Middle Mile networks across the country, funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), connected community anchor institutions (CAI) such as schools, libraries, and emergency services to fixed fiber. It was a major undertaking and today most towns in the Northeast have fiber connections. In Connecticut, for example, all 169 towns have access to fiber through community anchor networks. Sertex has partnered in building 37 of these town networks.
Now that community anchors are in place, fixed fiber access points are closer to the end-user than ever before. This reality presents opportunities for towns to build municipally-owned last-mile networks that connect every premise in town to reliable, affordable fiber broadband.
There are many benefits for a town to own its fiber network.
First and foremost, local leaders and taxpayers control all aspects of the network infrastructure and the relationships with Internet Service Providers (ISP). Second, public networks are built to connect every home and business in the community, providing universal, affordable access regardless of the demographics of the people living or working there. The community ultimately gets faster internet speeds, controlled prices, and local customer service. This model treats broadband as a public utility, available to all.
Conversely, private ownership of broadband treats fiber infrastructure as a commodity, leaving control over the availability and cost of access in the hands of for-profit companies. Typically, these companies only extend service to those areas offering the greatest financial reward.
There are many other benefits, including economic development through business and residential growth, job creation, enhanced property values, enhanced community services, enhanced access to health care, and opportunities for new income sources.