Policy Documents

Municipally Owned Broadband Networks: A Critical Evaluation (Revised Edition) (Summary)

Joseph L. Bast –
October 22, 2004

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This analysis, revised and updated to reflect national and local changes during the past two years, finds the case for municipal ownership of broadband networks is even weaker than it was then.

Broadband services that were scarce two years ago are now plentiful and reasonably priced. New data from communities that attempted to build and operate municipal broadband systems suggest taxpayers would be very much at risk, even under financing schemes involving certificates of participation.

A broadband initiative in Illinois’ Tri-Cities area (Batavia, St. Charles, Geneva) continues to be a useful case study and precautionary lesson for other communities with similar plans.