Anoka County has been working on an ARRA broadband stimulus grant. According to ABC Newspapers, Blaine will not be moving forward with the County to seek funding for broadband.
The article outlines many of the potential advantages Blaine would reap if they were part of the project, assuming they got money. But the City Council voted it down. There seemed to be great concerns about public funding getting into private business and/or providing an unfair advantage to one business.
Anoka County will be working with Zayo Broadband. They will be providing an open access network, which many readers will recognize means that other providers will be able to take advantage of the infrastructure. Zayo will be in more of a wholesale position.
One resident seemed to speak for many when she said…
“It’s the carrot and stick [approach],” she said. “I’m against public and private partnerships. We need to allow the private sector to provide Internet services.”
Also there seemed to be frustration with the whole NTIA/RUS broadband stimulus initiative…
[Mayor] Ryan said he was dissatisfied with the federal stimulus process but pointed out if local government entities didn’t apply, any money awards would go elsewhere.
[Councilmember] Hovland disagreed with Ryan’s view.
“I don’t see where this will stimulate the economy and create jobs,” Hovland said. “Somewhere, we have to stand up and say no.”
[Councilmember] Clark said if the county’s broadband initiative had been presented at part of a national policy initiative, he would have had a better understanding of why the city would be support it.
In the end the City Council voted unanimously against it.