They're currently facing a lot of lobbying from the existing broadband monopolies because they're building direct competition to them, this is an unnecessary fight. Particularly when their ultimate goal is just to get fast high quality internet.
Build it as an OAN instead and let CenturyLink, Comcast, Charter, etc, lease it. But also let new smaller players lease it too. Instead of fighting the big guys, get them onboard with this plan.
The big guys won't LOVE it because they still lose their monopolistic stranglehold, but at least you aren't using public revenue to push them out of the market. You're using public revenue to create a road that any business can use for an equal fee.
In any regard your local citizens get: Faster internet, more choice of ISPs, and perhaps lower prices due to more competition. Let citizens be the "king maker" by choosing their own ISP.
I really can't imagine the response from larger incumbents being any different if this sort of format were being proposed. Why accept any competition at all when you can have none or almost none?
Because that won't last forever. One top-level comment here lays out how much money the incumbents spent to defeat such measures, and they still lose. Incumbents such as Comcast appear to be so hated that the only thing keeping them in place are monopoly deals written years ago. IOW, they are not going to get widespread public support.
Without public support, they rely on cronyism and old regulatory deals. They would do well to at least have a plan for how they would fit in this new world order (and I would be shocked if they didn't), if for no other reason than to not be caught off guard when the tide changes.
Relatively few places have the ability to do ballot measures like this, and the feds will make it more and more onerous to comply with various regulations.
By my count, 33 states make it even easier to build municipal broadband than Colorado, including most of the big ones (CA, NY, IL, NJ, PA, TX, MA): https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/qkvn4x/the-21-law.... Most have no restrictions on such networks at all.
I'm not super knowledgeable in the field, but it's also my understanding that it's much, much harder to do TV + Internet, while just Internet is significantly easier. A lot of the shady deals with municipalities and regulations involve the TV part of things.
I'd personally be happy with just one hassle-free, super fast pipe just for the internet, relying on Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, Amazon, Twitch, Crunchyroll, etc for all of my TV needs (that's what I do right now already). But it seems that the majority is not willing to give up cable TV entirely, and that limits the target audience.
Why should the businesses get preferable treatment to individuals or citizens?
There is now point running more than 1 fiber optic cable to each house just like there isn't a point running more than one electricity or gas line to each house.
All the more reason not to let Comcast use it.
Once you assume the city is both building the fiber and providing services over the fiber, I'm not sure if also making it an OAN makes sense anymore?
Telephony / VOIP
Television channels, especially sports
Free/sponsored content (NBC etc)
"security" virus protection etc
Home security systems
As for your third question: probably yes, heh.
hypothetically the actual internet bandwidth itself. cities could provide a nice big fiber network, and then let independent companies actually bring in the internet connection(s) that they're going to resell.
The downside is that when you call the "ISP" they pass the buck to the wire company, who usually passes it right back and your Internet never gets fixed.
hypothetically the actual internet bandwidth itself.
That's a commodity, so having faux competition to resell commodity transit/peering seems like it would just add overhead. Also, splitting a market between multiple small ISPs potentially reduces their volume discounts.
So what are you talking about?
If the other companies can't compete because their prices are too high, well sucks to be them.
The only thing that matters is the consumers.
It's no longer true that the US lags behind on Internet access speeds.
The US is ranked #10 in the world in average Internet access speeds, just barely behind Denmark and Japan. The countries that rank in front of the US are mostly tiny population wise. We're far faster than eg France, or Australia. Competitively, US access speeds have improved substantially in the last ten years.
Here's who ranks in front of the US: South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Hong Kong, Finland, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan.
Here is who the US ranks in front of: Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Russia, Brazil, China, Mexico, Taiwan, New Zealand, India, Indonesia, Netherlands, Romania, Britain, Czech, Belgium, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Poland, Italy, Greece, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia - and all of Africa + all of Latin America.
The US has 2x the average access speeds of Italy, and neary 2x the speeds of France.
Within 24 to 36 months, the US will likely pass Japan on average access speeds.
This is a massive improvement over where the US was ten years ago and it's getting better faster than most countries.
The US ranks #8 on percentage of connections above 15mbps (48%), just behind Sweden and in front of Denmark. The US ranks #10 on percentage above 25mbps, with dramatically faster growth in that segment than anyone else in the top 10. Between Q1 2016 and Q1 2017, the US saw a 65% leap in % of connections over 25mbps; Finland, ranked #9, by comparison saw a 31% improvement.
So not only is the US killing it on access speeds now, particularly for a massive country of 330 million people, it's improving far faster than most other comparable nations.
Here's the Q12017 pdf:
It is self contradictory logic.
Price controls, such as what happens in the electricy and water market might cause that. But the government getting into the game, and spending more money on infrastructure wouldn't....
Except this isn't true. Almost all the existing broadband infrastructure was built with private money, not taxpayer money.
$103 billion is "excess profits." I.e. if you pretend that telcos should receive the same profit margins as water companies, during a period of massive growth in demand for their product, then you can count any profits above that level as "taxpayer money paid to the telco." By that logic, taxpayers are giving Apple hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies.
$78 billion in "excessive depreciation." If you assume that depreciation schedules during the POTS era should be the same as during a period where everyone was replacing their networks to build broadband, then you can count the "excessive depreciation" as "taxpayer money paid to telcos."
If you actually read the origin of the number, nowhere will you find reference to checks written. The gripe is about deregulation in and of itself--the very idea that the government should not be deciding what prices to charge for what services. That kind of thinking is totally outside the mainstream among telecom regulators in the developed world. Every major European country deregulated their telcos in the 1990s and 2000s. The government in Germany or France doesn't sit there and decide how much broadband service should cost, and call everything above that "excess profits."
Now in Fort Collins, the cable lobby outspent the city $900,000 to $15,000 on campaigning and still lost. [TFA]
I wonder if anti-municipal campaign spending by the telecoms will continue to increase, and just how far they will go before cutting their losses and trying to defeat these plans some other way.
Now they want us to help them by stomping out government competition? Fat chance. They'll just have to do what they did with net neutrality: spend years and years planting people in agencies and political positions to push their self-interests. I hope they do and I hope it backfires.
I doubt they can blow a million on lobbying in every city that starts talking about municipal broadband, so I'm guessing if this trend continues they're going to switch focus to attempting to outlaw it entirely. Certainly possible, but it seems like a harder target than dismantling net neutrality.
See also Comcast's customer satisfaction scores rise, but are still below the IRS's: http://bgr.com/2017/04/25/comcast-customer-service-scores-20...
Americans in general don't trust the government to provide good services and yet municipal broadband gets strong support from voters almost everywhere. It's really hard to understate how much people don't like Comcast
This yacht won't pay for itself, you know.
> > The city intends to provide gigabit service for $70 a month or less and a cheaper Internet tier. Underground wiring for improved reliability and "universal coverage" are two of the key goals listed in the measure.
> Building a citywide network is a lengthy process—the city says its goal is to be done in "less than five years."
Contrast with how Stockholm built its network: https://www.stokab.se/Documents/Stockholms%20Stokab%20-%20A%.... A company was created by the city to own the dark fiber. The company was not given any build-out directive, and it took 18 years to cover 90% of the city, building out in a demand-driven fashion. The upside is that the approach is sustainable. Stockholm's utility has never received public money, isn't subsidized by a utility monopoly, and operates at a profit. It doesn't depend on changing political moods or public priorities.
Freedom from the municipal government is a big advantage. Look at what's happening right now with DC's and New York's subway systems. Once very good, they've been overcome by public-sector mismanagement, and are facing enormous maintenance and upgrade backlogs. The fact that this is run by the power company isn't all that comforting. Municipal governments have enormous influence over local power companies, and our electrical grid is in pretty poor shape too.
It seemed pretty smart and it got her some cheap high speed Internet/TV/Phone through a third party ISP. The only weirdness is that the company doesn't appear to have a website, so she can order gigabit internet but has to call them up on the phone to get it.
CA electricity was privatized, and we got Enron.
When the public owns the infrastructure, there is enormous political pressure to price service too cheaply, which can work in the short term but has led to the infrastructure disaster we're seeing in the U.S. now: https://www.infrastructurereportcard.org.
Texas electricity was privatized, and they got inexpensive, dependable electricity. It also hasn't held back renewable energy construction, Texas has chosen to utilize its immense wind potential for example.
California by comparison has electricity rates nearly twice that of Texas. For 2015, the Texas number was 8.64 cents per kilowatt hour (ranked 10th least expensive), while California was at 15.5 cents (ranked 9th most expensive).
So now TX electrical companies are just a bunch of middle men. They only compete on price and customer service, and price IIUC is basically a margin game of futures and size, not actual electricity innovation. By law, only one company can setup the lines, fix the lines, etc. Not sure how privatized that is if it's the state by another name.
I'd say the privatization or lack of between TX and CA has little to do with costs or quality. In this case, CA just had a bad company and TX a better one (or ones).
A local telco here was wanting to take this approach to provide fiber internet, proposed when the city was wanting to start a municipal broadband project. Their plan was to build out high demand areas first, then expand from there to lower income/more sparse areas. They were raked over the coals as "picking and choosing" who would get internet service.
> Stokab was seen as a public infrastructure company by the City Council, much like a public organisation responsible for roads. As a consequence, Stokab was not allowed to sell active services, and was required to sell to any potential purchaser on a non-discriminatory basis
They have a population of ~136k, comprising 60,503 households. If each currently pays $100/mo for a cable bundle and all abandon them for fiber (a gross over-estimate), that is $72.6 million per year of lost revenue to Comcast.
It is, however, $72.6 million of returned value, or something more than about 10% of the $620M/year total city budget. If my town voted to net-reduce its total burden to me by 10% or so, that would be very appealing. If they only returned half of that, it would still be substantial.
If they dispensed with the "evil" of the regular garbage "fees" and price hikes that modern cable monopolies love, it would be worth 100% of the price.
The city shouldn't have to manage the Netflix appliance, for instance.
I'm from Burlington, Vermont. We had municipal fiber. Great speed and prices and amazing customer service.
Unfortunately, due to mismanagement and some shady borrowing from the city, the utility was sold last month as mandated in the settlement of a suit by Citibank, marking the end of our experiment with municipal broadband.
Fort Collins is 4x the size of Burlington. Hopefully the larger customer base means they'll be able to avoid some of the financial struggles that we faced.
That alone spelled its doom, not the premise of it being established as a public internet utility.
With financial institutions having a stranglehold on the government, they could effectively choose (negotiate?) which sort of payment would be beneficial to them long term. A public internet utility sold to them makes the most sense as this means an actual steady flow of income and customer base.
Where in that is Citibank doing the wrong thing? Is Citibank wrong because they wanted to receive more than $0 from BT?
And casting this as Citibank's fault directly conflicts with the fraud investigation, illegal borrowing from city bank accounts, etc. There was clear mismanagement by BT, bad forecasts for subscriber numbers, and no more funds available because this occurred during the financial crisis in 2008 (prompting the illegal borrowing from the city).
But there are plenty of news articles out there too if you search.
I'm pretty confident that they'll do this well.
There's nothing requiring only the municipalities themselves to do that, right?
Is the future of Internet Service Providing going to be a service of local governments?
What about co-ops?
Three big ones:
SpaceX's Starlink constellation is up to ~12,000 satellites around half a ton (maybe more in the future).
OneWeb's constellation of a few hundred to a few thousand smaller satellites. (these use a "bent-pipe" architecture, meaning no satellite-to-satellite communications, depending on ground stations near the point of use).
Telestar's LEO constellation is a few hundred small (~100kg?) satellites as well, using inter-satellite links (and therefore not so dependent on ground stations): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H03lpd-zVCs
None has gotten prototypes launched, yet. Telestar lost some of their prototypes in a R7/Soyuz launch failure late last year; I don't know when the next launch is set. SpaceX is supposed to launch in a month or two, with Oneweb launching prototypes in about 2 months after that.
I think there are other such LEO megaconstellations planned. (They offer huge advantages over current GSO satellites in that they're far lower latency; In SpaceX's case, the worst-case latency may actually be significantly better than fiber's worst-case latency.)
It seems to me that this is real progress; or do you mean "this just replaces the private monopoly with a government monopoly"? Even just moving a monopoly from private to public hands seems to me like progress. Comcast, for example, doesn't need, or particularly care about, my vote, whereas local government does.
Living in Fort Collins and trying to help this get passed and put in to action has been great to see, but watching Comcast fight back has been quite disheartening considering the quality of service they provide. I am more than ready to give the City my money every month instead of the money hungry POS that is Comcast.
Not always your individual vote. A vote with your ballot often has little difference with a vote with your wallet when you can't easily/quickly switch.
This keeps the city from having to run a business, instead they just maintain the infrastructure (like pipes/roads) and let the private companies duke it out themselves.
This is always how I had it in my head, but apparently there's a name for it (Open access network): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-access_network
So...just like the monopoly incumbents?