Stories

Kim Hart May 25, 2017
SaveSave story

Many city-run broadband networks hit financial trouble, study says

AP

A study by the University of Pennsylvania Law School found that fiber networks built by cities to provide high-speed broadband to citizens and businesses are riddled with financial pitfalls and many times end up as debt-ridden burdens for municipal governments.

Why it matters: City-run fiber networks have gotten a lot of attention over the past few years for their potential to provide cheaper service to residents and create competition to private network operators. Two cities — Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, North Carolina — convinced the FCC in 2015 to preempt state laws barring municipal broadband networks, but the decision was overturned in court.

Findings: The report's findings aren't optimistic about the sustainability of municipal fiber projects.