Community broadband disinformation

This misleading article suggests an astroturf effort to discredit community broadband projects.

Some incumbents may be fearful of the stimulus funding because it will enable many community projects to meet build out goals much more quickly than originally planned, and to show that they can be financially viable.

There is a mixture of disinformation and truth in the short article, combined skillfully to paint with a very broad brush.

The disinformation part is the phrase "taxpayer funded." We actually don't ever recommend funding these efforts with tax revenue, and I know of very few community projects that have taken that route.

The "truth" part is the that community WiFi projects, as a whole, have not done well and cannot meet future capacity requirements. But by not differentiating between fiber projects (e.g. Danville, Lafayette, LA, The Wired Road) and modest but inadequate WiFi efforts, they cleverly manage to make it sound like all community projects are the same, and that all have failed.

nDanville's first year of operations as an open access, open service network has collected only one complaint: service providers want the project to hook up customers faster!

The Wired Road has cut costs dramatically for the Carroll County Public schools and increased bandwidth to individual schools by as much as 60 times. The local hospital has received one of the first fiber connections, and cut their Internet costs in half and tripled their bandwidth. The first residential wireless customers are being added this month, and sixty buildings in downtown Galax will get fiber next week. Lafayette, Louisiana has begun offering superb "future proof" fiber connections to residents and businesses after winning a long legal battle.

Well planned community efforts are going to reshape the telecom landscape, and the incumbents are worried. They need not be, as they can always come on open networks and compete to keep their existing customers and try to win new ones.

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