The Ups And Downs Of Municipal Broadband

from the uphill-battle dept

Following last month's Supreme Court ruling stating that states could outlaw municipal broadband, ZDNet has an interesting interview with Jim Ballmer, one of the lawyers fighting to let municipalities offer broadband, should they want to. Meanwhile, the very large UTOPIA municipal broadband (offering fiber to the home) project in Utah was dealt a huge setback last night when Salt Lake City decided not to support the project, after a fairly intense fight over the issue. Qwest is rejoicing, as they've been complaining about UTOPIA ever since it was first conceived. However, the folks behind UTOPIA are clearing trying to push ahead, and hope that they'll be signing up a few other cities to help out soon. The big questions now are whether or not the other cities involved are willing to foot the larger part of the bill and whether or not they'll be able to find enough subscribers to make AT&T still be interested in being a service provider on the network. Once again, we return to the example of Burlington, Vermont, where a municipal fiber connection with ownership by its own users means much more opportunity for everyone except companies who previously had the local monopoly on providing (much slower) broadband access. A municipal solution that allows companies to sign on as providers builds on the idea of a natural monopoly while still allowing true competitive market pressures to provide people with better services.

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