For Some US Towns, Internet Access is DIY

As providers focus on big markets, locals take net into own hands
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 19, 2008 3:07 PM CDT
An operator holds a fiber optic cable used to calculate the irrigation of the land on the outskirts of Valencia, east Spain, Thursday May 17, 2007.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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(Newser) – Around the world, firms and governments are ramping up the speed and availability of internet access. But in the US, telecoms are focusing mainly on big-city markets. To avoid professional brain drain, some smaller cities and towns are investing in more powerful infrastructure, the Wall Street Journal reports. But the risks, and burdens, are great, and some private providers are resisting new competition.

Last month, Comcast sued the Chattanooga, Tenn., city utility, claiming it undermined competition. Still, places like Chattanooga feel they have no choice: "With the rivers and the mountains, young people want to live here," says one entrepreneur. "But you need good bandwidth to work here."