Michigan's Lyndon Township set a local election turnout record in August when voters supported a measure to build a municipal fiber network by 2:1 margin. The initiative was largely organized and supported by the Michigan Broadband Cooperative, a local effort to improve Internet access in the community. To better understand their approach, organizing, and future plans, we have three guests on episode 272 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast. Ben Fineman volunteers as the president of the Michigan Broadband Cooperative, Marc Keezer is the Lyndon Township Supervisor, and Gary Munce led the ballot campaign and is also a board member of the Michigan Broadband Cooperative.We discuss a variety of issues around their approach, including how the increased property tax to pay for the network will work. We also discuss the education campaign, next steps, and their hopes for helping other communities avoid at least some of the hard work they went through. Read the transcript for this show here.We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.This show is 30 minutes long and can be played on this page or via iTunes or the tool of your choice using this feed.You can download this mp3 file directly from here. Listen to other episodes here or view all episodes in our index.Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
Though much of western Massachusetts has poor access to the Internet, the town of Leverett is in the midst of fiber build that will offer a gigabit to anyone who wants it. Peter d'Errico, on the town Select Board, has been part of the project from the start and Chairs the Broadband Committee. He joins us for Episode 113 of the Community Broadband [no-glossary]Bits[/no-glossary] podcast.
He and I discuss the great need for the project and inaccurate broadband maps that overstate availablility in the region. We discuss the role of the “municipal light plant” law that gave them the necessary authority to invest in the fiber.
But more interestingly, we talk about how they have structured the financing and prices for subscribers. The network will be repaid both with the revenues from subscribers and a modest bump in the property tax. The kicker is that many households will see their taxes increase a little but the amount they spend on telecom will decrease substantially, resulting in more money in their pockets each month.
We have written about Leverett often over the years, the archive is here. Read the Leverett FAQ here.
You can read a transcript of this discussion here, courtesy of Jeff Hoel.
We want your feedback and suggestions for the show – please e-mail us or leave a comment below. Also, feel free to suggest other guests, topics, or questions you want us to address.
This show is 18 minutes long and can be played below on this page or via iTunes or via the tool of your choice using this feed.
Listen to previous episodes here. You can can download this Mp3 file directly from here.
Find more episodes in our podcast index.
Thanks to Waylon Thornton for the music, licensed using Creative Commons. The song is “Bronco Romp.”