The essence of the objection to municipal involved in communications is that public intervention will undermine the private sector due to the cost advantages uniquely available to governmental entities, thus creating a barrier to public entry. As we have shown, however, this objection fails in two ways: First, municipalities tend not to become involved in communications in markets characterized by effective competition; and second, where municipalities do become communications providers, private entry into the market tends to be stimulated rather than suppressed.
New Comic: Longmont Fiber Crushes Comcast's Cable Outhouse
Longmont Power and Communications, a city-owned utility north of Denver in Colorado, is slowly rolling out a FTTH network to local businesses and residents that are in close proximity to its existing fiber loop. They are offering a symmetrical gigabit of Internet access for just $50/month.
The local newspaper notes that some local businesses have already signed on, including a clinic:
Jurey said the city's network is three times faster than the speeds the clinic got before at a cost savings of $1,600 a month.
On November 5, citizens will decide a referendum on whether to expedite the building by issuing revenue bonds without increasing local taxes. A brochure explaining pro and con is available here [pdf]. Approving the bonds means building the network to everyone in a few years while not approving it will mean building the network over several decades.
We recently did a podcast with Longmont Power and Communications Broadband Services Manager Vince Jordan and a local citizen campaigning for the referendum. Listen to that show here.