Toolkit

Tools for Cities and Citizens 

You know what is best for your community’s infrastructure needs. The time is ripe to reap the benefits of municipally-owned fiber. 

Fiber optic internet is the future of broadband. Need a little help understanding it? Click here or on the title below and get ready to explore the world of fiber.

A Complete Guide to Fiber Optic Internet

  • This easy-to-understand guide tells you everything you need to know about fiber Internet, including how it works and how to build it.

photo by frannz-morzo

Learn from Others 

Canmore Broadband Strategic Plan

  • This easy-to-read report models how Canmore, Alberta has approached their municipal broadband plan. It provides a great template for other local governments to follow and includes a needs assessment, a feasibility study, a best practices review, and broadband strategy recommendations.

Community Broadband Podcasts

Community Broadband Bits is a short weekly audio show featuring interviews with people building community networks. Listen and discover how communities are investing in their own Internet infrastructure to promote economic prosperity and improve quality of life. Click here and enjoy the show!

Handy Guides

These short, engaging info sheets were created by the US-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a community broadband superstar. Click on the document titles below, and the guides will open in a new window. Happy reading!

Broadband 101

  • A handy guide to the basics of broadband terminology and technology for policymakers and concerned citizens.

Satellite Is Not Broadband

  • High-quality connectivity needs to be fast, affordable, and reliable. Satellite is none of the three.

Muni Fiber Models

  • Community networks have a variety of models, from offering full retail services to dark fiber approaches. Each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses and will appeal differently to different communities.

Broadband is Affordable Infrastructure

  • Local governments spend millions building electric systems, water lines, roads, and bridges. They subsidize the development of airports, sports stadiums, and public parks. Hundreds of communities across the U.S. have now also invested in municipal broadband networks that provide residents with affordable, high-quality Internet access.

Municipal Networks Deliver Local Benefits

  • Given the importance of Internet access to modern businesses and quality of life, some local governments have invested in networks that have revitalized local economies and saved taxpayers dollars. Many of these networks allow local Internet Service Providers to use the infrastructure, creating competition.

Community Broadband Creates Public Savings

  • The communities profiled here have found cost-effective ways of delivering high-speed broadband connections.

Community Broadband Creates Jobs

  • Community-owned fiber networks deliver the highest capacity connections at far greater levels of reliability than wireless, cable and DSL companies — they are focused on helping local businesses, not extracting monopoly profits.

How Municipal Networks are Financed

  • Hundreds of local governments across the U.S. are offering Internet access to local businesses and/or residents, often in reaction to a lack of fast, affordable, and reliable connections in their community. Contrary to popular belief, none of the most common means of financing the network involves increasing local taxes. These are the three most common methods, but many networks have used a combination of these tools.

Creative Funding Sources for Fiber Infrastructure

  • Local leaders are finding creative ways to pay for publicly owned infrastructure. In addition to the three most common methods of funding municipal networks — revenue bonds, interdepartmental loans, and avoided costs — communities are using new low risk, low cost techniques to deploy much needed fiber optic networks.

Municipal Networks: Speed Increases & Affordable Prices

An overview of the change in prices and speeds for Tennessee’s municipal networks.