Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Municipal Cable Puts Laurens On Map

Laurens has been put on the map, thanks to its city-wide municipal cable and broadband service. Few communities on the US have such a system to protect themselves from "a looming broadband monopoly." Laurens built its hybrid fiber optic and coaxial cable system in 1998. The map was created and published last month.

In some states it is illegal to create a broadband service that is owned by the public, due to legislation pushed by corporations such as Comcast and AT & T.

Eighteen other Iowa towns are on the map as well, including Spencer, Storm Lake, Algona, Mapleton, Sanborn, Orange City, and Coon Rapids. Only some 78 cities appear along with Laurens. An additional 54 cities on the map have even better public systems which offer the gold standard--fiber optics into the home.

Together these 133 municipalities serve three million people (just one percent of the USA), according to a report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis.

From the report:
. . it appears that the federal government is
unwilling to stand up to powerful corporations to defend the public good. This is where community owned networks come in. The citizens and businesses in each of the towns on our map have a network that will offer access to the open Internet– because they own the network and they make the rules for it.

The report alleges that elsewhere in the US "Comcast owns the internet" because it owns so much of the infrastructure over which traffic must flow.

The report continues:
Wireless providers may increasingly compete with DSL networks, but cable networks will continue to offer higher capacity connections than either.

Laurens Municipal Power & Communications has a website that details its history and rates for services.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tornado Disaster

The Governor has called Pocahontas County a disaster area after tornadoes struck Saturday night. The towns of Ware and Varina were hard hit. County Sheriff Lampe said seven hog confinement buildings were destroyed along with several homes, but no injuries were reported.

More than five inches of rain fell southeast of Laurens. The Larry and Sonja Perkins farmhouse was undamaged but three other buildings were destroyed and the blue Harvestore silo was toppled.

Farm fields throughout the area now host crinkled sheets of aluminum roofing. Numerous dead ducks and other birds appear on roadways.

Photos and videos are available at this writing at these websites:

The Messenger

KCCI-TV Channel 8

WHO-TV Channel 13

Ware photos