Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2015

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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MARCH/APRIL 2015 | | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | 7 grew by almost 4 percent (see blue- tinted values in the table). In states without restrictions, the bottom 10 percent of counties lost much less population (-0.26 percent). Tat's even more startling because their overall populations weren't growing as fast. Te top 10 percent of counties in nonrestriction states grew by 2.56 percent. Tus, restrictions on municipal broadband don't appear to afect economic growth in the healthy metropolitan counties where private ISPs are investing, but they do appear to afect growth in the broadband have- not counties. Tis information, along with more details I will report at the Summit, adds layers of confdence to the study fndings published in the November- December 2014 issue. Tat article showed that counties in the bottom half of their state rankings for access to 25 Mbps download speeds had a population growth of only 0.27 percent from 2010 through the end of 2013. Te top half enjoyed growth of 2.79 percent – more than 10 times greater. In actual numbers, counties in the bottom half of their state rankings added just 134,390 people, and those in the top half added more than 7.2 million in the four-year study period. THE IMPACT AFFECTS US ALL Te entire country is afected negatively as people migrate to where the jobs are. In addition to families' being separated, stagnant counties lose tax base, jobs and property value. Banks' balance sheets sufer, and banks fnd fewer local investment opportunities, so the counties actually export local savings. Fast-growing communities must quickly pay for new infrastructure and schools and sufer time-wasting congestion. Admittedly, although many counties lose population because they lack access to modern communications, in some cases the causality is reversed: Communities lack Internet access because private Internet service providers cannot make a good enough business case where population is sparse and population growth is low or negative. However, even where population loss comes frst, it sets up a vicious cycle. People leave; telecom providers fail to invest; more people leave. THE MUNI BROADBAND 'THREAT' Carriers that worry about the possibility of municipal deployments fall into two categories. Small, rural carriers – the smallest of Tier 3 local exchange carriers – make up most of the frst category. Tey sincerely worry about the competitive threat posed by supposedly deep-pocketed municipalities. Tis "threat" is vanishingly small. Tere are 40,000 municipal governments in the United States, 16,000 of them large enough to have school systems. Te BroadBand Communities database (www.fberville. com) shows only 141 municipal fber-to-the-home systems. Some of the 141 systems serve multiple municipalities, so, to be generous, let's Restrictions on municipal broadband don't appear to afect economic growth in the healthy metropolitan counties where private ISPs are investing. Analysis by Broadband Communities shows that broadband have-not counties sufer worse population losses in states with restrictions on municipal broadband.

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