When you decide to take action on broadband, you have a wide range of options. You will select among them based on their cost and difficulty, the public’s understanding of the challenge and your leadership’s appetite for financial and political risk.
Most of the options have the same goal: to make the community a more attractive market for private-sector investment in digital connectivity. The most powerful way to do so is to reduce the upfront investment required to serve the market, which lowers the risk and increases the profit potential.
Many leaders of local government are surprised to find that they have options. But they do. They range from steps that are not in the least controversial, because they call on the accepted authority of local government, to actions that put local government into competition with the private sector. That’s controversial just about everywhere. There is not just one answer for every place, just as there is not one kind of demand for broadband. Broadly speaking, most communities have five options. They are not exclusive – rather, they are a set of steps on a staircase that leads upward to high-quality connectivity.
1. Connectivity Haves and Have-Nots
2. Filling the Gap: Options for Gaining Broadband Access
3. Land-Use Policy
- Example: Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia
4. Government Networks
- Example: Regional Municipality of York, Ontario, Canada
5. Public Infrastructure
- Example: Dublin, Ohio, USA
6. Open Access Networks
- Example: Stockholm, Sweden
7. Direct Competition
- Example: Bristol, Virginia, USA
8. The Five Hidden Truths About Networks
9. The Unexpected Secret to Success
- Example: Westerville, Ohio, USA
10. What’s the Right Choice?