The citizens group "Campaign for DBQ Municipal Internet" presented a petition to the Dubuque City Council on April 2nd, requesting that the city fully investigate a municipal fiber network.
The petition contained over 600 signatures of Dubuque residents, frustrated by the level of service provided in the community. Mediacom is the incumbent cable provider and CenturyLink is the incumbent telephone company."
Christine Darr, one of the grassroots group organizers, says the FCC's repeal of net neutrality was a primary driver of the effort that began in late 2017. During remarks to the Dubuque City Council, Darr and others pointed out other concerns that are driving their advocacy. In particular, Campaign for DBQ Municipal Internet is urging the City to conduct a feasibility study to fully explore the benefits and costs of a network in the northeast Iowa city of around 58,000. John Swift, (right in screenshot above)a Dubuque resident and professed "internet power user", works from home. "The internet is important for me, and 2017 was a bad year for the internet," Swift told the Council, referring to the net neutrality ruling. "There simply isn't enough competition in Dubuque for me to just choose another internet provider that will protect my privacy and guarantee my content won't be throttled."
Dubuque City Manager Mike Van Milligan says city staff will conduct additional research in order to provide information to the City Council before their budget planning session this summer.
The twenty-first century version of the Colorado gold rush continues unabated. This time around, the gold is fiber optics.
On Tuesday, April 3rd, six more communities in the Mile High state voted to overturn a 2005 state law that prohibits municipal broadband, giving those cities the authority to pursue fiber projects. The towns of Severance, Lake City, Lyons, Frisco, Firestone, and Limon approved the referenda by overwhelming margins, joining over 70 other Colorado communities that have rejected the state law.
After losing yet another court battle against the City of Iowa City and ImOn Communications, Mediacom says it will drop its lawsuit that aimed to block ImOn from providing services in Iowa City.
The lawsuit, filed by Mediacom in 2015, was originally dismissed by the US District Court in 2016. Mediacom appealed to the US Court of Appeals Eight Circuit, and this weeks unanimous ruling of that three-judge panel affirmed the lower court decision.
At issue was an agreement between ImOn Communications of Cedar Rapids and the City of Iowa City for access to space in a city parking ramp for a telecommunications hut and use of city-owned fiber to provide internet and telephone services to businesses. Mediacom claimed the arrangement put them at a competitive advantage and that ImOn should have been required to get a franchise from the City. However, the court ruled that since ImOn is not providing video services - the only service covered under Iowa franchising rules - no franchise is required.
Mediacom has indicated that it will not pursue the issue further in court. Their local franchise with the City of Iowa City expires this summer and the company plans to move Iowa City into its statewide video franchise through the Iowa Utilities Board.
CLICK HERE for a story in the Iowa City Press-Citizen.
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