Syracuse looks to install city-wide high-speed broadband

The mayor realizes how important broadband is to the city’s future, but her approach to enter into becoming a service provider is off mark. The government should enter into a business enterprise ONLY when it is not feasible for a private company. Syracuse already has two retail communications provider and others that serve businesses. It is correct that communications companies are challenged to build last-mile infrastructure so maybe they should consider constructing infrastructure and lease access to different communications providers.

Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Mayor Stephanie Miner is in the early stages of researching installing broadband internet fiber in the City of Syracuse.

The mayor says high speed internet should be a public service, almost as important as trash pick-up and water.

Miner said high-speed internet is “the modern day equivalent of infrastructure.”

She adds, “It’s clear that broadband is going to be a foundation of our new economy.”

Syracuse has struggled to pay for roadwork, so taxpayers may be concerned how it will pay for fiber.

Initial financing for installation is still part of the early research and planning, but users will still pay a subscription for the internet, just pay it to the city instead of Time Warner Cable or Verizon. The money will be re-invested into maintaining the technology.

Miner says that small companies have decided against Syracuse as a home because fast internet isn’t offered.

She says big internet providers like Verizon and Time Warner Cable will not consider service in the city or they charge too much.

City leaders are looking at other cities that now have broadband, like Chattanooga, Tenn. With a similar population to Syracuse, half of the residents use the city-owned service for around $70 a month. It also brought 1000 jobs.

Verizon released a statement to NewsChannel 9 saying, “We offer FiOS in some surrounding communities. Currently offering speeds at up to 500 megabits per second, though our network has been successfully tested at 10 gigabit a per second.Customer demand will determine what speed we offer in the future. As far as FiOS expansion is concerned, Verizon is presently focusing its resources on meeting its franchise obligations to those municipalities where it currently provides cable television service and has no plans to expand FiOS in New York.”

Time Warner Cable said, “We’ve shown more than interest in delivering superfast speeds to Syracuse and Central New York, particularly for business customers. When it comes to municipal broadband offerings, our overriding concern is a level playing field: it’s difficult to compete with a regulator and be regulated by a competitor. So as long as there are measures in place to ensure a level playing field, we have no objection to municipal networks in areas already served by commercial providers, including Time Warner Cable. And obviously we have no objection to municipal networks for unserved areas.”

Miner said no timeline for installation has been established and no final decisions are made.

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About Mark Milliman

Mark Milliman is a Principal Consultant at Inphotonics Research driving the adoption and assisting local governments to plan, build, operate, and lease access open-access municipal broadband networks. Additionally, he works with entrepreneurs and venture capitalists to increase the value of their intellectual capital through the creation of strategic product plans and execution of innovative marketing strategies. With more than 22 years of experience in the telecommunications industry that began at AT&T Bell Laboratories, Mark has built fiber, cable, and wireless networks around the world to deliver voice, video, and data services. His thorough knowledge of all aspects of service delivery from content creation to the design, operation, and management of the network is utilized by carriers and equipment manufacturers. Mark conceived and developed one of the industry's first multi-service provisioning platform and is multiple patent holder. He is active in the IEEE as a senior member. Mark received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.
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