February 10, 2017
A Wisconsin government owned broadband network has been sold to a telecommunications company in an effort to let taxpayers “avoid future risk.” According to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation, under government ownership, the Sun Prairie system only attracted 200 customers and racked up more than $9.3 million in debt (or, more than $46,500 per customer).
According Telecompetitor.Com, TDS Telecommunications Corporation, a subsidiary of Telephone and Data Systems, Inc., has announced its plans to buy Sun Prairie, Wis.’s government owned internet system from the city’s utility system. The website explains “a non-binding letter of intent [LOI] gives TDS ownership and management of the fiber network …” According to the report, TDS hopes to have a final agreement in place by the end of next month.
Sun Prairie started construction on its government internet network in 1999.
Sun Prairie Mayor Paul Esser said consumers will fare better under TDS ownership and management. He explained, “By transitioning our network to TDS, more households and businesses will have access to fiber internet at no risk to the Utility.” It looks like the mayor is right. According to TDS Vice President of External Affairs and Communications Drew Peterson, the company plans to expand the network so that it includes a gigabit speed offering, as well as phone service and television.
Telecompetitor.Com reminds readers that, “A few other high profile municipal broadband acquisitions like BVU in Virginia and Google buying Provo’s $39 million municipal broadband network for $1 highlight the risk of some municipal broadband investments, some pundits argue.”
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