War for the Web
21 03.12

Community Broadband

It is quite clear that communities with robust Internet connections have a competitive advantage in attracting business and educational opportunities. Having a strong local network draws these businesses in because it saves them having to build their own infrastructure. It also aids these communities in other ways. The local government rents its bandwidth to local businesses and consumers; many of these networks pay for themselves or even turn a profit.

Local municipalities benefit in other ways. Strong networks make the jobs of emergency service workers easier. They give hospitals and EMTs the ability to connect on the fly. They let police officers and firefighters interact quickly and efficiently. There are lots of reasons why these community broadband networks are a good idea, provided they are operated transparently and effectively administered.

The most recent success story in a municipal broadband network is Chattanooga, Tennessee. It offers Gigabit of access to anyone in the city. The municipality took on substantial debt to accomplish this feat, but because of a rapid expansion of its subscriber base, it has shaved several years off its long term obligations.

This kind of success demonstrates that the Internet can function as an integral part of a local community, as run by the community itself. With successful implementation and intelligent administration community broadband can be a great boon.

Check out more at muninetworks.org

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