It is duplicitous to suggest that the incumbents represent the “free market” against “government-subsidized” municipal networks. Incumbents are incumbents precisely because they have had the weight and resources of government to back them up for years. Furthermore, they have had backing from those levels of government - the federal and state - which are least pervious to direct participation by local residents. Municipal networks, funded by the public and accountable to the public, represent a balance to the domination of telecommunications infrastructure by huge corporations which have long enjoyed substantial government subsidy. Banning or restricting municipal networks will end this effort to create a level playing field.
Ellensburg Pursues Its Fiber Project in Washington
Ellensburg is quickly moving forward as it make plans to build a publicly owned fiber optic network. The City Council approved a contract with Canon Construction on December 16th, reports the Daily Record.
From the article:
Canon Construction of Milton won the contract to lay 13 miles of above- and underground fiber optic cables for the city with a $961,000 bid.
Multiple public organizations, including Central Washington University and Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, contract with the city for cable Internet services through the city.
We recently reported on the City Council decision to establish a telecommunications utility serving municipal needs. At the December 16th meeting, they also approved an ordinance needed to move ahead with the utility.
The community network will replace the Institutional Network supplied by Charter Communications. Charter and the City have been negotiating a new franchise agreement with little success. Charter wants to charge $10,000 per month to provide the service that it previously offered at no charge beyond the incredibly valuable access to the public's right-of-way. The City determined building a network was more economical and we suspect the City will also achieve greater reliability and have access to better technology than Charter would have installed.