Muni Fiber and Politics

Miles Fidelman mfidelman at meetinghouse.net
Mon Jul 21 19:04:48 UTC 2014


William Herrin wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM, Jay Ashworth <jra at baylink.com> wrote:
>> Over the last decade, 19 states have made it illegal for municipalities
>> to own fiber networks
> Hi Jay,
>
> Everything government does, it does badly. Without exception. There
> are many things government does better than any private organization
> is likely to sustain, but even those things it does slowly and at an
> exorbitant price.
>
> Muni fiber is a competition killer. You can't beat city hall; once
> built it's not practical to compete, even with better service, so
> residents are stuck with only the overpriced (either directly or via
> taxes), usually underpowered and always one-size-fits-all network
> access which results. As an ISP I watched something similar happen in
> Altoona PA a decade and a half ago. It was a travesty.
>
> The only exception I see to this would be if localities were
> constrained to providing point to point and point to multipoint
> communications infrastructure within the locality on a reasonable and
> non-discriminatory basis. The competition that would foster on the
> services side might outweigh the damage on the infrastructure side.
> Like public roads facilitate efficient transportation and freight
> despite the cost and potholes, though that's an imperfect simile.
>
>
Let's see:
- municipal water supplies work just fine
- about 20% of US power is supplied by municipally owned electric 
utilities, for about 18% less cost (statistics might be a little stale, 
I haven't checked recently)
- about the only gigabit FTTH in the country comes from muni networks
- the anti-muni laws hurt small localities the most, where none of the 
big players have any intent of deploying anything

Miles Fidelman

-- 
In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice.
In practice, there is.   .... Yogi Berra



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