when it comes to making broadband accessible and affordable to everyone.

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