Thanks to some easy links from the Baller Herbst email list I was able to track down updates for what’s going on with broadband efforts in various high profile communities across the country. Let me just say after perusing the playing field – it’s rough out there.
Chattanooga – Comcast files suit
Comcast of the South has asked the Hamilton County Chancery Court to stop the fiber-to-the-home project planned by the Chattanooga Electric Power Board. Last week the Tennessee Cable and Telecommunications Association tried to file suit in a neighboring County but the court said no go, since the TCTA were not the party that would be injured.
Earthlink is shutting down its WiFi network in New Orleans. (The network was built soon after Katrina.) Apparently it tried to find a buyer, including asking the city to buy – but no one rose to the occasion. The network will be shut down on May 18. Subscribers will be offered other Earthlink broadband options.
It sounds as if Earthlink wants to get out of the municipal WiFi game entirely. They are currently transferring networks in Corpus Christi and Milpitas and are looking to find other arrangements for Philadelphia and Anaheim.
Utopia is falling on hard times
The Utopia and iProvo FTTH networks in Utah are running into problems with lower subscriber rates and revenue shortfalls. With less money coming in, the project wil have difficulty paying back bond payments.
Both networks are open networks, or as TCMNet put it, access wholesalers, and neither network has gotten enough retail partners, nor have the retailers done well enough to fatten either network’s revenue, either on the business or consumer sides of the business.”
Burlington’s city’s chief administrative officer, Jonathan Leopold, reports that Burlington Telecom will not be breaking even by June as earlier projected by previous general manager, Tim Nulty. (There seems to be some disagreements regarding the numbers and culpability here.) Revisions have been made to the business plan and the hope/plan is to compete with other providers to get the necessary subscribers and cut costs where necessarily to be solvent and eventually be in a position to pay back the $33 million it borrowed to build the system.
(Minnesota-based Christopher Mitchell was also recently mentioned in the same publication for his case study on Burlington Telecom for Institute for Local Self Reliance.
The Metro in LA has been studying options for providing WiFi to passengers on the Orange Line that runs through the San Fernando Valley and on the subway – but so far it’s a no go. The cost is too high and no providers have jumped at the opportunity.