The essence of the objection to municipal involved in communications is that public intervention will undermine the private sector due to the cost advantages uniquely available to governmental entities, thus creating a barrier to public entry. As we have shown, however, this objection fails in two ways: First, municipalities tend not to become involved in communications in markets characterized by effective competition; and second, where municipalities do become communications providers, private entry into the market tends to be stimulated rather than suppressed.
Florida County Saves Millions by Building its own Broadband Network
We have just released a paper revealing how Martin County saved millions of dollars by building its own fiber optic network to link schools and county facilities rather than leasing lines from Comcast.
The report, Florida Fiber: Martin County Saves Big with Gigabit Network, reveals how Martin County transformed the threat of a near ten-fold cost increase for its telecom budget into cost savings and new opportunities for economic growth.
Download the Florida Fiber Report here.
“Martin County is a model example of how local governments can cut costs, increase efficiencies, and spur economic development,” according to Christopher Mitchell, Director of ILSR’s Telecommunications as Commons Initiative. “Local governments will need broadband networks in 10, 15, 30 years – they should consider owning the asset rather than leasing indefinitely.”
ILSR Broadband Researcher Lisa Conzalez and Christopher Mitchell authored the report.
The new report highlights challenges the County faced, creative tactics used to reduce the cost of the investment, financial details on the incredible cost savings from the network, and how the new connections are already being used.
Though the County is not planning on offering services directly to residents or businesses over the network, the network has already allowed a local Internet Service Provider to expand its territory and offer some choices to people and businesses previously stuck only with AT&T and Comcast. Additionally, the network is leasing dark fiber to some entities.
Florida law makes it difficult for the community to offer services to residents and businesses by imposing additional regulations on public providers that are not imposed on massive companies like AT&T and Comcast.
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