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Radio Berkman 223: Fiber City

July 15th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 1.41.47 PMListen:or download | …also in Ogg

Why are over 450 towns in the US building their own high speed Internet networks?

Let’s look at the example of the small town of Holyoke, Massachusetts.

A few years back the town’s mayor asked if the local cable or telephone companies wanted to build a fiber network to serve local schools and municipal buildings. The companies declined. The project was turned over to the local gas and electric utility, HG&E. Eighteen years later, HG&E have expanded this network to serve local businesses, and even other towns in the area. And it turns out this investment has more than paid for itself.

On this week’s episode we talk about what happens when municipal utilities and companies compete to provide local Internet services.

Music by Morgantj “Fresh Doughnuts”

Reference Section:
The report: Holyoke: A Massachusetts Municipal Light Plant Seizes Internet Access Business Opportunities
A terrific map of the 450+ communities deploying their own broadband

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This week’s episode written and produced by Elizabeth Gillis, with Daniel Dennis Jones.

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Entry Filed under: audio,radioberkman

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jim Vandiver  |  July 21st, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    The website, “Community Broadband Networks” ( contains 150 podcasts about this project and others that demonstrate how many places are dealing with the issue of restricted internet access.

  • 2. djones  |  July 22nd, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Terrific resource! Thanks!

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