Muni Fiber and Politics

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

William Herrin wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM, Jay Ashworth <jra at> 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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