In 2010, Chattanooga, TN became the first city in the United States to make gigabit access to all residents and businesses, when its municipally-owned electric utility, the Electric Power Board (EPB), deployed fiber-optic cable as part of a major upgrade to the entire power grid. This massive initiative, called “Gig City,” was funded in part by a $111 million federal grant (through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act), along with a $169 million loan taken out by EPB.
- Chattanooga Case Study on Strategic Broadband Infrastructure Investment: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/health/documents/healthy-places/successfulcasestudies/TRRN_CS_Chattanooga_Broadband_Infrastructure_2013.pdf
- About the Electric Power Board: https://epb.com/about-epb
Governor Brian Kemp launched the Georgia Broadband Availability Map in July 2020, which details location-specific data about broadband availability throughout the state. Location-specific data provides a more detailed reflection of household broadband availability than the available FCC maps, which use aggregate data. This effort will enable government agencies to better track progress towards connectivity in underserved areas, while also stimulating investment from private providers. The initiative was completed as a partnership between private providers, the Georgia Broadband Office, and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
- Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative: https://broadband.georgia.gov/maps
The Minnesota Legislature created the Border to Border Broadband Development Grant Program in 2014, with the goal of providing resources to new and existing providers to expand broadband infrastructure to underserved areas. The program awards up to 50 percent of a project’s total costs, with maximum awards of $5 million. The State of Minnesota has set a goal of ensuring all residents have high speed internet access by 2022.
- Minnesota Broadband Grant Program: https://mn.gov/deed/programs-services/broadband/grant-program/
Fort Collins, Colorado
In 2017, voters in Fort Collins approved a proposal authorizing the city to establish a telecommunications utility to provide broadband services. During the campaign to pass the ballot initiative, proponents brought community residents together to educate them on the facts and benefits of municipal networks, and to ultimately gain buy-in from the community, through gatherings dubbed “Broadband and Beers.” In 2019, the city launched its community-owned fiber network, Fort Collins Connexion, to bring gigabit-speed internet services to all residents and businesses in the area.
- Fort Collins Connexion: https://ourcity.fcgov.com/citybroadband