Thursday, July 24, 2008

Municipal owned fiber

The small town of Monticello, Minnesota seems an unlikely spot for a battle over city-owned fiber-to-the-home. The town, which is a distant commute to Minneapolis, thought it could better attract residents and business by building its own fiber-optic network. After a couple years of due diligence, the town held a referendum; 74 percent of voters agreed to fund the $25 million scheme. The city sought the needed municipal bonds, but the day before it closed on them, the local telco filed suit to stop the plan. Its claim: taking out bonds to build a fiber network is illegal.

My comment on this build out isn't whether the 'tax free' nature of the bonds are uncompetitive, (personally i think the muni should issue 'taxed' bonds to put this infrastructure implementation on an equally competitive playing field with the carrier).

My comment on this article is in the very last paragraph -

Local control, choice of ISP
Assuming the lawsuit can be dealt with, Monticello hopes to build fiber lines to each home and business in town with the goals of:

  • choice of service provider
  • competitive rates
  • local service
  • local ownership
  • economic development
  • economic returns to the community
Monticello's solution is to build an interconnect facility of its own where ISPs can come in and link up to any fiber user who wants their service. The city maintains the lines and the connection facility, but doesn't need to become an ISP.

This is exactly the way ALL FIBER should be rolled out.

In Canberra, Australia the Transact network is deployed this way, upstream content providers can even deliver VOD services from the central Interconnect facility to set-top boxes in the residents homes.

Makes a lot more sense than ripping up the pavement multiple times for parallel cable runs (or even worse competing technologies).

What do you think?



  1. For more details about the Monticello, Minnesota USA community owned fiber optic network visit:

  2. wow thanks for dropping by.

    I checked out the site, looks like you guys have a really solid project plan there. I hope things go well for you, are there any internal thoughts you'd like to share anonymously?

    Also do you have any comments about my thought on 'non tax free' bonds, eg a level playing field for ROI costs rather than being unfair to the carriers?