Mesh/Other muni networking projects
Libraries- As part of the Gigabit Libraries pilot project, a number of libraries have begun sharing their connections with public parks and downtown districts. Here's an article about the project, and an example of a community in Colorado that has used kickstarter to purchase the equipment they need to keep the project going after the initial pilot ends.
Schools- As more and more schools start to move homework online, administrators are plagued by images of kids crowding into McDonals, using their open network to get their school work done. There's growing recognition that connecting the classrooms is not enough; kids need access in their homes. Mesh networks provide a low cost way to use the school's connection to provide internet to their student's homes. And as people in DC revisit the E-Rate program, one data point that drives incumbent ISPs crazy is the amount schools pay for bandwidth in places where a public utility runs a municipal fiber network, versus places where the schools must purchase connectivity from ISPs.
Muni-Fiber- Mayors all across the country are trying to figure out way to offer businesses high-speed, low-cost connectivity. A few are pursuing public-private partnerships with ISPs, but many more are building their own fiber networks, and either making them available on an open-access model, or provide internet, video and phone services through the local public utility. For a great map of all the muni-networking projects in America, click here. Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance is one of the strongest advocates of community-owned communications infrastructure.