Thanks to Lynne Dahl-Fleming for sending (and allowing us to reprint) the following summary of the Monticello ordeal! Over the last week I have seen Monticello’s story mentioned all over the web – including some European-based new sources. It has the potential to be a precedent-setting decision. OK, I don’t really know enough about law to claim that – but I do know that communities have been watching to see what happens and will move forward accordingly and in that way it will open doors.
You can always check out FiberNet Minnesota for more updates.
UPDATE and OVERVIEW – FIBERNET MONTICELLO
OCTOBER 14, 2008
The original effort behind a city-wide fiber optic network in Monticello started in May 2005 by individual citizens and business leaders driven by the belief that control over our technology future is a key ingredient to economic prosperity. Today, nearly three-and-a-half years later, Monticello continues to push forward with that same drive to serve the economic development opportunities which are present when a municipality takes the initiative to serve the community in a new way involving technology as infrastructure.
The original goals of the community-owned and locally operated fiber project was to improve local economic development opportunities offering something that would differentiate the City of Monticello from neighboring communities. Technology is playing a key factor in how business grow itself and a technologically advanced infrastructure of a fiber optic network in the city limits could provide an attractive amenity for the city and become a consideration for why businesses would locate here. Bringing better paying jobs to the area would provide people a reason to move to Monticello, become residents and purchasing homes while living here. Moreover, if the city provided the infrastructure for its own fiber optic network it could control pricing and maintain a high level of customer service in order to provide citizens and businesses with a choice for services. The citizens voiced the need for a locally operated telecommunications company that was community owned, where the people had input into its operations on a local level in addition to competitive pricing. Change was on its way.
The only way for the city to be sure that its citizens and businesses will receive the type of fiber optic network and service that has been envisioned by FiberNet Monticello for the past three years was to build it themselves. The city felt it could not rely on any company to be sure it is done with competitive pricing and the exceptional customer service they had envisioned from the start of the project. The referendum vote indicated approval from the citizens who wanted a choice for services at competitive rates. FiberNet Monticello would be a community-owned and locally operated business providing a new way to receive telecommunication services in the City of Monticello.
The City of Monticello remains strong in its pursuit of a city-wide fiber optic network offering telecommunications services of Internet, telephone and cable TV to every home and business. While it currently moves forward with the smaller fiber loop build out for commercial data services of Internet only it still plans to complete the full scale project to include residential areas. The City Council remains true to the voice of the voting citizens who requested a choice and approved the city offering its own telecommunications services called FiberNet Monticello. The city’s project may have been delayed by the lawsuit but it is determined to forward with the full scale project serving residential customers as soon as the revenue bonds are released from escrow.
The support of the community has been critical in this endeavor. The City Council remains determined to deliver what it has always promised – a choice for services at a competitive rate without using taxpayer money. The choice to take service with FiberNet Monticello’s telecommunications business was designed to offer a technologically advanced 100% fiber optic network without using taxpayer dollars and a new way to receive the services of Internet, telephone and cable TV. The city remains strong in its efforts to complete this task and will move forward with FiberNet Monticello’s offerings to both residential and business user with service available to every home and business inside the city limits. This is what the citizens voted for and the city intends to deliver it.