The opposition has cited the cities below (out of over 620) where they say a municipal broadband utility has failed… They ALSO SAY that there aren’t any other communities out there who are providing Fiber To The Home (FTTH). That’s news to the 217 communities who belong to the FTTH Council. Check out the list here. And these are not little communities stuck out in the cornfields where there is no competition for service!
This is news to the folks in Tacoma, whose municipal broadband utility is operating IN THE BLACK and has not resulted in a tax hike. What has happened in Tacoma is that they are not reaching their projected market share as quickly as they predicted. But the utility is alive and well and making money. Check out their public utility. Click the “Click! Network” link on the left side of their page.
And read this recent article in Wired News about Tacoma …
The Charge: To pay for increased capital costs for their fiber system, Tacoma Public Utilities imposed a 50% surcharge on local electric bills.
Response From The Utility: ” I am aware of your citizens group, your upcoming Tri City Broadband Referendum and the aggressive media campaign by those in opposition to your efforts. I review DSL Reports regularly and would like to set the record straight about Click! Network, for those who are interested in facts rather than propaganda.
Click! Network was constructed primarily for the utility’s use, and would have been built whether we deployed commercial services (cable TV, Internet services and data services) or not. I’ve attached a document with a brief history, in hopes the accurate story about Click! will be shared.
To date, Click! serves 21,500 cable TV customers (32% of the homes the network passes), 6,500 high-speed Internet over cable modem customers, and several dozen businesses with high-speed data lines. Our commercial revenues are covering our operating expenses. Efficiencies to the utility have been considerable since Click! facilities are connected to remote terminal units on utility poles around the city. Electric technicians can monitor the health of the power network and dispatch repair crews to exact locations, in a fraction of the time it use to take. Eventually, the utility will be able to automatically connect and disconnect power services and read meters, increasing operational efficiencies.
Attempts by others to thwart competition should be examined carefully. Competition in Tacoma has meant increased customer service by all providers, lower prices, more choice and a boost to economic development. Since Tacoma Power’s investment in Click! Network, the City of Tacoma now markets itself as “America’s Most Wired City” and has lured high-tech businesses to the area.
An important note, those opposing your efforts have erroneously connected Tacoma Power’s surcharge during the energy crisis with Click! Network, when in fact the two have no connection at all. At the beginning of the energy crisis (winter 2000), Click! was already constructed in Tacoma and Tacoma Power had over $100,000,000 in cash reserves, which is triple the amount we carry on an operating basis for contingencies. The utility was determining the best way to invest it when the energy crisis hit. Unfortunately the $100,000,000 was not enough, and the utility chose to initiate a surcharge.
Those with questions about Click! Network can find additional information at our web site at www.click-network.com. Sincerely, Diane R. Lachel,Government and Community Relations Manager, Click! Network, Tacoma Power”
UPDATE 08/12/04 :
From: Lachel, Diane
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2004 4:46 PM
To: ‘Annie Collins’
Subject: Click!’s response to SBC’s report
Feel free to use any of this information on your web site.
As you know, there has been an organized effort by private industry to discredit municipal telecommunication networks. The information about Click! Network in SBC’s report (“Failed Municipal Fiber Networks”) is the same old, tired, out-of-context story from previous industry sponsored reports. Here’s the real story:
1. Tacoma Power constructed a telecommunications network for their own needs (to connect 65 substations to a centrally located Energy Control Center for the purpose of monitoring the electric system, managing energy load, automatically reading meters, automatically connecting and disconnecting meters, etc.) because the incumbent telephone company and incumbent cable TV company could not provide the capacity the utility required. During the design phase of the network, Tacoma Power decided to add other capacity (for cable TV, data transport and Internet services) on the advice of Stanford Research Institute when their conclusive research showed the Tacoma area was underserved.
2. Arthur Anderson and the Washington Institute Foundation (both cited in the SBC report) based their analysis on an initial planning document (revised after telecom experts were hired) which was one of many elements the policy makers used to authorize the utility to move forward with building Click! Network. The $40 million cited in the SBC report was never adopted as the budget. Instead, $92 million was approved by the Utility Board and City Council over a two biennium period to fund the network. SBC continues to perpetuate inaccuracies from two flawed reports.
3. According to the Public Utility Board, the Tacoma City Council, the Tacoma Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Board, The News Tribune and thousands of residential and business customers – Click! Network is a huge success.
4. SBC’s link between Tacoma Power’s rate increase and Click! Network has no basis in fact. Public utilities follow a very detailed rate case process, complete with public input. SBC’s report shows a lack of understanding of the industry they attempt to discredit. The rate increase (the first in 5 years) was related solely to the energy crisis of 2000-01. Today, Tacoma Power customers pay some of the lowest rates for electricity in the country.
5. In the cities where Click! Network services are available (Tacoma, University Place and Fircrest) prices for cable TV and high-speed Internet are 20 – 25% lower than areas where competition does not exist.
6. Since Click! began providing services, both the incumbent telephone provider and the incumbent cable TV provider have rebuilt their networks, something that hadn’t been done in the previous 25 years.
7. Since Click! began providing services, the timeframe for making business fiber connections decreased from 18 months (quoted by US West in 1997) to 30 days (quoted by Click!).
I hope SBC didn’t invest too much on the report. It appears they didn’t get their money’s worth, if accuracy was a goal.
Diane R. Lachel
Government and Community Relations Manager
Click! Network / Tacoma Power
3628 South 35th Street
Tacoma, WA 98409-3192
Again, news to the folks in Coldwater! Their broadband utility is a screaming success, unlike the source in Crain’s who cited this town as an example of a failure. The Coldwater Communications Manager for the Board of Public Utilities wrote to us and said, “I just want to set the record straight. We are not losing money. We are actually operating in the black. We currently have 65% of the homes in Coldwater that have cable television service. We also have 50% of those customers receiving High Speed Internet service.” Check out their public utility. Click the Internet Services link at the bottom of their page.
Another response from Coldwater to the Comcast ad:
The ad says “Other municipal utilities provided nearly $3M in loans to help build the system in the late 1990′s. These loans were never repaid and were later converted into equity investments.”
“This is Lindy Cox with the Coldwater board of public utilities in Coldwater Michigan.
The statement you read over the phone to me is basically correct, except it’s actually a little less than $3m, but that fiber & equipment was actually constructed for the utilities backbone and it connects the electrical substations, the water towers, the lift stations and a number of our offices. That equipment is also available for future remote meter reading and electrical demand functions and that sort of thing. That equipment & fiber is owned by the electrical, the water and the waste water departments and it’s actually maintained by the telcom department, but we don’t own it. That’s why the transfer of equity to the departments who actually loaned us the money to construct that portion of the network. The statement is basically correct , but it’s kind of taken out of context if you will.”
The city of Coldwater, Mich., this week became the nation’s first municipality to sell Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, telephone service to its residents. See full story at http://news.com.com/2100-1037-5072093.html .
From the city of Hillsdale:
“The City of Hillsdale did extensive work toward the construction of a broadband telecommunication utility, but we were never able to get a financing package that was affordable. We had voter approval to issue $10,000,000 in revenue bonds, but our timing with the financial community was very poor. We were looking for money at the time many telecom businesses were in deep financial trouble. All of our research indicated that we could build a self sustaining telecom utility and save our residents significant amounts of money. When we failed to attract any investment with the revenue bond approach we went back to the voters and asked for permission to issue general obligation bonds to build the project. This effort was defeated by the incumbent cable company and we dropped the project at that time. Hillsdale’s broadband utility did not fail as it was never constructed. The tactics that are being used by the incumbent providers is the same used all across the country to keep out municipal competition. A community can do this and make it work if there is deep community support. For a municipal that has built a broadband system and is making work contact Lindey Cox with Coldwater Board of Public Utilities at email@example.com. We did accomplish getting Comcast to build out fiber into our community and offering some of the broadband services we were working toward, but we still do not have competition. It looks to me like your communities are doing the right thing and I hope it is successful. Best of Luck. Rick J. Rose”
The Charge: Doing business as Hometown Utilicom, completed construction of a FTTH network. To date they have only achieved a 14% penetration rate.
Response from Utility: Currently at 25 percent penetration rate. Started offering services in August of 2002. Also won 2003 Governor’s Award for Local Excellence. Click here to see their response!
TO: Annie Collins, Tri-City Broadband
RE: Response to claims made about the Borough of Kutztown
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to information that was distributed as part of a Tri-City Broadband meeting.
It is our understanding that an opponent of your project distributed a flier entitled “Failed Municipal Fiber Networks,” citing the Borough of Kutztown. The flier cited only one source, “Philadelphia Inquirer, Bucolic Kutztown Split Over High-Tech Gamble, June 18, 2004.” All of the negative information provided in that article (and that which was sited on the handout) was provided by Kutztown Mayor Gennaro Marino. It is very interesting that the distributor of the information chose to focus on Mayor Marino’s comments in a single article and ignore the numerous positive comments by the Borough’s Director of Information Technology, Frank Caruso, in the same article. They also chose to ignore the numerous other positive articles about Kutztown’s FTTH project. Debate about the spending of public funds on FTTH networks should be robust and vigorous, however the entire public process is damaged when partial or misinformation is propagated.
If the distributor of the information had made the effort to communicate with representatives of the Borough, staff, Council members, consultants or residents, they would have discovered:
• The Shpigler Group, a well-respected Telecommunications consulting firm from Nyack, NY, recently completed a thorough study of the financial viability of Kutztown’s Telecommunication project. On June 15, 2004, Shpigler presented their findings to the Borough Council and public. As part of this presentation, it was shown that in 2004 Telecommunications revenue is greater than Telecommunications operating expense. Projections prepared by Shpigler showed a positive financial future for the project.
• In two short years the network has provided our community with many direct and indirect benefits: lower cable television rates, access to broadband Internet, lower phone prices, a community television channel, remote monitoring of utilities, reduction in cost for the Borough’s internal telecommunication needs, a soon to be launched home security system, wireless broadband to otherwise un-served businesses, and new and expanded opportunities for local businesses.
• The elected officials of this community, in planning the Telecommunications project, accepted a timeline of seven years before the venture would reach profitability. This is the timeline and plan that Kutztown is following, in fact, the project is on pace to meet this goal earlier than expected.
• And finally, that our community is very much in support of the Borough’s Telecommunications project.
If the distributor of the information would have made the effort to communicate with the Borough they would have discovered that Mayor Marino was not involved in the planning or implementation of our FTTH project. He has refused to understand the financial and technical aspects of the project, despite considerable time spent by Borough staff. Beyond the Borough’s Telecommunications project, since his election, Mayor Marino has done everything in his power to disrupt the operations of the Borough of Kutztown. He has cost the Borough thousands of dollars in legal fees and incalculable amount of frustration, delay and waste. He has publicly and aggressively disagreed with every member of current and past Councils, three (3) different attorneys from the Borough Solicitor’s firm, the Borough’s bond Counsel, Borough Special Counsel, the Borough’s independent auditor, the past Borough Manager and numerous current employees.
The Borough of Kutztown is proud of its long history as a pioneer in the provision of municipal utilities. Since 1907 the Borough has managed a public electric utility, since 1917 the Borough has operated a public water system and in 1940 the Borough began to operate a public sewer system. Last year, in only the second year of our Telecommunications project, the Borough received the Governor’s Award of Local Government Excellence, through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, for Information Technology. In the 21st century knowledge economy, fiber optic communications systems will be as important as other public utilities in determining the economic viability and growth of a region, the Borough of Kutztown will be ready.
I would like to wish your community good luck as you debate a public FTTH network. I invite anyone from the Tri-City Broadband to contact our Borough Manager, Jaymes Vettraino or our Director of Technology, Frank Caruso if you are interested in discussing Kutztown’s FTTH project.
Borough Council President
Cc: Jaymes Vettraino, Borough Manager
Frank Caruso, Director of Technology
The Charge: Doing business as City Light Water and Cable, was audited by an independent auditor for fiscal years 2000 and 2001. The auditor concluded that the cable department reported a net loss of $906,644 for fiscal year ’01. City Light Water and Cable is in the eighth year of operation.
Response from Utility: “Good morning, I am Rhonda Davis, Chief Financial Officer at City Light Water & Cable. The utility here in Paragould operates separately from the City. The Mayor forwarded your questions to me.
1. How long has Paragould been operating its own utilities? Electric since 1938, water/sewer – unsure of exact year – but a long time ago, cable – since 1991.
2. How was it paid for? Is there any outstanding debt? I am assuming you only want answer for cable – General Obligation Bonds. Yes, there is O/S debt.
3. Has it been operating in the red or black? how many years? It has been operating in the black since 1998 when we bought the competing cable company – Cablevision, Inc.
4. What is the general feeling from tax payers? Was it worth it? Are they happy with their services? Do they have other provider options? Taxpayers like having their own system. The rates charged are much lower than private companies – we only need profit enough to pay debt, and maintain/upgrade the system. A group of citizens in the town decide the programming that is carried. Was it worth it – yes. But lots and lots of work for the utility- but worth it for the citizens. The other option they have now (since 1998) is satellite.”
Response from Utility to the full-page Comcast ad that features them as a failure:
I will be glad to respond to this article. Our 2001 audit report (which is on our website -www.clwc.com indicates that the cable department had a “net loss” of $263,114. Anyone that has a basic understanding of financial statements will know that “net loss” is not “cash flow.” Non-cash expenses (depreciation and amortization) of $230,592 are included in the net loss. We are anticipating a rate increase this year. Our goal is to keep rates just at the level to pay debt and maintain the system – we are not in the business to make big profits.
In response to the statement I supposedly made “The programming costs are killing us” – programming cost do increase every year. Anyone that enters into this business needs to be prepared for that. Several years after we went into the cable TV business we started charging a “Programming Cost Adjustment (PCA)” which passed cable programming costs into the customer each month. For example, if the cost of programming to provide 64 channels per month to each customer increases by $1.25 , that amount is passed through to the customer. With programming cost being passed through, the only time the utility should have to have a rate increase would be for operating and maintenance expenses, or if debt is issued for a major capital project- which should not be often. Our last increase was in 1999.
Our rate for 64 expanded basic channels is $22.87per month. In a town 15 miles from here their cable company is Cox – their rate is $35.50 for 53 channels. To our knowledge we are the lowest priced cable TV service in our state and probably the surrounding states. The competing cable company (Cablevision, Inc.) sold to the city in 1998.
Our citizens have a cable programming selection committee made up of a cross-section of the community. They decide the programming that will be carried. Our customers like being able to have a say in the programming they get. The level of service offered to our customers was a drastic improvement over the previous provider. In addition, they can personally talk with management of the cable division and express their opinions and make suggestions.
While entering the cable TV business was a major task for the utility it has been good for the citizens of our town. We could easily charge rates sufficient to show big profits – so the headlines can look more favorable – but that is not what we are in the business for. We are here to offer a top-rate service at the lowest price possible, while still maintaining financial soundness. That is why the citizens voted to spend the money and issue the debt to build and maintain their own system. It was a wise choice.
Chief Financial Officer
City Light Water & Cable
The Charge: Had to issue revenue bonds on three occasions in order to finance the cable system because it has consistently lost money since it began ownership in the early 1990′s.
Response from Utility: “Well, this is the first time I have seen our project classified as a failure because we had to issue bonds! This charge is ridiculous. The Glasgow Electric Plant Board does issue revenue bonds about every three years. We do this to finance our capital construction projects. We finance all projects which are going to be depreciated over twenty years so that the customers getting the services from those projects also pay for them over their useful life. This is common for municipal projects of this sort. It has nothing to do with our entry into the cable or Internet business.
Anyone who knows anything about the issuing of bonds or borrowing of money knows that this is not easily done unless one has a solid financial background and predictable good business plan for the future. We have both. Our bonds are consistently rated AAA-. This rating is not issued to financially failing projects.
Perhaps the most salient response to this Comcast argument is that they gave up and sold out to us in 2001! After competing with them for many years in Glasgow, Comcast came to us in November of 2000 and asked if we would buy their remaining customers in Glasgow as they were giving up the battle of competing against us. We accepted their offer and in April, 2001, issued bonds to purchase their system and their remaining customers. They packed up and left town. Do you think this is the bond issue they were talking about?
The truth is our project is an overwhelming economic success. For nearly fifteen years now, our project has delivered the lowest cable rates in North America to the 14,000 residents of Glasgow, KY. We sell a 70 channel cable package for $18.95 per month. Those savings to the 8,000 homes and businesses in Glasgow over the last fifteen years now total over $32 million. I rest my case. Billy Ray”
The Charge: Financial statements for 2000 show a transfer of nearly $2.2 million from it’s electric utility.
Response from Utility: “I wanted to take a few additional minutes to try to “set the record straight” as it concerns Braintree Electric Light. It was totally frustrating to see disparaging remarks about Braintree used in such an unsavory manner on a website so many states away.
The Braintree Electric Light Department is a municipal utility serving the Town of Braintree for over 100 years. In the mid 1990’s the Department had to replace its copper wire based communications system due to obsolescence and failure in services. It was decided to replace this system with the most advanced system available at the time, HFC. This was done for electric department purposes: communications, high speed relaying and data transfer.
In addition to a cash in-lieu of tax payment made to the Town the Department provides services (at no cost to the tax payer) to the Town wherever a synergy exists. Once this HFC infrastructure was in place it was realized that at minimum cost to the Department it could extend its internal phone services to all municipal buildings, firestations, schools, etc. offering 4 digit dialing and voice mail at no cost so the Town could use those tax dollars that were being paid to the phone company more effectively elsewhere. This was followed by offering high speed data, computer networking, email, etc. again at no cost because we were doing all of this for our own use, no tax dollars involved.
Over the course of the next several years the Town’s Cable Advisory Committee approached the Department to go into the cable business because they were totally frustrated in dealing with the cable company. In each of the first two instances the Department declined. On the third request and following a non-binding community vote overwhelmingly indicating the citizens wanted this to happen, we went into the cable business. Today, after only 2 & ½ years and essentially no marketing for the last year, we have about 40% market share of both TV and ISP. There has been NO electric department subsidization of the cable operations, NO tax money involved in any way or manner. The bonding obligation to “build” the cable operations along with all other related expenses is being paid from Broadband revenues. Our Electric rates are, I believe, the 2nd lowest in the State and our Broadband rates are the lowest that I am aware of. It is interesting to note that whenever the other provider in Town announces rate changes for their service areas Braintree is significantly absent from the list of towns. It would seem that competition does work. It was never the intent of BELD to be the only provider, but we do want to be the provider of choice. To imply that we are not successful is a gross misstatement; again 2 & ½ years, 40% market share, no advertising and averaging 40 new customers a month beats all expectations.
As an added note, the Electric Department is also using the system for its original intent – that did not get lost in all of this. We will be reading electric meters, water meters, doing customer turn ons and shut offs, Broadband customer turn ons and shut offs and electric system outage detection all over the HFC system starting this year.
Sincerely, BRAINTREE ELECTRIC LIGHT DEPARTMENT, Donald L. Hetherington, Acting General Manager”
The Charge: On August 31st, 2004, after eight years, the city will sell its FiberNet to American Fiber Systems for less than $11.2 million, a loss of about $24 million. Since 1996, the city has invested about $35 million into building and maintaining the system which services about 180 customers along the 210 miles of deployed fiber.
Mayor Bill Dunway, whose successful campaign platform included selling FiberNet said, “That’s why we should not be in this business-you have to keep reinvesting. It’s negative cash flow once you consider reinvestment of capital.” (Associated Press, Marietta selling city-owned Internet company at $24 million loss, July 29, 2004)
Response from Broadband Reports – http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,12751032 – The notion that Marietta FibreNet was a failure apparently stems from an article published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on July 29, 2004, suggesting that Marietta “lost” $24 million and then sold out to avoid any more red ink. The author arrived at the $24 million figure by simply subtracting the City’s selling price, $11.2 million, from its investment in the system, $35 million. This was obviously wrong and misleading on its face, as the author did not take into account the millions in annual revenues that the system generated over the years.
Furthermore, when judging and comparing private-sector communications providers, industry analysts typically use a standard known as “EBITDA” – Earnings, Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization. See, e.g., »www.investorwords.com/5534/Earnings_Be... Marietta FiberNet had not only been running EBITDA-positive every year since 2001, but it was on track to go fully into the black in the first quarter of 2006. Thus, according to the standards that analysts typically apply to the private sector, Marietta FiberNet was a success, not a failure. American Fiber Systems certainly did not consider it a failure. To the contrary, it hired 100% of the system’s management and staff to continue to do exactly what we had been doing before the sale.
What really happened in Marietta? The current mayor ran three years ago primarily on the issue of getting the City out of the telecom business. At the time, the system was still in its adolescence, and it had several years of projected losses to go before getting itself into the promising position that it was in at the time it was sold. The mayor, having won on this platform, made good on his promise to sell the system. Reasonable minds can differ as to whether the City could have obtained more for the system if the mayor were not so determined to sell it. But one thing is certain — the system would surely have been even more successful and valuable if it had not had to operate under a cloud for the last three years.
I agree with the main point of your article — that municipalities must be very careful about entering the communications field because failure is a real possibility. In fact, municipalities are extremely cautious, particularly because the open process through which they make such decisions ensures that they act conservatively and take every possible downside into account. I do not believe, however, that Marietta can fairly be cited an example of a municipal venture that failed.
In any event, Marietta FiberNet was a not fiber-to-the-home system of that kind that a number of municipalities are considering today. Marietta FiberNet did not offer the “triple play,” nor did it even serve the residential market. Rather, it only offered broadband and telecommunications services to businesses in Cobb County, Georgia, just northwest of Atlanta, and in some areas of Atlanta itself. Several private-sector firms were offering similar services in these markets. Thus, it is questionable whether Marietta’s experience provides much useful guidance for other municipalities.
Palo Alto, California
The Charge: On July 19, 2004, the City Council voted and decided to put the Fiber to the Home Project on hold indefinitely and to halt consideration of the six different financing options they had considered, including the model used in Truckee,CA. http://www.cpau.com
Response from Utility: California’s regulation regarding funding of projects is probably more restrictive than most states. As a result Palo Alto is looking for an appropriate source of funding for the FTTH project. If a source is identified, it is anticipated that Palo Alto will reassess the project business plan. Palo Alto has continued to operate its 66 unit FTTH trial and continues to receive enthusiastic support from the trial participants
Blake Heitzman – City of Palo Alto Utilities
From the March 2005 Verizon Misinfo (http://www.saschameinrath.com/misc/Verizon’s%20%22Failures%22.doc) :
The Charge: When Asked, Many Voters Don’t Want Municipal Networks – In Illinois, voters in Geneva, Batavia and St. Charles defeated measures authorizing local networks for the second time in two years- even though the November 2003 questions specified that the cities would not be allowed to spend any tax revenues on the project. Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said, “Even if the referendum had passed, it would have been problematic for us to act on it, given our current situation.” The cost had been estimated at $62 million.
Response From Fiber For Our Future: Is a referendum failure a municipal broadband failure? Funny. In addition, the year of the ballot issue referred to above was 2004.
From http://www.saschameinrath.com/node/120, Annie Collins responds: “First of all, the referendum led by citizens in which tax-backed financing was to be prohibited by the cities was in November 2004, not 2003. Mayor Schielke’s statement, as written here, leads the reader to assume that municipal broadband is problematic. That’s not the case.
What is ACTUALLY problematic in this case is Batavia’s Home Rule Status – this had nothing to do with broadband utility success stories across the United States. Also, the cost of the broadband utility was estimated at $62 million for the April 2003 referendum. The citizens could not do a complete feasibility study for the Nov. 2004 referendum, but capitol budget numbers were donated by UTI (who did the original feasibility study for the Tri-Cities in 2002)and the numbers were around $57 million. A drop in price to attract private investors.
Maybe Tri-City voters defeated the 2004 referendums because SBC and Comcast continued to bombard the public with misinformation that the taxpayer would still be on the hook if the utility “failed”? Maybe that was accomplished through the continuous message that municipal broadband was a “risky” venture.( http://www.tricitybroadband.com/index2004.htm) See all the examples of SBC and Comcast claiming that the taxpayers would still be held liable, even though, as Verizon points out so nicely here, that the questions “specified that the cities would not be allowed to spend any tax revenues on the project”. Isn’t that nice? I wonder what Verizon’s argument against our referendums would’ve been since they realized the taxpayer was not going to be “left on the hook”?
As for some of the other cities listed by Verizon, Fiber For Our Future has listed many of those cities on our web site for years because SBC and Comcast first tried to discredit them as being failures (http://www.tricitybroadband.com/failures.htm )during our Tri-City Broadband Referendums of April 2003. I spoke to many of those cities over the years and have updated their successes as needed. If the heads of their departments don’t know if they are succeeding in business and are still successfully providing services to their residents, then I don’t know who we are supposed to believe? Their competition? Aren’t the people successfully running their municipal utilities the experts in these cases? Who are the folks at SBC, Comcast, Verizon and the Heartland Institute to say that municipal broadband doesn’t work? Apparently it does, and it is. Just because some voters in our area don’t choose to have muni broadband as an option does not mean municipal broadband itself is a failure. That simply means those folks lose out on municipal broadband competition, a wonderful economic development tool, a choice for services, a chance for local service accountability, and a chance to develop a sense of community pride about their “hometown utility”.
Fiber For Our Future
For additional information, please also see
Community Broadband: Separating Fact From Fiction
Paying the Bills, Measuring the Savings:
Assessing the Financial Viability and Community Benefits
of Municipally Owned Cable Television Enterprises
on the American Public Power Association Website