Waterloo, Fastest (Internet) Town in the Midwest

A scene from Waterloo, Iowa by Stephen Cummings via Flickr

I’ve always wanted to do a story on small towns that have faster broadband than even the most wired cities, and an article published by WCFCourrier.com over the holidays reignited that urge. Waterloo, Iowa, will soon have 105 Mbps cable Internet service on the downlink (paired with 10 Mbps on the uplink) thanks to Mediacom, the nation’s eighth-largest cable company, according to the local news site. Prices for the service aren’t set yet. A factor in the decision to pick Waterloo to launch the super-fast service was the town’s willingness to get involved in bringing better broadband to its residents. From the┬ástory::

But [Mike Kohler, VP of government relations for Mediacom] said the company was also pleased with the cooperation it has received from City Hall. City Council members earlier this year approved a franchise amendment allowing the company to move government access channels to its digital lineup, freeing up bandwidth for the DOCSIS 3.0 launch.

I’m not sure what the terms of that franchise agreement are, but what caught my eye is that it might tie broadband service and cable TV service together. Back when time Warner Cable was set to trial a reviled tiered pricing plan, one of the problems local governments had when it came to halting or mitigating such a practice was that the local franchise agreements had nothing to do with broadband access, leaving local city councils no say in how such pricing plans might affect their citizens and city.

No matter what the franchise agreement says or doesn’t say I’m still excited, because while today this is a gimmicky move to put Mediacom and Waterloo on the map, it’s also the sort of gimmick that I’m hoping will turn into an actual trend of faster broadband in all areas of the country. Cablevision’s 101 Mbps service in Long Island hasn’t forced Verizon to launch widespread 100 Mbps downlink service, but I’m not going to argue against faster speeds until I have an option that offers me more than 10 Mbps (outside of TurboBoost) on the downstream and anything more than 500 kbps on the upstream.

Image courtesy of Flickr and Stephen Cummings.

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