This is not a new idea. The concept of common carriage is ancient in culture. It is deeply embedded in common law. It goes back almost two thousand years. Net neutrality is simply common carriage for the 21st century. It is the same idea we had in the 18th- century turnpikes. We fought it over canals. We fought it over railroads and we fought it over public roads when public roads were first beginning. To me, that's fundamental and it's a fundamental reason why the towns in Vermont wanted to do and do it as a public activity.
Community Broadband Quotes
Indeed, many municipal broadband projects are undertaken because the Wall Street metric does not work. The town may be too remote, the population may be too sparse, or the demographic nature may not be consistent with the template used by private sector companies in their profit-maximizing decisions on where and whether to deploy. Those are precisely the circumstances, however, in which the community benefits of providing broadband become most profound, and most valuable.
Opponents of municipal broadband initiatives contend that public broadband projects are “failures” if they do generate “profits” in the amounts, and within the short time periods, that investors and the financial community expect of private corporations.
Municipalities are not primary motivated by the desire to make a “profit,” as that term is understood by Wall Street, but by the need to meet important needs of the community. Chief among these are enhancing economic development, educational and occupational opportunity, access to affordable health care, digital equity, public safety, homeland security, environmental protection, efficient government service, cultural enrichment, and all of factors that contribute to a high qualify of life. A public FTTU system can contribute to the fulfillment of each one of these goals.
We are broadcasting local sports on our cable system and have connected many new customers because of it. With our fiber system we can bring customers live audio and video of not only sports but also community events. This has been a very popular service for our community...
Access to tax-exempt financing does not begin to explain the sizable rate differences between municipal and private cable providers. It explains only about one percentage point of the 20, 30, or 40 percentage points that private cable rates were above those of municipal systems.
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.
The truth is our project is an overwhelming economic success. For nearly fifteen years now, our project has delivered the lowest cable rates in North America to the 14,000 residents of Glasgow, KY. We sell a 70 channel cable package for $18.95 per month. Those savings to the 8,000 homes and businesses in Glasgow over the last fifteen years now total over $32 million.
In Orwellian fashion, many of the examples offered as disasters are actually tremendous success stories. Many of the figures used as contemporary evidence against municipal broadband are based on case studies of cable television systems from a report that is seven years old. Even if it were still timely, its conclusions have been thoroughly debunked.
Municipal broadband has been a success for those communities that have begun offering service. It is no surprise. Historically, local government has always corrected market failure by providing essential services. The driving force for efficiency in these networks is not profit maximization, but public service. The money saved through cost reductions stays in the community. Public networks have increased broadband competition, not reduced it, and they have resulted in lower prices. The propaganda maligning municipal systems is nothing more than industry-sponsored folklore.