Tonkaconnect Paused

Earlier this week, the Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission decided not to fund local efforts for a community fiber network.

According to the tonkaconnect web site

tonkaconnect is an initiative of the Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission. Our objective is to bring community owned and operated, world-class access to television/video, Internet and telephone services to every residence, business, library, school, city, public safety organization in our members’ and affiliate cities’ areas.

But it looks as if the effort has been put on ice. According to the Chanhassen Villager

In a special meeting Tuesday night, the LMCC executive committee decided to recommend no funding for the next phase of the fiber project in the 2012 budget. LMCC representatives will finalize the budget at an August 16 meeting.

“I think [the LMCC executive committee] realized that if a municipal fiber network is ever going to be built, the cities need a considerable amount of time spent in educating and understanding the significance of building such a system,” said a memo from Sally Koenecke, LMCC executive director.

The $81 million proposal sought to provide 25,000 households in communities from the 17 member cities with Internet, phone and cable fiber optic services.

It sounds as if the progress started unraveling a week ago when Victoria City decided that they did not want to proceed with funding. Other cities were intending to vote next week.

This comes despite the fact that tonkaconnect was positive about the results of a market survey released earlier this summer that indicated that…

If the price is low enough, people in the area would be interested in becoming customers of a fiber-based network operated by the Lake Minnetonka Communications Commission (LMCC).

Unfortunately I think that having interest if the price is low enough might not be enough to motivate a community through the perils of community supported fiber. But I always remember the folks in Monticello saying that each set back in winning over the residents just made them stronger in the end. They were talking about the super majority referendum required for them to pursue their community network – but the same may apply here. You need full community support and interest to see a community network to fruition.

This entry was posted in Community Networks, Funding, MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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