In the case of muni systems, which are not-for-profit enterprises, one measure of “success” is defined as the level of their “take rate” – that is, the percentage of potential subscribers who are offered the service that actually do subscribe. Nationwide, the take rates for retail municipal systems after one to four years of operation averages 54 percent. This is much higher than larger incumbent service provider take rates, and is also well above the typical FTTH business plan usually requiring a 30-40 percent take rate to “break even” with payback periods.
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.