Competition from public utilities may help drive down the cost of broadband:
- Folks in Glasgow, Ky., pay $19 a month for 70 cable channels, and for an additional $25 they can get fast Internet access.
How do they get prices half the national average?
Because the city-owned electric utility provides cable TV and Internet access over wires that also monitor power usage in the town of 14,000. The utility isn’t trying to profit from the service – just recover its costs.
Utility superintendent William Ray estimates that since Glasgow began offering cable in 1989, $32 million of residents’ money has stayed in the town.
Frustrated with the high cost and slow pace of broadband deployment in much of the country, 511 publicly owned utilities now provide telecom services for residents, schools, city agencies and their internal operations, up nearly 14 percent from a year ago, according to the American Public Power Association.
….private companies say municipal telecoms create unfair competition because they have no need to make profits or pay off debts quickly.
Ultimately, the municipal telecom fight boils down to two words: “any” and “entity.”
The 1996 Telecommunications Act said no state or city could prohibit “any entity” from providing “any” telecom service. [AP]
Sound pretty airtight.