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Friday, October 16, 2015

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Chanson de Roland

It seems that Municipal broadband is an idea worth pursuing. Boston is a rich and successful city, for which $500 million is something that it can afford to finance, provided that it can find a competent contractor to wired Boston with fiber optic cable, which shouldn't be hard to do, and the price of subscriptions for that broadband service for its residents and business can be offered at prices that they will pay, which also should be likely, given the high prices that its residents and businesses are currently paying for much less speed, current prices which would easily purchase much faster broadband in Western and Northern Europe and in many other places in the world.

And Massachusetts does not even have to rely on the FCC's new rules that preempt state laws that forbid community broadband, a.k.a., municipal broadband. See https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-preempts-laws-restricting-community-broadband-nctn, where an FCC order preempted such laws in North Carolina and Tennessee. The terms of that FCC order and the authority on which it is based, though applied to North Carolina and Tennessee, appears to be applicable to all states. Yet Massachusetts doesn't have any such restrictions on community broadband, so that it is not a problem.

Boston, therefore, need only determine whether community broadband is in the best interests of her people, which she apparently already has done, and then determine whether community broadband in Boston is economically viable, which, as I wrote, supra, seems quite likely. And since deploying fiber optic cable is well understood and technically easy to do, Boston should find that deploying community broadband is snap compared to the Big Dig. And, of course, given advances in technology, Boston might want to inquire into the legality and feasibility of a hybrid project that combines both fiber optic wire with wireless broadband, perhaps using WiFi bandwidth, into one unified and technologically advanced network.

But, in any event and whether all fibre cable broadband or fibre and wireless broadband, community broadband may well be Boston's best option and would allow Boston Strong to lead the rest of the nation, including California, in showing how to do community broadband for a major city in a way that provides the fastest and best broadband service to people and firms at the best value. Now, that would be an example of Boston's strength not only in enduring and recovering from a tragedy but in excelling in creating an innovative and world-leading communications network.

And I understand that Boston has schools up there, an outfit called the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and another place called Harvard, which might be able to help by supplying some legal, business, and engineering talent to do studies, design the network, consult in building the network, develop business plans for revenues from subscriptions to operate, maintain, and continually upgrade its community broadband network. But, if Boston, MIT, and Harvard can't, then perhaps Los Angeles, UCLA, Stanford, and Berkeley can.

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