Electric Utilities and The Future of Open Broadband

Electric Co-Ops and Municipal Light Departments have been offering Internet Access over fiber for many years and more are beginning the process. The model has been to deploy fiber for “utility meter reading” and then, at near zero marginal costs, offer high speed Internet access. This may be clever, and very profitable, and in many rural areas it’s the only high-speed Internet Access game in town. However, in non-rural area this can have the effect of deepening the existing digital divide and creating a new one. This is not the future of broadband. It’s not fair to incumbent broadband providers or any other over-builder who can’t hide the huge fiber construction cost in an electric utility rate base.

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Categories: Fiber

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