Another week, another gigabit news roundup. In today's edition of Gigabites, rural towns in Minnesota start construction on a new fiber network, the FCC loses its municipal broadband fight in court, Ting Internet reports on the state of its early gigabit deployments and more.
RS Fiber is a collective made up of several towns in rural Minnesota fed up with their existing broadband options. Seven years ago, the small region of Winthrop started the process of seeking new Internet alternatives. Winthrop partnered with more than two dozen of its neighboring municipalities, and together the towns pursued some creative funding strategies for a new network deployment project. As a cooperative, they've raised about $16 million through local government bonds, according to Public Radio International. Local banks have put up the rest of the money with the assurance that government partners will take most of the risk if business model projections don't work out.
The RS Fiber project still has a long road ahead. The plan is to cover more than 6,000 rural households in Minnesota with broadband service, but RS Fiber doesn't expect to finish its network build-out until 2021. When the network is completed, the cooperative will offer Internet service with speeds up to a gigabit per second.
The FCC originally ruled on municipal broadband in North Carolina and Tennessee back in 2015 at the same time that it passed the Open Internet order. The US Appeals Court for the DC Circuit upheld the so-called net neutrality rule in June. That decision is now likely headed to the US Supreme Court. (See FCC Clears Way for Muni Network Expansion and FCC Wins Key Net Neutrality Ruling.)
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading