We at CTC have been true believers for 15 years in the potential of locally-owned fiber, for government use, to serve anchor institutions, and to enable residents and businesses to compete in the national and global economies. And the track record of communities is unparalleled: hundreds of community-based fiber projects around the country serve public safety, schools, libraries, community centers, and the public at lower per-megabit prices than most carrier networks.
So given this tremendous track record and the compelling economics of locally-owned fiber, is it any surprise that President Obama selects locations served by municipal and County fiber networks to make announcements regarding next generation broadband initiatives?
First, the President announced the goals of the ConnectED program at Mooresville Middle School in North Carolina—a school served by MI-Connection, the broadband network owned by the towns of Mooresville and Davidson. Years ago, the towns and the school district worked together to get high-speed wireless Internet access into every classroom and a laptop in the hands of every student beyond the 2nd grade. (CTC was proud to help the cities evaluate the network before they acquired it.) Graduation rates went up—and while the district ranked in the bottom 10 in the state in terms of the amount of money it spent per student, it ranked number two in terms of student achievement.
Then, last February, the President visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Prince George’s County, Maryland to announce that the FCC would set aside $2 billion to bring the kind of high-speed access available to students at that innovative school to schools in the rest of the country. Buck Lodge is served by an advanced fiber network that is owned and operated by Prince George’s County and that delivers some of the fastest speeds to educational institutions of any network in the country.
CTC was proud to be part of planning and designing the Prince George’s County network, which has expanded over more than 15 years from a modest initial footprint to hundreds of schools, libraries, government buildings, and other community anchors.
And today, President Obama is visiting the Gigabit City of Cedar Falls, Iowa to promote his idea of expanding Internet access. Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) is responsible for deploying the only Gigabit network in the state. The city-owned utility is renowned for its prescient, early entry into the broadband arena and credits its municipal fiber network for catalyzing significant economic development in the community.
For us, the President’s broadband travel schedule just confirms something we’ve known all along: local communities have been at the center of broadband innovation for nearly two decades, and their efforts have been to the great benefit of their school children, residents, and businesses.