This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org on September 26, 2018. A possible vote to greatly expand a municipal broadband network in Hudson, Ohio, has been delayed, but
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This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on February 16, 2018 A recent study from a Harvard University group claims that government-owned broadband networks offer lower
WASHINGTON, DC – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation (TPAF) today unveiled Broadband Boondoggles, a comprehensive collection of information about taxpayer-funded government internet projects. Broadband Boondoggles is
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance sent a letter yesterday urging House members to use today’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversight hearing in the Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee as an opportunity to raise important questions regarding the agency’s actions on preempting state laws around the country as it relates to municipal broadband. The FCC must answer for their role in overreaching into the states, without proper authority, on broadband expansion.
Click ‘read more’ below to see the full letter
Massachusetts State House (Boston, MA)
Municipal broadband, or government broadband, has been an increasing problem for taxpayers. Local lawmakers use it as a “shiny object” sold as a new, better, and more affordable alternative to private sector broadband options. Unfortunately these networks are expensive and unnecessary, usually costing taxpayers more while failing to deliver the quality of service that’s promised. TPA has been working to fight and expose government owned networks (GONs) all around the country and the latest example comes from Massachusetts. Today, lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy will consider testimony on a bill that would move the state closer to their own government broadband service. Yesterday, TPA submitted a letter as testimony, urging the committee members to oppose the bill.
Click “read more” below to see the full letter:
Chattanooga, TN (courtesy, Wikimedia)
There is no shortage of things that government thinks it can do better than the private sector and there’s no limit to what government will spend taxpayer dollars on as keenly demonstrated on a regular basis in Washington, D.C. One of the more egregious examples of this regularly occurring phenomenon is the funding of municipal broadband networks. These government-backed operations have been shown to be a waste of valuable taxpayer money with systems that have quality far less comparable to the same work provided by the private sector. A recent study by George S. Ford, PhD, of the Phoenix Center took a close look at these municipal broadband networks and found evidence to suggest that one of the supposed “benefits” of these government programs doesn’t actually exist. The study from Dr. Ford is a direct response to an earlier study that claimed municipal broadband services offered a better deal on the so-called “bundled packages” as compared with private companies. Dr. Ford found the study was comparing plans that weren’t alike and when he made the adjustments, both the public and private sector offered the similar plans at similar prices. And, another difference in price is that taxpayer-funded networks cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars while the private sector networks have ZERO cost to taxpayers. Municipal broadband networks are not only using taxpayer dollars to try and sell something for the same price as a private company, they’re actually selling a less desirable product overall. The New York Times published an article about Chattanooga’s EPB in an article titled “Fast Internet Is Chattanooga’s New Locomotive.” The New York Times painted a picture of a program that boasts some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, right in rural America. TPA has researched EPB and the facts don’t support the claims by The New York Times (read here). The biggest problem with EPB is that there’s not enough people that use the service to warrant a taxpayer-funded program that remains years after it was first introduced. Most consumers in the city aren’t using (or will probably never use) the gigabit service so there is no reason why taxpayers should be funding the EPB after it has been around for four years and still isn’t providing a unique service in high-demand.
When government decides to crash the private sector there are always major concerns regardless of the project or the reasoning behind the move. Two major concerns that seem to play out over and over again are that the government can’t do a better job than those businesses that are already providing the service; and that inefficiency will lead to wasted taxpayer money. In a recent study from the Reason Foundation, a six -year government-run broadband project in Louisiana (LUS Fiber) proved once again that taxpayers are getting nowhere near their money’s worth when it comes to public-sector attempts to best the free-market. This comes as no surprise to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) because we have written about LUS Fiber in the past (click here to read previous posts). Last week, Steven Titch with the Reason Foundation discussed the study, Lessons in Municipal Broadband from Lafayette, Louisiana, and some of the key findings of the Lafayette Utilities Service that began in 2005. The LUS has been around for several years and has been held up as the shining example of how municipal broadband services can succeed if given enough taxpayer dollars. LUS has received attention from not only prominent media types, but also a former Obama administration official. The high-profile associated with the program was something not lost on Mr. Titch.