Is MuniBroadband For Public Good?

St. Paul-based economist and writer Edward Lotterman takes a very dispassionate view of the current debate about municipal owned broadband networks. “There is no clear right or wrong answer on this issue,” he writes today in the Pioneer Press. I agree with him – a part of me says that technology gets obsolete so quickly that it doesn’t make sense for munis to own their broadband infrastructure. Its not like water systems of electricity grids, where shifts happen. Another part of me says, well if big companies and incumbents don’t want to sell a service in a small town, then there is no option. I agree with Lotterman – this whole thing is a divisive and passionate issue without any real data. That said, the big issue which bothers me the most – is the anti-capitalistic stance taken by some local politicians who are selling out by introducing legislations to put a damper on the muni-broadband movement. Meanwhile St. Paul city council has decided to start analysis of a citywide wireless network.

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