Flutterby™! : Towns should do it themselves

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Towns should do it themselves

2010-04-13 15:24:18.985513+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

If you're anywhere near the wide-eyed civic boosters for your town, you've probably heard a lot of buzz about Google's Fiber Initiative. I know Chattanooga has fiber courtesy of the EPB, at least in some areas, but you should probably build that fiber network yourself.

Relatedly, Californians will be asked to vote on Prop 16, an PG&E sponsored initiative that lessens or removes the ability of local towns to set up and manage their own power grids. It's easy to scoff at the ability of local government to run infrastructure, but in our neck of the woods the town of Windsor has their own electric distribution company, and they have reliability and prices that the rest of us in the Marin and Sonoma area can only dream of.

[ related topics: broadband Bay Area Chattanooga ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-04-20 22:34:32.763031+00 by: Dan Lyke

I think part of the reason money is currently collected at a grander scale and then redistributed down is that especially for things like education giving poor regions more resources to keep them from dragging down the rich regions is the intent.

The hard part is that most people don't think abstractly enough to understand that there are at least 5 levels of government in play in any particular issue, so they automatically blame the higher levels, which moves more power away from the local jurisdictions.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-04-20 20:58:09.138788+00 by: Shawn

This post sparked a thought. One that needs more exploration, but simply put goes something like this:

At one time, large governments may have made sense to provide services to large bodies of people. However, technology, innovation, etc. have brought us to a point where it's functionally (operationally?) possible to have a more distributed form of government.

Into the chewer it goes.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-04-14 04:00:08.967946+00 by: ebradway

Evidently cities can vote to override the state regulation - which was attempted and failed last fall. Stupid conservative thinking... Especially since the idea was to have private companies lease the city-owned fiber and sell bandwidth. The only real effect would have been Qwest and Comcast losing their infrastructure lock on the city.

Longmont schools and public offices are all interconnected at gigabit speeds - and have been since 1997!

#Comment Re: made: 2010-04-14 00:25:15.289059+00 by: Dan Lyke

The first crack in my Ayn Rand worship came when I realized that if we go to that extreme for real estate ownership the eventual result is a kingdom.

The right way to view local government structures in a free market context is that they're all competing HOAs with voting rights extended to tenants. As soon as you start saying "you can't compete with...", especially at a state level, it ends up becoming protectionism for a class of companies well known for screwing their customers.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-04-13 16:23:04.437499+00 by: ebradway

Longmont laid fiber in 1997. Quite forward looking of them. Unfortunately, the city planners forgot to vet state laws. In the more libertarian (or maybe Qwest-dominated) state of Colorado, cities cannot compete with private communication companies. So most of that fiber has been dark for 13 years. I probably have city-owned fiber to my front door but I can't get better than 1.5Mbps out of Qwest.