EU Says No To Muni-Fiber Effort

from the not-allowed dept

Despite massive telco lobbying efforts in the US, it looks like the US Senate at least recognizes that states shouldn't ban cities from offering muni broadband networks (the question of city vs. state vs. federal regulatory arguments is a discussion for a different post). However, in Europe, it looks like they might be going in the other direction. The EU has told a Dutch town that it cannot move forward on a muni-fiber network, because it represents unfair competition to private companies. We tend to agree that muni networks don't always make the most sense, but if the people want it, it seems a bit silly to have a non-local government tell them they can't have it. From the description in the article, it actually sounds like the plans for this muni-fiber offering were done like other smart deployments. That is, it's not a "government run utility," but rather a fiber network that any provider could then offer service over. In other words, it's not what most people immediately think of when they hear "muni-broadband." This isn't about the city offering service -- but about them offering infrastructure to private service providers. For fiber networks, this remains a smart plan -- as it involves creating real competition without overbuilding infrastructure. Instead, the town will have fewer competitors and more infrastructure -- even though they wanted it the other way around. It's a recipe for much more limited, but still more expensive, service.
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  1. icon
    Devang (profile), 19 Jul 2006 @ 10:56pm

    It's unclear just how much control the city would be handing over, but if it's a limited amount where the citizens are pluging into an effectively tier 1 or 2 ISP, it can't possibly be bad. It's about owning the "last mile", that's what the muni's should and are helping citizens do. As for "more infrastructure" and "less competition" I'm not convinced.

    Mentioning "Instead, the town will have fewer competitors and more infrastructure -- even though they wanted it the other way around. It's a recipe for much more limited, but still more expensive, service." and not "last mile" efforts, is dis-information at best. I expect better.

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