Local governments and communities are faced with a dilemma when it is not commercially feasible for one or more companies to serve suburban and rural areas with competitive broadband services. Communities recognize that broadband networks contribute to their economic vitality so citizens ask them to pick up the ball where commercial enterprises will not go. Should local governments compete with commercial enterprises where they may have an unfair advantage? No. Government should facilitate the growth and creation of businesses; not compete with them. Local governments can do this by only deploying the fiber infrastructure and selling access to the fibers to any communication services provider that want to offer services in a community. This open access infrastructure promotes business in a community and gives consumers a choice of what services they want to purchase. The state of Tennessee should amend its’ law to allow communities and local governments to deploy fiber infrastructure and promote public/private partnerships when necessary to encourage competition for broadband services.
The results of a study commissioned by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) to evaluate broadband access throughout the state may encourage state lawmakers to rethink long-stalled legislation when the 110th General Assembly convenes in January. Continue reading