The expansion of publicly owned Fiber to the East Hill Neighborhood in Eau Claire Wi.
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Over the last two decades internet access has become a crucial resource. In the same breadth internet service providers have increased the cost of access to the internet, which was paid for mostly in part by the public. Unfortunately, for many, the only ISP is a large regional monopoly like Charter, Comcast, Time-Warner, or AT&T, all of whom act as gatekeepers to the internet.
In Eau Claire Wisconsin, Charter is the primary ISP. They service over 80% of the residents. Unfortunately this means they have a run on the market, and total car planche when it comes to pricing and servicing speeds. Quite often the service one pays for through them is not the service received. With sporadic, yet persistent, interruptions to service, and both temporary and often permanent reductions in connection speeds.
Beyond the apparent issues with the monopoly that Charter holds in the area, there are two other ISPs who provide service via DSL and Fiber Optic connections in the area. However their reach is limited due to the various factors, the primary of which is the overwhelming cost of laying new fiber optic lines or gaining access to existing DSL lines in the city.
Further consideration must be made regarding net neutrality. Large ISPs, like Charter, are pushing for the removal of current standards under Title II for internet providers as created in 2015 by the then, Democrat controlled, FCC board. These standards ensured that ISPs couldn't throttle connection speed, limit access to certain sites and 3rd party content providers, or break up access in tiered fashion that would limit the scope and accessibility of internet users. These standards were intended to keep the internet open and to treat all web traffic the same. With their repeal access to Netflix, Youtube, Facebook, and even sites like Change.org would more than likely be limited in some fashion by major ISPs.
A publicly owned fiber optic network would give the residents of Eau Claire greater control, allow different ISPs in the area access to new customers and provide actual comparable competition to Charter. And since it would be publicly owned, users of the network would have to agree to standards to use the network; like ensuring net neutrality for all users of the service.
That is why the signers of this petition require the City Council for Eau Claire Wi find a means by which to pay for and install fiber optic networking throughout the city, and to partner with existing ISPs in the city, besides Charter, to provide alternate equitable internet service at a reasonable price to the city's residents.
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