Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brigham City, Utah: Pioneering America's telecom future

America's brightest and most promising version of its advanced telecommunications future is playing out in Brigham City, Utah. Residents there aren't waiting for the incumbent telco and cable companies to build fiber infrastructure to reach their premises. In the pioneering spirit of the great American West where consumer cooperatives formed a century ago to provide telephone service, they're doing it themselves, reports App-Rising.

According to App-Rising, 1,600 residents have paid $3,000 to install fiber to their homes, which will give them access to various providers via one of the nation's first open access networks, UTOPIA.

The concept is right out of a working paper issued one year ago by the New America Foundation authored by Derek Slater and Tim Wu titled Homes with Tails What If You Could Own Your Internet Connection. Like those for solar power, the paper recommends state and federal tax credits to create incentives for homeowners to buy their own fiber.

This concept has great potential to fill in the great many broadband black holes found throughout the West. As the Federal Communications Commission prepares recommendations to Congress due in two months on government policy to expand broadband access, it should put this open access, consumer owned fiber to the premises model -- and tax credits to encourage its use -- on the top of its list.

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