Monticello, Minnesota may soon begin building a fiber network to every home and business within its municipality soon. The Minnesota Supreme Court sided with Monticello after incumbent Bridgewater Telephone Co., a subsidiary of TDS Telecommunications of Madison WI, appealed two lower court rulings. (I would suggest the comments be read after the story as well).
Monticello passed, with a majority vote ~70%, to finance $26 million and build the fiber network within in the municipality. The Monticello network creates positive and negative consequences.
Fiber network in a town that has previously been bypassed
Connections to every home, not just business or "better neighborhoods"
Possible lower prices (speculation at this point)
A network that is more attentive to the people of the municipality
Financial obligation of the municipality towards the network
Overbuilding network, not every house or business may want services
As the article mentions, alienation of private investment in the municipality (speculation as well)
"Government" control over the network
Like any large investment there are negative and positive consequences. Burlington Telecom (Vermont) conducted a similar project several years ago. That entity seems to be doing well. However a quick glance at their Internet speeds/price structure is troublesome. Though it is hard to compare my cable ISP in Wisconsin to a fiber ISP in Vermont.
No matter the outcome of the Monticello fiber network, the project can provide further information for othre municipalities bypassed by incumbent service providers. The municipal model could even lead to such things as Internet service being moved into the utility sector, which I have advocated for quite some time.
1 hour ago