Editorial: Martin County officials should weigh potential benefits, risks before commercializing broadband cable network

Seal of Martin County, Florida

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Proceed with caution.

Such is the posture Martin County commissioners should take toward the possibility of commercializing the county’s soon-to-be-installed broadband network.

Recently, commissioners voted 5-0 to spend $100,000 for expert advice to learn how the network could generate revenue and promote economic development and job creation.

In April, the County Commission and county School Board decided to build a broadband cable network. What prompted the decision? Comcast proposed raising rates for access to its dark fiber network to more than $1 million in 2013.

Installation of the county’s Community Broadband Network began two weeks ago and is scheduled for completion later this year. The new system will serve all public entities in Martin County.

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