Rochester MN is looking at $50 million broadband plan

According to GovTech

The Rochester City Council and Rochester Public Utility (RPU) Board have each heard conceptual presentations from private companies about the possibility of adding broadband service as a utility. Phone and cable television services could be added, as well.

Peter Hogan, RPU director of corporate services, on Monday gave the city council an updated report on the costs for implementation and early looks at customer fees, should the city decide to pursue the concept. Hogan presented the information on behalf of Alcatel-Lucent, a private company that had compiled the research based on local information and meetings in December last year, Hogan said.

The report included a capital investment of about $53 million on the city’s behalf, a cost that would have to be issued in bonds, raising the total investment to near $67 million.

It’s nice to see the costs are manageable and there’s an option for low-income households…

Alcatel-Lucent’s assumptions were also based on the new public utility securing a 30 percent market share of internet customers. While a low-cost and lower service option would see customers pay about $10 per month for broadband internet service, the study showed about 58 percent of customers paying $50 or more per month for service.

What’s the next step?

Wojcik had contacted another municipality that he called a model example of public utility broadband, Longmont, Colo. He requested the council take three actions to move forward: ask city or RPU staff to work with Longmont staff to analyze similarities between the cities; fund the market study; and research any questions related to bonding for the capital costs.

Hogan estimated it would cost near $1 million to advance the city’s plans to the point of selling bonds, including the market study.

They are thinking about a market study first to determine interest.

This entry was posted in Community Networks, MN 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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