The Debate Over Muni Broadband Expansion

By Stephanie Kanowitz

As communities across the country continue to clamor for high-speed broadband, the number of critics speaking out against municipal broadband is growing.

At the heart of the debate is whether governments or private industry should have jurisdiction over broadband. Those who favor private industry point to the historical success of capitalism, while “broadband populists,” as a new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) calls them, favor government regulation and operation much like other city services. Continue reading

Town Loses Gigabit Connections After FCC Municipal Broadband Court Loss

English: Availability of 4 Mbps-Capable Broadb...

English: Availability of 4 Mbps-Capable Broadband Networks in the United States by County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carl’s opinion piece is clearly in support of an industry that is very happy to sell equipment to these new customers because the incumbent telco business is not growing very fast, if at all. Allowing government to offer communications services in a particular market is not competing; it is taking it over because they can use bonds (low interest) and taxpayer money to fund these networks. State legislators have created these laws to prevent just these things from happening along with providing protection when half of these ventures go bankrupt.

Telcos are not clean on this because they are using crony capitalism to protect their monopoly or duopoly. If legislators enact such laws they should hold incumbents to the universal service agreement that AT&T adhered for decades.

Continue reading

Broadband could be $125M effort for Fort Collins

Fort Collins, facing west (1875)

Fort Collins, facing west (1875) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Apparently no one properly explained how the wholesale model could be the best option for Fort Collins. Using a wholesale model, the city can attract multiple service providers from local to regional carriers that could boost their utilization well over 30%. Another benefit is that they do not have to keep up the technology arms race that Comcast and CenturyLink will be sure to start. Their consultant really should provide them better advice on the wholesale option.

, kevinduggan@coloradoan.com

Fort Collins residents love their internet. And like technology consumers everywhere, they want their connection to be fast, cheap and reliable. Continue reading

After Legal Defeat, US Mayors Vow to Continue Municipal Broadband Fight

WRITTEN BY SAM GUSTIN

Two weeks after a federal court dealt a major blow to municipal broadband advocates, dozens of US mayors and city leaders vowed on Wednesday to continue the fight for local control of next-generation communications networks.

These community leaders are speaking out after the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to preempt state laws that pose barriers to municipal broadband development. Continue reading

Lafayette eyes municipal broadband, EcoPass for November ballot

By Anthony Hahn
English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting

English: Ballot Box showing preferential voting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following its neighboring communities, Lafayette officials Tuesday will vote to refer several issues to the November ballot — including municipal broadband and an increase in property taxes to fund a citywide EcoPass.

Council members will also vote Tuesday to appoint one of the last seven candidates to fill an open council seat vacated by Tom Dowling.

When Boulder County officials asked residents earlier this year to consider a proposal that would raise property taxes to help fund free mass transit passes, a poll suggested that voters would most likely reject a ballot initiative. Now however, Lafayette officials are hoping that a similar program on a smaller scale will be better received this election cycle. Continue reading

Annette Meeks: Municipal broadband puts taxpayers’ dollars in jeopardy

Although I do not paint as dire picture as Annette Meeks on municipal broadband. There are still several cautionary tales out there that need to be seriously considered by localities when embarking on a municipal broadband project. Most of them have been failures due to poor planning and optimistic projections including the miscalculation of how their commercial competition will respond. In some cases there are no other alternatives than a city to offer their own services, but those are few and far between. There are many creative alternatives that municipalities can implement that increase broadband penetration and offer competition. Continue reading

Big choices ahead as Boulder pursues faster, cheaper broadband

I appreciate that the Daily Camera dedicated so many inches to this topic, but they missed the point that one of the options is that the city provides fiber access to other communications companies that will actually sell services to consumers and businesses. This open-access option is preferred because it allows for greater choice of services and price competition. Additionally it keeps the city out of business of delivering communications services which is fast moving.

Open-access reduces the risk to the city in this venture because it sells infrastructure that all communications providers require including CenturyLink and Comcast. EBP is always used as the poster child of a successful deployment but there are just as many municipal failures like UTOPIA. Even Longmont failed 3 other times in their broadband venture. Selling/leasing the infrastructure to deliver services is more likely to be financially successful for the city, and it will benefit consumers as well. CTC mentioned that there are several service providers willing to offer Internet, phone, and even video services to Boulder residents. I hope that the city makes the best decision and opts for an open-access network. Continue reading