Think Tank Slams iProvo, Municipal Broadband

The Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank from California, has released two studies recent slamming iProvo specifically and municipal broadband in general. They make a solid case that city-run WiFi networks (as with all WiFi networks) face rapid obsolescence that a city probably can't keep up with. However, they go well off the mark by including fiber projects in their slams, paying little heed to the long-term viability of these networks and the obvious benefits to the city to have such networks available for their use.

The slams on iProvo are particularly ill-founded. Yes, iProvo was hamstrung by a bad initial choice in a broadband provider. Yes, they've had three years of losses as a result. What we have to ask, however, is if a private company that built the network would have closed up shop after only three years. In the pursuit of their obvious agenda, they have placed the bar for success much higher for iProvo than any reasonable person would for a private enterprise. Once iProvo meets their target for subscribers within the next two years, it should start breaking even.

When we take a closer look at the figures, we see that residents of Provo are paying about $12.40 per resident per year for the losses. For a family of five, you're at $62 a year, or around $5 a month. If they switch either their Internet or TV service to iProvo, they are saving more than that every single month. As more subscribers come on, that difference drops even more. While it sounds impressive to quote big numbers, these "Reason" Foundation nitwits have also been horrendously dishonest.

In short, iProvo is a winning proposition for residents of Provo, it's a winning proposition for true telecommunications competition, and it's a hearty stab into the heart of the over-charging and under-delivering incumbent providers that we've all been saddled with. Having a $1.24M loss in a year is a drop in the bucket compared to what the telcos have been overcharging us for over a decade. It's a small price to lay the groundwork of a truly competitive space for communications services.

Let's hope these obvious industry shills will learn to keep their dishonesty to themselves and stop defending the industry that ripped us off for over $200B since 1996.

(See articles here, here, here, here, and here.)

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