Broadband consultants collect hefty fees as they push taxpayer-supported networks

Baltimore mayor-elect Catherine Pugh listed a litany of other municipal broadband failures in a 2013 op-ed in the Baltimore Sun when she served in the state Senate.

The Democrat pointed to Provo, Utah, which spent $40 million to build a network it would ultimately sell to Google Fiber for a $1, as well as Marietta and Groton, Connecticut, where taxpayers lost $38 million.

“For many local governments, the promise is seductive. A cottage industry of consultants and network builders — who stand to profit handsomely — sell the idea to misty-eyed government officials that building a municipal broadband network will spawn a local Silicon Valley microcosm that will be a monument to their incumbency,” she wrote. “But what they don’t see is that the economics of the grand venture doom it to likely failure.

“For the most part, municipally-built broadband networks have the economic chips stacked against them and, where tried, have saddled local taxpayers with a mountain of debt and half-built networks that are then sold at fire-sale prices to vulture investors,” Pugh continued.

Watchdog
12/7/16