Why Municipal Fiber Hasn’t Succeeded

April 3, 2009

One of most heated broadband policy debates concerns whether broadband in general, and fiber networks in particular, should be provided by private carriers or local governments. In an article in “The FTTH Prism,” Rob Atkinson and George Ou argue that that despite the promises of municipal fiber, the actual success rate of these community fiber projects has been lukewarm at best and in many cases a failure at worst. The article explains why fiber is not necessarily the only technology to focus on, how faster speeds are evolving, why municipal fiber “over-build” projects are economically inefficient, and why municipal fiber hasn’t succeeded in many cases. Finally, it presents a policy framework for thinking about this issue. (see page 17)