Duluth New Tribune opinion piece say government involvement is needed to get broadband to some communities

In an opinion piece in the Duluth News Tribune, Kyle Moorhead, the founder and CEO of Hometown Fiber, counters an earlier opinion piece that didn’t believe the government should be involved with broadband access…

The Progressive Policy Institute’s Lindsay Mark Lewis claimed in an Aug. 10 column in the News Tribune that the government has no place building or operating broadband networks.

His information was outdated.

In fact, the only way many communities will get the internet service they need is through local government involvement.

He gets into the details…

There are good reasons for government to consider ownership.

Fiber optic networks do not need to be complex and expensive to operate, as Lewis asserted. I have municipal networks running successfully for more than 12 years with 99.995% uptime. It costs little to operate these networks.

Fiber itself is inexpensive. Prices have dropped so much in recent years that it is affordable for residential service.

If you design and construct the network as critical infrastructure and not for a quick return on investment, you automatically get a reliable and fast network. Digging and directional drilling are the most expensive parts of a project. That cost is the same whether you’re building infrastructure to last 50 years or 10. Do it once correctly, and it pays for itself.

Networks can meet the business needs of ISPs and their communities. It’s not either/or.

An almost instant response to any new approach is, “But ISPs won’t like it.” Incumbent providers often resist offering customers choice, because it means their geographic dominance in the area could end. On the other hand, an incumbent ISP with failing infrastructure quickly understands this new approach is more profitable than maintaining its own infrastructure. It’s possible to meet an ISP’s needs for an almost instant return on investment and complete control over its internet office technology and operations while ensuring no equipment sharing or outside interference.

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

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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