The city of Mountain Home, Idaho (pop. 14,000) is embracing open access city-run fiber as it pushes to expand affordable broadband to all city residents. Its stated goals: to boost broadband speeds and availability, while lowering prices 25 to 35 percent for all city residents.
Like so many city-owned broadband projects, city leaders say they were inspired by the success of Ammon, Idaho, which owns and operates an open access fiber network. That network has dramatically boosted competition in the city, drawing nationwide attention for both lower rates, and the ease with which locals can switch providers with the click of a mouse.
“The city is not trying to compete with the private sector,” the Mountain Home website proclaims. “The city will simply build and operate the fiber optic infrastructure. This infrastructure will then be open to any service provider that seeks to offer services in the city.”
With chipmaker Micron planning to build a new $15 billion fabrication plant in nearby Boise, city leaders hope to lure potential new employees through affordable broadband access. So they’re both deploying fiber conduit to every new development, and pushing an open access fiber network to lure additional competitors to the region.
That said, the network deployment is only just getting started.
“As of right now we have gone out for bids for the first local improvement district just like the city of Ammon, Idaho,” Mountain Home Mayor Rich Sykes tells ILSR. “Bids should be back next week and hopefully by the end of the month we can award a company to install the conduit.”
These “improvement districts” will be completed in waves, with the first district consisting of around 600-700 homes, and future districts consisting of...Read more