Originally published: July 8, 2010
Last updated: July 8, 2010 - 9:32pm
Who supports city-owned fiber networks? The US government. Across the country, states have slapped restrictions on cities that want to offer Internet access as a public utility, and the big commercial ISPs have routinely opposed such projects. But what's the federal government's take? "Hey, could you guys use millions of dollars to extend fiber to more people in your communities?" The federal government has generally supported "middle mile" Internet projects with stimulus funding -- that is, projects that connect the Internet backbone to local anchors like schools, governments, and universities, which may in turn offer services to the general public. But the feds are also prepared to support direct end-user Internet projects that can show a compelling track record and evidence that they can secure other funding.