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For Cherry Valley, Ill. The Cost Selling Internet Directly To Consumers Is Too High

August 1, 2016

CNE 1Last week, this blog highlighted a survey the by Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) that found high-speed internet ranked dead last in terms of priorities that voters want government policymakers to address. Low pay for teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees; public education; traffic congestion; and a whole host of other issues all ranked much higher.

The TPA study also found 84 percent Americans are happy with their current Internet service—a finding that probably contributes to the fact voters don’t believe the government needs to meddle in the internet market.

Unfortunately, these numbers aren’t likely to stop government internet advocates from demanding taxpayer-funded municipal networks. As evidence, just take a look at this story from Cherry Valley and Rockford, Ill.

These cities already have a $68.5 million government network, but pro-government network advocates want the city to spend even more so it can offer service directly to consumers.

Why?

One advocate admits he can get service from private providers and that “it’s not that I need a faster connection.” This individual just wants service to be “cheaper …”

Never mind that studies have shown that government internet is more expensive than privately provided service.

Thankfully for taxpayers, local officials aren’t biting. They understand that most voters have other priorities. Cherry Valley Village President Jim Claeyssen said it needs “to spend money on keeping up sidewalks, roads, and drainage issues” and noted that, in 2015, the city spent $29,000 to connect with city’s new public works building to the local government network, iFiber.

iFiber’s own leadership is skeptical of providing service directly to consumers. According to the Rockford Register Star, “Glenn Trommels, the city’s IT director and iFiber board chairman, said the internet services business is ‘super competitive’” and that entering the market would be “risky.” Trommels also noted his goal is to partner with the private sector to increase competition. He explained, “Our path forward is not to build it … We want to induce outside investment to come in and leverage that (iFiber) backbone.”

That sounds like the best way to go … and the option most voters would actually support.