Broadband Communities

OCT 2017

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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2 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | OCTOBER 2017 EDITOR'S NOTE Broadband Communities (ISSN 0745-8711) (USPS 679-050) (Publication Mail Agreement #1271091) is published 7 times a year at a rate of $24 per year by Broadband Properties LLC, 1909 Avenue G, Rosenberg, TX 77471. Periodical postage paid at Rosenberg, TX, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Broadband Communities, PO Box 303, Congers, NY 10920-9852. CANADA POST: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Bleuchip International, PO Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2. Copyright © 2017 Broadband Properties LLC. All rights reserved. CEO Barbara DeGarmo / PUBLISHER Nancy McCain / E D I TO R - I N - C H I E F Masha Zager / E D I TO R -AT- L A R G E Steven S. Ross / ADV ER T ISING SALES ACCO U N T E X E C U T I V E Irene Prescott / E V E N T S CO O R D I N ATO R Dennise Argil / CO M M U N I T Y N E W S E D I TO R Marianne Cotter / DESIGN & PRODUC T I O N Karry Thomas CO N T R I B U TO R S Rollie Cole, Sagamore Institute for Policy Research David Daugherty, Korcett Holdings Inc. Heather Burnett Gold, Fiber Broadband Association Joanne Hovis, CTC Technology & Energy Michael A. Kashmer, Digital Broadband Programming Consultant W. James MacNaughton, Esq. Christopher Mitchell, Institute for Local Self-Reliance Henry Pye, RealPage, Inc. Bryan Rader, UpStream Network Craig Settles, Gigabit Nation Robert L. Vogelsang, Broadband Communities Magazine B ROAD BAN D PRO PE R TI E S LLC CEO Barbara DeGarmo V ICE PR ESIDEN T, BUSINESS & OPER AT I ONS Nancy McCain CHAIR MAN OF T HE BOAR D Robert L. Vogelsang V ICE CHAIR MAN The Hon. Hilda Gay Legg BUSINESS & EDI TOR IAL OFFICE BROADBAND PROPER T IES LLC 19 09 Avenue G • Rosenb erg, T X 77471 281. 342.9 655 • Fa x 281. 342.1158 w w w. bro adb andcommunities .com T his issue presents the magazine's annual listing of community fiber networks – a listing that grows longer each year. At least 216 municipalities, or groups of municipalities, are building fiber to the premises of residents and/or businesses. Many citizens and elected officials don't believe their communities should enter the telecom business. at's a legitimate opinion. ere are any number of good reasons not to build a broadband network. But it's a mistake to think that community broadband represents creeping socialism: Nearly 20 of the networks are owned in collaboration with private enterprises, about half engage private companies to operate them or provide services, and nearly all the communities are motivated by the desire to support local businesses. In fact, most of the communities would have preferred private providers to build their networks – community broadband is nearly always a last resort. ARE COMMUNITY NETWORKS A BAD DEAL FOR TAXPAYERS? e other criticism leveled at community networks is that they're a "bad deal for taxpayers." Most of these criticisms are spurious. For example, a study published earlier this year by Professor Christopher Yoo and student Timothy Pfenninger of the University of Pennsylvania that claimed several well-known community networks were financial failures received a great deal of press. is report was swiftly debunked by the network owners themselves as well as many independent experts, including Blair Levin of the Brookings Institution and Christopher Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. e UPenn authors made serious factual errors and, more important, did not understand the networks' financial models or take account of many of their community benefits. It is true that some – not many – community broadband networks failed and proved burdensome to taxpayers. Some were sabotaged by political opposition, and others suffered self- inflicted wounds. Still others, though not outright failures, had disappointing results. However, private companies fail, too. When multiple financial institutions collapsed in 2008 and had to be bailed out by taxpayers to the tune of at least half a trillion dollars, no one suggested that private companies didn't belong in the banking business. Generalizing from isolated examples is always dangerous. e community networks that succeed perform an important function: ey introduce competition where there was none before. is results in lower broadband costs and better broadband service. In many documented instances, community broadband strengthens local economies and enables more efficient government service delivery. Because the potential benefits are so great, each community must be allowed to decide for itself whether to invest in this essential infrastructure. Only the community can determine whether it needs a network and has the capacity to build and manage it. v Community Broadband Is a Local Choice Citizens and local elected officials should be able to control their communities' broadband destinies.

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