One of the nicest things about being home is getting to actually see folks like Christopher Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self Reliance to talk about how things are going with municipal networks. Both of us have been following the progress in Monticello; he visited Monticello a couple of times in the last week to see firsthand how things are going and was gracious enough to meet with me to discuss what he learned on video. (The super quick version – Monticello passed a referendum last year (74% approval) to build a fiber network. Things were going great – I mean they were really rocking. About 6 weeks ago the incumbent ISP (TDS) dropped a lawsuit into the soup. Many think the lawsuit is unfounded but will give TDS time to build their own flavor of fiber.)
I realize now how busy Christopher was the day we met (Wednesday) when I saw his name all over the news yesterday; so I really appreciate his time. I saw him mentioned on Ars Technica, Third Pipe and MinneaPolitics.
We spoke before either of us coudl have seen an article posted today in the Monticello Times on the lawsuit. The article is very interesting and seems to strongly portray TDS’ perspective on the network.
What really struck me about our conversation was how much Christopher wanted to provide information to other communities on how to avoid or prepare for obstacles in planning for and deployment municipal fiber networks.
The video is not professional quality – but we did get youth involved in the form of my 9 year old daughter/camera person. (And 10 minutes after we finished the jackhammers arrived to tear up our street so it could have been worse!)