What happens when a community treats the Internet like an essential service? Local businesses and residents gain world-class Internet access at reasonable prices with exemplary customer service. A new video explores how one community in Oregon, Sandy, built its own fiber network and offers one of the best deals for Internet access in the country.
The basic connection from SandyNet costs $40/month and delivers 100 Mbps symmetrical access -- which means that subscribers can upload at the same fast speeds they download. Cable and DSL networks typically have much slower upload speeds, which harms local businesses and implicitly encourages people to be consumers rather than producers of content. That makes it harder for community members to speak out and tell their own stories about the issues that matter most.
Anyone that desires a full symmetrical gigabit connect can get it for $60/month, an incredible deal.
In the video, a local business describes how SandyNet has dramatically improved its Internet access while actually lowering its telecommunications bill.
This is a stirring reminder of how local governments can invest in themselves to improve Internet access. Oregon is not one of the 20 states that limit local authority, as North Carolina did and was detailed in a case study co-written by Common Cause and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance: The Empire Lobbies Back.
Earlier this year, the FCC overturned North Carolina's limits on municipal networks but the state has appealed the decision to stop cities like Wilson from connecting neighbors with high quality Internet access, giving them a real choice in providers.
Competition benefits everyone. Consumers get higher speeds and better prices. Just as important it keeps Big Cable honest – as they improve service to limit customer defections.
Office: Common Cause National
Issues: Media and Democracy
Tags: Broadband for All