In the modern world, broadband information networks are essential infrastructure, a combination of the past’s canals, telegraph wires, interstate highways, and airports. Unfortunately, other developed countries offer faster networks at cheaper prices to their businesses and citizens. Few disagree that the United States must solve this broadband problem.
This case study shows how one city did it. No private company was willing to build the high-speed information network Burlington, Vermont, needed on the timeline it wanted. Rather than hope and wait, they’re building it themselves. After their original plan collapsed, they persevered and developed a different model, using a tax-exempt municipal capital lease arrangement with an outside investor. The City will have direct ownership within 15 years; they already have complete control.
ILSR issued a report in 2011 that updates this case study: Learning from Burlington Telecom: Some Lessons for Community Networks