Hundreds facing financial losses from MN muni-broadband network

Lake Maria State Park, Monticello, MN

Lake Maria State Park, Monticello, MN (Photo credit: PugnoM)

By Tom Steward | Watchdog Minnesota

Bill McKenzie’s email was short and to the point.

“I am (an) individual bondholder.  Why doesn’t the city go to the reserve funds and pay the bond interest due on these bonds?  You are hurting bondholders who loaned the city this money,” McKenzie wrote in frustration.

The plea went out last week from the 70-year-Tucson retiree who with his wife lives more than 1,700 miles from the Monticello, Minn., City Council members he attempted to contact.

City officials’ response?  No reply— same as before, he said.

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How To Finance a Community Broadband Network When Incumbents Fight Back

By Craig Settles

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Image via CrunchBase

Municipal broadband networks may the fastest way for smaller communities — and those in areas without much competition — to bring better broadband to their businesses and residents. These networks aren’t generally popular with incumbent communications providers, which have a history of suing to stop them. However, their tactics have changed.

In 2005, the main goal of large incumbent telcos and cable companies was to try for an outright ban on municipal networks. As the public vigorously fought back, incumbents switched to creative assaults on communities’ ability to find or use money to pay for networks. Eighteen states have restrictive muni network legislation (see map) that makes building a community-owned network impossible or difficult, especially when it comes to funding them.

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