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What do you think about cities and towns becoming broadband providers?

By jasonhiner Moderator ·
Is this a positive development in the spread of broadband or should these governments leave broadband in the hands of private companies?

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Just imagine if...

by JohnMcGrew In reply to What do you think about c ...

...government started providing "universal" Internet access in 1992.

A dozen years later, we'd still likely be using 28.8k modems, upgraded from 14.4k in 1998. Private competition does not exist, because it is locked out both legally (as to not compete with the government monopoly) as well as economically. (tax subsidized access is impossible to compete against)

Meanwhile, bloggers are prohibited against competing against the pliant television press. Dreamers who speak of ?risky? schemes such as DSL, Cable and wireless access with speeds of over 1m, are regarded as crackpot anarchists.

The government says it is on the verge of implementing 56k access. This is lauded as a massive success, as this literally doubles speed since 1998, and quadruples the speed of the original access in 1992. Ceremonies are held, and Al Gore gets another Nobel Prize.

No thanks.

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All I have to say to that is...

by tfields22 In reply to Just imagine if...

BRAVO John! 'Couldn't have said it better myself. Well done!

- Tony

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Cost of failure

by Magpiper In reply to What do you think about c ...

The communications market is overly competitive and profits are almost non-existent. I do not want my local utility company competing in this market. Not "if" but "when" the local utility comopany goes belly up with broadband, the consumers will pick up the tab.

Utility companies also lack the funding to purchase quality equipment and personnell. They can not be a serious provider when they always know they have an out, by increasing rates on other utilities.

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Great Idea for Rural Areas

by curtis1001 In reply to What do you think about c ...

I believe this is a great idea in rural america. Most of rural america is ignored by the major US telecomm carriers.

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Rural Technology and Schools

by wallowamichael In reply to Great Idea for Rural Area ...

I run the technology department for 5 rural school districts. We have centralized servers and Internet access over 3 T1 lines. There are no other alternatives here, and the state picks up the tab already for 99% of the T1 costs.
Recently, a number of non-profit and other government agencies have come to us to have us bid on providing broadband service, since no large telcos are going to be providing anything until at least 2007.
Here I am, a pseudo-municipality (state funded broadband) providing service to local clients.
I still am not sure whether it's a good idea or not. Our firewalls block gambling, pornography, and most IM/IRC, etc., so the functionality is not 100%, and no matter how much they pay us, I won't let those services onto the school's network.
Besides satellite access (still only 56k upload) we are the only broadband available in town.

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it's not about the money

by jsloan1223 In reply to Rural Technology and Scho ...

Small towns creating their own broadband network is not about the money. It's about providing service. Getting themselves on the internet at higher speeds than dialup (which in ND is often less than 56K, more like 14.4 or 28K). The residents work together, maybe thru the school, maybe not, and start their own ISP. I say, GOOD FOR THEM.

Many of those small towns wouldn't have anything except that they work together and get it going for themselves. The telcos don't have time for cities with "only" 50 customers, so those customers do it themselves.

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You don't need a nanny, build it yourself

by josh In reply to Great Idea for Rural Area ...

Do you really want the govt controlling your internet connection?
Look, it is very easy to set up a simple wireless point to point (or multipoint) network. It is not as cheap as it is easy. Write up a business plan, find out who is selling internet somewhere close (20 miles or so) and put a radio there. Put one at your place and you are done. Want to make some extra money (or at least get you internet connection free)? Get all of you neighbors set up on your network for a small monthly fee. Heck, you could even set it up as a nonprofit.
Something to think about.

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As a wholesale provider only

by josh In reply to What do you think about c ...

I live in the Lafayette, LA area. The Lafayette Utilities Service provides internet access to VARs, ISPs, etc., out here. It's at wholesale pricing and it is good, fully redundant access on the LUS fiber network.
However, there has been a recent push for LUS to get into the retail business. This will (not a might) turn into what nearly every ISP has had to face foing up against the Bells to find and get customers. With one big difference-- LUS would physically run fiber to every home and business in the city limits. So much for competition. There are no line sharing requirements for a power company selling internet access. So every business out here that relies in part on revenue from resale of internet access would lose that income. Many computer businesses in the area would shut down.
The worst part of this plan -- LUS would never expand it's network to the outlying areas. So if you live in the city limits, you would be on the fiber backbone, if you are on the other side of the street, you are out of luck.
It is a very bad idea for govt to get into a business that the private sector knows more about. All you will get from a govt entity running a retail internet business is more invasion of privacy, higher taxes and more red tape.
If you live in an area that doesn't have broadband, don't look to the govt to solve it for you. Get a business plan together and build the network. Take a risk. Build something great, dont expect the govt to take care of you.

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Social Obligation

by oliver.brown In reply to What do you think about c ...

In most cases I believe government intervention is not the best practice. But, if we (collectively speaking) are trying to create a society that is equal in all respects, the availability of technology to areas urban and rural becomes a requirement. As in other areas, society waits for private enterprise to "fill the gaps". When this does not occur, it is the obligation of society (government) to take up the mantle. In this case, the Telcos cannot see a financial gain from uplifting rural communities to highspeed internet access and could care less about the social implications...just the shareholders. Novel idea, the town creates the customer base and attracts the Telco with the thought of monetary gain with established customers.

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There is no social obligation

by josh In reply to Social Obligation

This country was made great by enterprising individuals seeing a need and finding a way to fill it. It is not the government's job to provide internet access anywhere on a retail level. I am sure that in these rural areas there is at least one tech savvy person. If they had any desire approacing the level of their great-grand parents, they might just go out and bring broadband or wireless to their area.

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