The News Journal, December 27, 2015
Newark government has asked a technology consulting firm to determine if the city can offer residents fast Internet at prices competitive with major providers.
CTC Technology and Energy, a Maryland-based technology engineering firm, will be paid $69,000 to study the city’s telecommunication infrastructure and provide city officials with a cost projection for offering Internet to residents in a similar way that Newark government currently provides electric and trash service.
The study will map where high-speed fiber-optic lines run through the city. It will also look at different scenarios for municipal broadband, each employing a fiber-optic network through the city. Options discussed include leasing bandwidth on private fiber-optic lines or constructing new lines.
The study will look at different levels of service potentially connecting major businesses, city properties and University of Delaware outposts and providing a connection for residents.
Some 450 governments across the country offer Internet service, according to Christopher Mitchell, director of Community Broadband Networks for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that advises communities on planning.
Cities and other municipalities began to offer such services to improve access. Today, the motivation is to disrupt a market sometimes dominated entirely by Comcast and Verizon to compete in terms of quality and price, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said some municipally sponsored systems have been able to offer 1 gigabyte-per-second Internet for around $75 a month. A gigabyte is 1,000 megabytes.