September 15, 2016
Kelly McCutchen, president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation (GPPF), posted a column last week on the GPPF website arguing Georgia needs a “forward-thinking telecommunication policy” to make it “a great place to live and economically competitive.”
What would that plan look like. Here are McCutchen’s suggestions:
McCutchen concludes by arguing, “Local governments should not try to operate their own network.” He warns, “Consultants who paint a rosy picture of municipal networks are often the only ones to come out on top while cities are left with fewer than expected customers, higher than expected expenses and long-term debt.” In a worst case scenario, McCutchen says, a local government can “hire a private operator to build out and operate the network,” which would limit taxpayer exposure.
The private sector has already served Georgians well. McCutchen cites FCC figures that show 87 percent of Georgians have access to wired broadband connections with speeds of 25 megabits per second. (That figure includes 75 percent of Georgians in rural areas.) He also notes Georgia is the 14th most connected state in the nation, its access rates are “well above the US average of 61 percent,” and “every Georgia school, public health department and hospital is connected to wired broadband.”
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