It's a fair question to ask why should we create a municipal broadband network? Part of the answer includes the failure of the telecom industry to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
But the bigger answer includes so many great reasons...here's a list of them that the Milton Municipal Fiber initiative finds most compelling:
Cost Savings, both for the town and for residents
A municipal broadband network sets prices to cover operational costs and to pay off construction costs, not to maximize profits for distant shareholders. Both the town and residents will be able to avoid monopoly pricing from Comcast. Forever.
Fundamental management decisions like network expansion, maintenance and upgrades, and contracting with third party service providers would be entirely in community hands.
Monopolistic gatekeepers like Comcast would have no input or influence on how we choose to run our network, unlike the case today since they own our current and out-dated Institutional Network (I-NET). Control and ownership of our network is critically important with regard to the communication needs of our schools and first responders, as well as our ability to install and operate smart-grid technologies to help manage traffic flow in town.
With advanced wireless technologies right around the corner, full control over our 100% fiber municipal network is especially important today. These technologies rely on fiber, and with a municipal network we'll be in a position to influence how they're integrated into our community.
Social and economic equity
Since the guiding principles of a community-owned network are set by the community, we can instill an unwavering commitment to universal access and affordable pricing for all as our municipal network's core mission.
Many owners of fiber networks, both municipal and private, lease excess capacity to third parties. While not a guaranteed revenue generator, a municipal fiber network offers the possibility for the town to generate new revenue streams.
Fiber connectivity is increasingly recognized for its economic development benefits. The advantage to all types of businesses is the ability to purchase high-capacity, gigabit internet connection essentially at cost, a compelling reason to locate in Milton. And there are other, less direct economic benefits for a town like Milton, such as enabling robust and reliable telecommuting, and the opportunity for home based-businesses to thrive.
Choice / Competition / Service
No one likes a monopoly, except the monopolist. And for good reason: typically a monopoly will charge whatever it can get away with without improving service. Why spend money in improvements when your customers have no other choice?
An open access municipal broadband network offers more choice, which spurs competition between service providers. And when there's true competition prices have the wonderful tendency to go down, not up, over time, with the added benefit of improving customer service.
Ditto for net neutrality. If you're unfamiliar with net neutrality, it's the principle that ISP's should treat all data equally and not discriminate or charge differently based on user, content, website, or platform. When net neutrality is required, ISP's may not intentionally block, slow down, or charge money for specific online content.
Increased property values
In recent years there's been research showing a bump in property values for homes that are hooked up to a fiber network. Although there hasn't been a ton of research in this area, we thought we'd include it because it kind of makes sense.
And last but not least.....since our municipal network will be fiber-optic....Performance! Speed and data capacity
A fiber optic network is capable of delivering gigabit capacity at blazing fast speeds. It will be designed with scalability in mind: as the demand for data keeps growing a fiber network will be able to keep up.