One early indicator of such “public” value is the fact that RUC’s fiber network now connects Reedsurg’s schools with more bandwidth than they had before, and at a lower price. Before the network was available, schools were paying $650-$750 a month for T-1 service, which delivers only 1.5 Mbps of capacity. Today, RUC provides 100 Mbps links between school buildings at a cost below $500 per month.
These are the key points we want to emphasize throughout the site.
- Competition - The high cost of building a network generally prevents any true competition because one or two companies can capture enough of the market to prevent others from offering competing services. One solution is forcing network owners to share the network with competitors.
- Fiber-Optics - We are at a major turning point in telecommunications technology. Full Fiber-to-the-Home networks are now being built throughout the world, offering amazing speeds. These are the networks in which communities should invest.
- Level Playing Field - Cable and telephone companies have a history of claiming that they just want to "level the playing field" when they introduce legislation that effectively prevents publicly owned networks. The playing field already tilts in their favor.
- Public Accountability - Broadband networks are essential infrastructure. Decisions about how to run the network and who can access the networks must be made in order to serve the community first, not shareholders' desire for short-term profits.
- Success / Failures - Some have claimed that all community broadband networks are failures. This claim is wildly inaccurate. There is no easy metric to identify if a single network is a success or failure - but we can demonstrate tremendously successful community networks across a variety of measures, from take-rates to job creation to subscriber satisfaction.
- Wireless - Wireless offers great promise because the technologies have improved rapidly over the previous decade. However, wireless is not about to replace the reliability or speed of a FTTH network. What it offers is nonetheless very important, mobility.