In the News: Christopher Mitchell
October 5, 2017
Media Outlet: The Daily Yonder
Last week, the city of Ammon, Idaho celebrated how they built their network with no debt and signed up 70% of their customers to sign up for their service. With large initial investments into fiber infrastructure, the city established a structure to enable vast amounts of competition – as Craig Settles of The Daily Yonder reports.
In this story, our own Community Broadband Networks initiative director (as well as the coalition group Next Century Cities’ Policy Director) Christopher Mitchell weighs in.
Here’s Christopher’s contribution:
In essence, subscribers are private partners who are paying for the cost of construction. After the city pays for the initial infrastructure, the LID takes on responsibility to retire the debt by collecting money from subscribers. The financing for the network is based on the payments made over time by the users.
“We maintain a sign-up website where we track interest and determine where the highest demand is so we can create the next LID,” says Technology Director Patterson. “Without the LID, we have no way to amortize the amount for [consumers].”
This is a different way of tapping the community’s collective ability to finance the buildout. “Ammon’s approach is different from those who have tried to have constituents pay utility fees to finance the network,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of community broadband networks at Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “The city owns the network but wants service providers interacting directly with subscribers. Ammon uses some of the latest technologies that delegate liberties to ISPs and subscribers.”