Thanks to John Shepard for sending me a heads up on the latest in Jackson Minnesota.
Apparently Windom had approached Jackson about extending their FTTH network to residents in Jackson. (Jackson has municipally owned and operated cable TV – but looking at their web site it doesn’t appear as if Internet service is part of that offering.) The estimated cost to connect with Windom was $4 million.
Last month, the City Commissioners unanimously agreed to not explore a fiber optic system for the city of Jackson. Cost seemed to be the major factor. Apparently citizens were unhappy about a recent $2 increase and the FTTH could possibly double that bill.
On a related note, the Mayor asked the Commission to look at fiber to the Industrial Park. The Mayor is afraid of losing businesses to relocate without fiber. Again cost has been a concern. The Industrial Park is currently served by Qwest. Form the notes, it’s a little difficult for me to tell if the Industrial Park has a T1 or whether you can get a T1 from the Industrial Park. They are going to check with Qwest to see if there any plans to upgrade offerings.
So there’s a scope of things in Jackson. I was speaking to a group in St Paul called NetSquared. They were asking about broadband in rural areas. One of the things we discussed was the cost and the feeling in some areas of by some people that at this point we don’t need more broadband. I think Jackson exemplifies that mindset.
This hasn’t gone to a public vote – but the feeling is that people won’t want to pay for enhanced service. And at the same time the Mayor is afraid of losing a competitive edge because of they lack fiber. They’re at a crossroads, we’re all at a crossroads. Do we make the investment for tomorrow or do we work on today’s budget?