Fast, affordable Internet access for all.
Deployments by municipalities were among the first FTTH systems operating in the United States. Though, in aggregate, they do not approach the number of FTTH subscribers of a Verizon – which currently accounts for two-thirds of all FTTH deployments in the U.S. – municipal systems do have a significant percentage of all non-Verizon subscribers. Further, they represent an important aspect of national FTTH deployment, namely, the option and opportunity for local elected officials and civic leaders to upgrade local connectivity - when private enterprise will not take on the job.
The telecom and cable kings of the broadband industry have failed to bridge the digital divide and opted to serve the most lucrative markets at the expense of universal, affordable access. As a result, local governments and community groups across the country have started building their own broadband networks, sometimes in a purely public service and more often through public-private partnerships. The incumbents have responded with an aggressive lobbying and misinformation campaign. Advocates of cable and DSL providers have been activated in several state capitols to push new laws prohibiting or severely restricting municipalities from serving their communities. Earlier this year, Verizon circulated a “fact sheet” to lawmakers, journalists and opinion leaders proclaiming the so-called “failures” of public broadband. Many of the statistics come from a widely discredited study of municipal cable TV networks published in 1998. This paper debunks these lies case by case, juxtaposing information direct from the city networks with quotations from the telco propaganda. The results are unequivocal and damning.
Much misinformation has been disseminated about Burlington Telecom (BT). Here are the facts. BT is a city department of Burlington, Vermont, which owns a fiber-to-the-home network and offers triple play services (phone, cable, internet). The network depends entirely on subscriber revenues and is not subsidized in any form by the City. BT has saved the City money while being built entirely with investor money -- no tax dollars have been or will be used.
ILSR issued a report in 2011 that updates this case study: Learning from Burlington Telecom: Some Lessons for Community Networks
Distributed by Public Technology Institute, the Municipal & Utility Guidebook to Bringing Broadband Fiber Optics to Your Community is a free, comprehensive guide to the economic and quality-of-life benefits of robust fiber infrastructure. It examines in detail four communities that have successfully deployed fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) services to their citizens and businesses.