LTD Broadband, based in Las Vegas, is suing the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) over a recent decision that they say is blocking them from rolling out a $23 million expansion of broadband service in Iowa.
The primary issue at hand is the IUB's denial of LTD's request to expand its status as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC). WIthout that designation, LTD cannot access more than $23 Million that it was orginally awarded under the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) program.
There's a lot of details behind the IUB denial and the FCC's criticism of LTD for not meeting deadlines for various filings. CLICK HERE for an excellent article at the Iowa Capital Dispatch. Even before the FCC and IUB actions, many industry analysts were suspect that LTD had the experience and technical know-how to fulfill the obligations in the areas where they received RDOF funding committments. In their short-form application, LTD talked about offering gigabit services in the awarded areas, but it's never been clear whether they are planning to use fiber, fixed wireless, or some combination of both. And if fixed wireless is the solution, others questioned whether such a product could deliver promised speeds in questionable terrain.
The cities of Fort Pierce and Gainesville, Florida will be making investements in fiber optics to improve broadband access to their citizens.
Fort Pierce is launching a multi-phase effort to expand broadband capabilities in their community of 45,000. Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) has hired Fujitsu Network Communications to plan, design, and deploy the network first in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and eventually city-wide. CLICK HERE for more on the Fort Pierce project.
In Gainesville, City Commissioners have approved a plan to use $9.6 million from the American Rescue Plan to invest in fiber, beginning in East Gainesville which was identified as in the greatest need for bettter broadband. CLICK HERE for more on the Gainesville story.
While the rest of the nation is seeing a steady growth in the number of community broadband networks, two towns in Massachusetts have decided to exit the business by selling their systems to the nation's largest broadband company, Comcast.
Braintree Electric Light Department (BELD) announced its sale on December 2nd and Russell Municipal Cable TV in Springfield, MA announced its deal with Comcast a few days earlier. Both systems are small and were faced with the expense of rebuilding their networks to keep up with growing broadband capacity needs.
Let's hope this isn't part of a larger trend of large corporations attempting to gobble up small independent broadband providers. Comcast, while having a large checkbook, has one of the worst reputations in the industry for customer service.
For more information about the two sales, CLICK HERE to read an article at Fierce Telecom.
Broadband Bytes News
Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.