For many communities, turning a community broadband vision into a real project depends on their ability to determine if and how to partner with an existing broadband provider. For many communities, identifying a quality partner speeds project deployment and reduces financial and political risk. A partnership can range from active community endorsement, to financial contributions in the form of a grant or a loan, to actual community ownership of all or some of the network components with a lease agreement with the selected provider(s).
Community ownership of the physical network may provide long-term benefits that help a community achieve their vision. Public network ownership can provide for enhanced choice of broadband providers, can enable deployment of Smart City applications around street lighting, public safety, and sewer and water utility operations as well as future 5G deployment.
CTC, a broadband cooperative in Brainerd, is active in multiple community broadband partnerships. Joe Buttweiler, who leads CTC’s community partnership efforts, will showcase several public-private partnership examples joined by Rick Utecht of Todd County Development Corporation and Jon Rademacher of the City of Little Falls. Each community has formed a unique partnership to bring fiber-based broadband to their communities.
This is the sixth of ten Blandin webinars on community broadband planning.