Building a Municipal Broadband Network: Lessons Learned From Those That Failed

digital-court-reporting-whitepaperAs Princeton moves forward to the design phase of a proposed high-speed fiber optic network, residents must decide how they will vote on a motion to approve the project later this year. Proponents of the plan understand the importance of in-home access to fast, affordable Internet, low-cost telephone service, and high performance streaming video capabilities. Opponents say we do not need access to the Internet or that we should wait a few years for something better and cheaper. Others believe it’s a poor investment and a financial burden we can’t afford, one that will only saddle taxpayers with a hefty bill.

Some of those who oppose the project point to a search engine generated list of public municipal broadband projects around the country that have failed or are in serious financial jeopardy, making the assumption that the same scenario will most certainly occur in Princeton. We believe that those attempting to connect the dots from failed networks to Princeton’s plan, which is still in its early stages, lack a full understanding of the sequence of events that led to these failures in other communities.

Continued in our downloadable whitepaper (PDF) »

See also Apples and Oranges: Properly Evaluating Municipal Funded Fiber Network Projects



  1. wayne adams

    To help the residents of Princeton better understand the plans underway, it would be desired to have information that details the failures of these other cities and what Princeton is doing differently that builds confidence the plan is on the right track. There are some obvious points, such as no competition of similar speeds, however there will be competition for basic phone service as we have it today – e.g., Land-line and cellphone. It can be premature to conclude residents having fibre would drop the landline. Many work at home types who sit on hours of conference calls know the issues of those with VOIP setups…the global internet can effect their clarity…not just the last mile of the setup and whats in the house and landlines also work when there is no power at the residence.

    I’m requesting facts be pulled together, in a simple to understand manner, to help us with the decisions we need to vote on later this month. E.g. muni A had problem #1 ; princeton addresses this problem by plan subsection #1 ; muni B had problem #2 , princeton addresses this problem by plan subsection #2, etc….

    Many of the success stories also on Muni-networks speak of new businesses moving into a town. Would be good to hear how the town and the network operator would help town business districts and overlays attract information-age businesses to locate here for increased tax revenues. E.g., business campus with power generators, redundant loops/drops, special incentives.

    Some mid-term projections on residential costs would be good to see, if reductions in costs would be passed along due to more subscribers, new businesses, etc… If our property values are going to go up by having the network, will the property tax rate be reduced. Since the network bond as planned is to be allocated to the residents based on property values, as property values change over time, will the rates per resident be kept flat or rise also.

  2. GLL

    Good article.FYI.  The first two sentences of paragraph 4 are repeated.  Looks like a copy/paste occurred twice.-GaryGary Langevin, President/Chief TechnologistWachusett Systems, Inc.Wachusett PC SupportPO Box 18229 Old Brooks Station RoadPrinceton, MA 01541H.O. 978-464-5875Cell

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