Public ownership is the starting point. As in all business relationships, ownership equals control, and control is absolutely necessary for a community to ensure that it achieves the economic development goals of a fiber project. The best way to ensure open access going forward is for local government to own and control the local infrastructure.
However, that’s not the only reason for public ownership. As a steward of the public interest, local government has a duty to ensure that public goods, such as essential infrastructure, are widely deployed, well-maintained and open for use by all citizens. Is there any more essential infrastructure in the 21st century than the physical assets necessary for high-capacity data services?
Fiber is the perfect asset for a local government to invest in to improve the local infrastructure for economic development. Fiber can be financed over time frames that are comparable to other public infrastructure projects and in ways the private sector cannot contemplate. What’s more fiber can provide the revenue stream necessary to repay debt without unduly burdening the other capital obligations of the city. Fiber infrastructure can be self-supporting.