A push by cities across the country to get into the business of the Internet is raising concerns that local governments, with Washington’s blessing, are meddling where they are not needed — and wasting taxpayer dollars in the process.
The push was fueled earlier this year, when President Obama in January introduced a plan for municipal broadband projects which, according to the administration, would encourage “competition and choice” while offering a “level-playing field” for high-speed Internet access. Continue reading
Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night from Dr. Jose Rizal Park in Seattle, WA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Frankly I’m austounded that the Seattle city council voted against the plan because they have consistiently behaved as if the government could always do things better than private enterprise. They have been stung once so this time they are being a bit smarter at their approach. The city has discovered the risk of competing with public enterprises and that broadband services are not necessarilly an utility.
Last week we noted that Seattle was once again considering building its own gigabit fiber network. More specifically, some city council leaders had proposed spending $5 million on a gigabit fiber network. More specifically, some city council leaders had proposed spending $5 million on a gigabit fiber build the neighborhood of North Beacon Hill, then moving forward with a larger, $480 million to $665 million network if the trial deployment showed promise. But the city council this week voted down the idea, striking a blow for a growing number of Seattle residents who — tired of CenturyLink and Comcast service — want to explore the idea of broadband as a utility. Continue reading
(TNS) — A Boulder City Council operating at less than half-strength pondered Thursday night how the city can best make use of its existing fiber infrastructure to deliver improved Internet service, without assuming too great a financial risk.
There is no debating that fiber is the future of high-speed Internet, and Boulder is sitting on about 100 miles of it. But to get from where it is today to a fiber-to-the-home service that covers the city, Boulder is either going to have to do that itself, a la Longmont, or partner with a private company that would set up the last-mile fiber the city needs, or both. Continue reading
Lake Oswego is taking the right tact here by considering a public-private partnership, but the should structure it in such a way where other service providers, even Google, can access the network to sell competitive services. By doing this they reduce the risk by spreading the infrastructure costs over more service providers. After a while even the incumbent providers will take advantage of the infrastructure. The private partner would build, operate, and maintain the fiber network so they would be adequately compensated for their efforts.
Drew Clark, Publisher, BroadbandBreakfast.com
LAKE OSWEGO, Oregon, October 14, 2015 – This suburb of Portland, a potential candidate for Google Fiber’s Gigabit-speed internet service, has said it isn’t willing to wait around for the search engine giant. Continue reading
Optic fiber (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
BOULDER — The city of Boulder announced on Thursday that it has hired a consultant to conduct a broadband feasibility study, which will assess the technical aspects of building out municipal broadband services, as well as engage community members about what services they might like to see the city provide.
The goal is to have the study completed by May or June of 2016 so that, if the city council does decide to move forward with providing certain services, there would be time to place an initiative on the November ballot, if needed, to ask voters to fund such efforts. Continue reading
Stories about cities and local governments entering the broadband services without properly understanding the market dynamics are plentiful. Peachtree City’s naivety was shown in the initial steps of their due diligence yet they went ahead anyway. A cottage industry of consultants have popped up to scam taxpayer dollars to perform studies to tell cities what they want to hear, but they don’t accurately point out the dangers and risk associated with municipal broadband efforts.
Claims of wide private-sector interest in signing up for the recently approved municipal broadband service in Peachtree City, Georgia, were exaggerated by the consultant hired to determine whether the proposal made financial sense, according to emails obtained by Watchdog.org.
The consultant, Allen Davis, owner of the Savannah-based Community Broadband, couldn’t have described the supposed need any more clearly when he spoke to city council members Sept. 17. Davis said he surveyed 76 business owners about the private Internet service they already had and “100 percent of the ones that responded to our request” said they would be interested in signing up for government-run broadband service. Based on those assurances, city officials voted unanimously to approve Davis’ plan at a cost of $3.2 million.
Emails exchanged among city council members and Davis paint a different picture.
According to a document attached to an email from city Finance Director Paul Salvatore to Davis, city officials reached out to 25 businesses in the city in April and May to gauge their interest. Twelve business owners expressed some degree of interest.
Fort Collins and Loveland voters overwhelmingly passed measures on Tuesday night that grant their cities the authority to provide municipal broadband Internet services to residents.
Final unofficial voting results in Larimer County, as of 1:11 a.m. Wednesday morning, showed Fort Collins voters passing measure 2B in favor of municipal broadband authority with more than 83 percent of the vote. Loveland’s similar measure 2C passed with just shy of 83 percent approval. Continue reading