A great interview about Municipal broadband from broadbandreports.com (formerly dslreports.com). Let down by the pitiful "broadband" services provided by incumbent cable and phone companies, legal expert Jim Baller put forward an alternative, municipal broadband. He assert that municipal is in a great position to provide broadband connectivity that private corporations has failed to deliver. And that we should expect superior services such as truly high bandwidth with FTTH (Fiber To The Home) and universal access to communities deem unprofitable for private companies.
Can we trust the government to provide connectivity services instead of private companies? Jim look back to the history of electrification of the United States. When the technology was first invented in the late 19th century, private power companies were concentrating on providing services to the most profitable metropolitan areas. Countless small communities were literally left in the dark. They wired themselves by establishing public utilities. Despite being discredited by the commercial interests, public utilities in general faired well and provides reliable services at an affordable price.
How can municipalities accomplish what private sector could not? Jim explained that local government have different goals and are not tied to producing short term profit as in private sector. Instead they see this as an vital infrastructure for the economic development. Even if the service does not turn a profit it can be justified by the benefits they add to the society.
2003.05.22 comments -