Tuesday, December 8

Other Information Sources

There has been a lot of conversation concerning WiredWest and the other broadband choices that are open to Egremont. Because many of the readers of this blog may not be followers of these other sites I'm going to post discussions and comments from these sites. What follows is a thread from Egremont Neighbors, a site graciously hosted by Marj Wexler. To read the entire thread follow the link:  https://groups.google.com/forum/?utm_source=digest&utm_medium=email#!topic/egremontneighbors/ZarKYqfBk14

Eric Swanson wrote:

The letter from MBI refers to a consulting firm for some of its concerns about Wired West. The first, and to me most important, concerns are based only on Wired West's proposals regarding ownership and control of a assets paid for by the town of Egremont's taxpayers. Nothing that any Wired West official or representative has ever written or said has addressed those concerns satisfactorily.

There are a number of Wired West True Believers who accept the logic of Wired West's proposal without any real criticism. They are demonizing MBI for doing part of its job. 

The question of how best to provide fiber broadband service to Egremont requires serious scrutiny and evaluation. Some of this forum's posts are more reflective of a religious war than a business decision.

To which Jonathan Taylor responded:

The issue of ownership is a smoke screen, hiding the real issue of the comparative costs to the towns and individual subscribers.

It seems strange that you find the biggest concern to be the ownership issue, because both of the other corporations vying to build our network also plan to own the network,  NOT the town.

On the surface these seem like great alternatives to WiredWest except when you look at their pricing structures. Fiber Connect wants to collect a $250 connection or start up fee and will be charging nearly $100 per month for the entry level of internet access, and will offer no TV as part of their broadband service. Matrix wants to collect a $500 start up fee and will likewise charge about $100 per month and will offer Sling TV which requires a set top box like the Apple TV box which allows anyone with an internet connection to stream TV shows they offer like Apple TV does. WiredWest wants a $100 start up fee plus the $49 subscription fee, will charge $49 per month for their entry level internet and will have an online TV package much like we get from Direct TV or Dish TV. Just not the 900 useless channels. The pricing for that is TBD based on a planned survey of what people want to watch. All three of the companies will offer online telephone service for about $20 per month. By my calculations each subscriber will be spending almost $600 more per year for their internet if we do not work with WiredWest.

Anyone who understands municipal networks knows the participant towns own a percentage of the network not their own portion of it.

Perhaps, the last, but not the least important aspect of WiredWest's proposal is that after a number of years, when the network is up and running and the towns' debts are being paid by WiredWest, the excess profits can be returned to the towns. This has been belittled consistently by you, Eric, but the new report by CTC Technology and Energy, 2 links to which have been posted here, indicates that WiredWest's business plan is well reasoned and in their opinion is workable. CTC is a prominent technology consulting firm in Maryland. From their website-

CTC Technology & Energy is an INDEPENDENT communications and IT engineering consulting firm with more than 30 years of experience. We work at the highest levels on cutting-edge communications networking projects for public sector and non-profit clients throughout the U.S. 
their client list includes- the city of Boston, the Internal Revenue Service, the State of Kansas, New York City and  hundreds more (see their website for complete listings). They are known for their neutrality and conservative fiscal approach - as the client list would support. Therefore, the your personal issue of this company being paid for its services by WiredWest is yet another smoke screen,

Why Eric you have chosen to publicly belittle WiredWest and the people who have worked so hard to make an affordable network a reality, is truly a mystery to me?  Why this campaign of misinformation and misdirection? And, why in a time of such religious turmoil, would you characterize the democratic process of discussion regarding WiredWest  as a "religious war?

My observation:

One thing not really mentioned is the state and federal monies being given to anyone who builds the network. The only way we can use these funds and still retain ownership of the assets by hiring a company to build the network for us or having an ownership stake in WiredWest.

If we cede our portion of the state and federal funds to the private companies to build out their company's assets we forfeit our ownership stake in the network. Then the only way to regain ownership is to buy it back. This would be tantamount to the state and federal government using tax dollars as venture capital to fund a private for profit company.

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