In an effort to expand access to high-speed internet service for residents in their communities, many municipalities are building their own broadband networks. But they face growing opposition from the telephone and cable industries in what is shaping up as a battle over U.S. internet policy with important implications for schools.

Internet traffic is growing faster than at any time since the boom of the late-1990s, and communities from coast to coast are trying hard not to get stuck in the internet slow lane. Some 60 towns and small cities, such as Bristol, Va.; Barnsville, Minn.; and Sallisaw, Okla., have built...

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