Can Municipal Internet Solve Americas Connectivity Issues?



President Joe Biden has developed an infrastructure plan for the country that could get rid of some of the restrictions that are in place that keep providers from offering broadband for customers. Small towns in Pennsylvania and other states don't have the same access to broadband as larger cities. Some of these towns have decided to build a system of their own to provide broadband for families and businesses.

Branching Out
Cities like Kutztown only have about 5,000 residents, but those residents still need internet service for communicating, working, and going to school and for leisure such streaming TV shows and movies and playing online games. Residents have the option to connect to a broadband network  such as Dish Network that has been established by the city so that they can have the services that they need. This is similar to how a water service would work. The network offers faster speeds as well as reliable connections that sometimes aren't offered by satellite internet connections. Another benefit of the connection through a municipal service is that the prices for internet services are lower. There are a few private providers that have started lowering their rates in order to compete with the municipal option that is available.

Infrastructure
President Biden's plan is roughly $2 trillion and could expand services by providing the funds that companies need to build more structures and networks in rural areas. Broadband has been compared to electricity by President Biden and others who are involved in getting the bill passed. Electricity and other basic services are available to residents across the country, and broadband should be available as well. Expanded broadband services could also benefit the economy as people would have more options for employment. Businesses would also be able to better serve their customers and maintain their finances. If the plan is passed, then it would overstep the boundaries of at least 19 states that have restrictions on municipalities so that they don't compete with some of the larger broadband providers.

Is Municipal Broadband Better?
There have been questions pertaining to the benefits of municipal broadband services and whether they are really needed or if cities should simply step aside and let larger providers continue trying to provide internet services for customers. If there are more municipal options that are cheaper, then larger providers could be forced to lower their rates while offering better services for customers. Some lawmakers and businesses don't want municipal broadband as an option because they see it as an unfair advantage for some of the larger companies that are already established.

Needed Services
Most people involved in the infrastructure plan understand that more people need access to internet services. It's one of the things that the pandemic has brought to the surface. People need to have internet so that they can take classes. They need access to the internet so that they can visit with their medical providers and so that they can work when businesses close. There are about 30 million people across the country who don't have access to internet services at all or who aren't able to afford the services that are available. However, over 75% of people who live in the country have compared the internet to power and water and feel that it's a necessity. Municipal internet services are an option to consider, but there could be challenges if there are no profits due to the competition between smaller providers and larger companies.


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