The growth of municipal broadband networks

Paul Graydon paul at paulgraydon.co.uk
Fri Mar 25 13:31:21 CDT 2011


http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/03/133-us-cities-now-run-their-own-broadband-networks.ars

Ars Technica has a short article up about the growth of municipal 
networks, but principally a nice little 'hey check out this website' 
(http://www.muninetworks.org/communitymap)

The whole scenario around municipal broadband networks in a hopefully 
unbiased nutshell:  Increasing numbers cities and counties seem to be 
getting frustrated with what they see as the lack of progress in 
broadband speeds from their incumbent provider(s) (even after incumbent 
provider(s) have been approached requesting faster speeds) and are 
deciding to do it themselves.  Chattanooga, Tennessee has become the 
poster child for the idea, able to offer 1Gbps to users and businesses 
at competitive prices ($150 pcm.)

I'm curious how the feeling is on NANOG about shifting such provision 
towards municipal instead of corporations?  I guess a rough summary of 
the competing views I've heard so far are:

+ It's fair and valid competition in the market, which is encouraging 
major ISPs to innovate instead of resting on their laurels and trying to 
do the bare minimum necessary to maintain their position and profits, an 
attitude that is stifling other economic growth?

- Local government is sticking its nose in where it shouldn't, providing 
unfair competition and stifling normal market processes.  Municipalities 
are operating on the false belief that large bandwidth will 
automatically bring silicon valley to them, without understanding the 
bigger picture.  That it's time, money and resources better spent on tax 
incentives or other means of encouraging businesses.

Paul





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