Broadband as a public works project
Municipal broadband: rural electrification for the the internet age?
"Some 60 towns and small cities, including Bristol, Va., Barnsville, Minn., and Sallisaw, Okla., have built state-of-the-art fiber networks, capable of speeds many times faster than most existing connections from cable and telecom companies. An additional two dozen municipalities, including Chattanooga, have launched or are considering similar initiatives."
In terms of adoption, or the percentage of households using broadband, the U.S. ranks 10th out of the 30 leading industrialized countries that are members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, a Paris-based research and policy group. The U.S. was among the leaders in this category at the beginning of the decade. The U.S. fares only slightly better in affordability, ranking 11th most affordable, behind countries such as Italy and Norway.
The U.S. has fallen behind in speed, too. In the same study, conducted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, the U.S. ranked 15th in the average advertised download speed, at 4.9 megabits a second. That's slower than the 17.6 megabits a second in France and the 63.6 megabits a second in Japan, which ranks No. 1 in this category. In other words, it takes a little over two minutes to download a movie on iTunes in Japan, compared with almost half an hour in the U.S. The average U.S. download speed is even slower, according to other estimates.
Seems like one way to avoid local-net and last-mile problems, too.