Monday, June 22, 2009

The underlying conflict driving muni, coop fiber

The saga of the planned City of Monticello, Minnesota municipal fiber network clearly points up the fundamental conflict between privately run advanced telecommunications providers and municipal fiber projects such as Monticello, which as this story reports successfully withstood a lawsuit by TDS Telecommunications aimed at blocking the project.

Privately held providers are primarily accountable to their investors and shareholders. In the case of costly telecommunications infrastructure requiring extensive capital expenditures that can crimp investor returns over the short term, their interests are directly at odds with those of consumers and businesses desiring more and better value services necessitating those capital expenditures.

Given these starkly conflicting agendas, it's no wonder we're seeing alternative models of constructing advanced telecom infrastructure emerge such as muni and cooperative fiber projects that are accountable to their constituents and members. These alternative models will be particularly viable in areas where existing providers have built incomplete local access networks that leave numerous broadband coverage gaps -- which describes much of the United States.

Thanks to Ron Britvich for the link to the story.

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