9 ISJLP 21 (2013-2014)
Municipal Broadband: History's Guide

handle is hein.journals/isjlpsoc9 and id is 21 raw text is: I/S: A JOURNAL OF LAW AND POLICY FOR THE INFORMATION SOCIETY
Municipal Broadband: History's Guide
ERIC NULL*
Abstract: Over the past decade, an amazing trend has taken
hold across the country-municipalities have begun
providing Internet access to themselves and their citizens.
Many areas of the United States, rural areas especially, are
being left without privately provided Internet access. Those
areas might consider a municipally-controlled alternative
to private Internet service providers to prevent being left
behind as the Internet increasingly becomes the means in
which society communicates, participates, and influences.
While benefits abound when municipalities provide Internet
access, not every municipality should do so. Factual
circumstances change from city to city. Many are, or can
be, served adequately by private service providers, and that
should be a consideration. Municipalities considering
providing their own network should look to case studies to
gain important insight. This article provides a small
sampling of case studies that could provide such insight.
This article will detail the stories offive municipal networks
and deduce lessons they can teach us. First, three success
stories will be discussed: Bristol, Va., Corpus Christi, Tex.,
and Santa Monica, Cal. A discussion of the unsuccessful
stories in Philadelphia, Pa., and St. Cloud, Fla. will
follow. From these cases, lessons regarding business models
and growth of the network can be gleaned. Both of these
lessons are important to comprehend when determining
whether to pursue a municipal broadband network, and
both could cause the demise of the network if not handled
J.D. 2012, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. This is a seminar paper for the
Communications Law course at Cardozo Law School. Thanks to Professor Susan Crawford
for her great comments throughout my drafts. Thanks to Christopher Mitchell of the
Institute of Local Self-Reliance for his comments and thoughts.

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