Local cities around the U.S. are opting to run their own government embraced broadband service and there are about 133 cities operating the service. Though it is not stated just how much the locals are charging their residents for connecting to the Internet nor is it stated how satisfied customers are, the fact is that the major broadband companies claim the cities pose an unfair advantage to their broadband business.
The reasoning why cities should build their own broadband service is simple. The cities are better able to control who gets service, including those who may reside outside of the city. Some of the major broadband providers may not see providing of services where the source of revenue could be less than profitable, whereas a city may go the extra mile to service everyone they can.
In addition, cities see broadband service as good business sense for their communities. With more and more people telecommuting or setting up businesses on the Web, the cities feel they provide a valuable service to their residents. Without broadband these business ventures could flounder and could make a city less attractive as a residence.
So how important is broadband in a small city? The city I live in has a population of about 20 thousand. About four years ago the local chamber starting questioning both cable and phone companies as the to the reasoning behind why service wasn’t being provided to the entire city. They also brought this to the attention of city officials who considered going it on their own and providing broadband to everyone. Surprise, surprise. Both cable and the phone people had everyone connected within a year, no matter where they lived.
Now that the FCC has embraced an open Internet for all, will more cities around the country take the leap into the broadband business? More important, is having the local city government controlling our broadband service a good idea?
Personally I believe it depends on where you live and how much you trust your local government. The city where I live controls electric rates, garbage, water, sewer, and a recycling center. We currently enjoy some of the lowest rates in the nation for these services. So for me this could work for my city to take over broadband internet services including TV and landlines. Just my two cents.
What do you think?