OPINION: TEXAS CITY CONSIDERS FUNNELING TAXPAYER MONEY INTO BROADBAND

The Daily Caller | 11/15/2018 | Staff
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Even though customers in New Braunfels, Texas, can already access lightning-fast broadband speeds exceeding one gigabit per second, the City Council there seems intent on building a fiber backbone that would connect businesses using taxpayer money.

The Council recently issued a request for qualifications seeking internet service providers (ISPs) to partner with the city. The city wants to use $3.5 million in taxpayer funds to build a dark-fiber network spanning 55 miles, with the chosen ISP providing the “last mile” connecting businesses to the network. Of course, the $3.5 million is merely an estimate and the costs could rise significantly.

KentuckyWired - Statewide - Broadband - Network - Cost

That’s what recently happened with KentuckyWired, the statewide broadband network that has seen massive cost overruns. Bluegrass State taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $1.5 billion, the state auditor there said.

Like that project, New Braunfels is seeking to build the “middle mile.”

Provider - Infrastructure - Assistant - City - Manager

“We’re not interested in being a provider, but we can invest in the infrastructure,” Assistant City Manager Kristi Aday told San Antonio Business Journal. “We are the second-fastest growing city in the country, but we are light on fiber.”

New Braunfels isn’t quite as light on fiber as it may first appear. The city is basing its decisions on a 2015 study from Denver-based Magellan Advisors.

Researchers - Magellan - Instance - Company - Municipalities

But the researchers of Magellan nary have a single instance of the company telling municipalities that projects aren’t feasible.

If you pore over the various reports scattered across the web, posted by cities and counties in which consultants have researched broadband, it’s hard to find an example in which a consultant told a government not to offer high-speed internet in some capacity, whether it’s building a full-fledged utility-operated network or a fiber-optic...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Daily Caller
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