From The Sip Trunking Experts

TMCNet:  Governing Urban Notebook column

[January 22, 2013]

Governing Urban Notebook column

Jan 22, 2013 (Governing - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Chattanooga, Tenn. (pop 167,000), has leapt to the forefront of American cities with ultra high-speed broadband service and has accomplished the feat in a surprisingly old-fashioned way: the city's municipally-owned electric utility provides the service. Tennessee's fourth-largest city is now a member of a small, but elite group of world-class cities that can offer residents and businesses Internet service of up to one gigabit per second, 200 times faster than the average broadband speed in America, according to The New York Times.

What makes Chattanooga's situation even more unique is that it stands virtually alone among U.S. cities with a population of 100,000 or greater that has municipally-owned broadband. There are only 122 cities and towns that have municipal broadband in their community, according to Broadband Communities Magazine. But nearly all are small jurisdictions.

So, what's the big deal, you ask. Broadband is available just about everywhere in America through private providers, such as Verizon, Times-Warner and Comcast. But as the Economist pointed out, Chattanooga didn't install fiber broadband just to make consumers happy, but as an effort to reinvent itself as a city with first class infrastructure that will further enable economic development while giving the government innovative capabilities in delivering better services for public safety, traffic and transit, public works and education.

What would be enough for some cities to consider providing muni broadband, while offering residents a more robust service (Chattanooga's subscribers have 30 Mps connections while the average connectivity speed in the U.S. is 6.7 mps). But don't expect to see a blossoming of muni broadband projects. A big reason is the opposition from the telecom giants who dominate the business and their amazing success at convincing states to block it from happening. To date, 19 states have passed laws that block local governments from setting up publicly-owned broadband services.

In 2011, North Carolina passed legislation prohibiting local governments from using tax dollars to build their own broadband systems, despite the fact that the state ranks last in the nation in consumer access to minimum broadband speeds, according to an FCC report.

Why are states preventing local governments, dissatisfied with existing Internet service, from providing that service themselves In North Carolina, proponents of the law cited concerns with municipal governments racking up deficits without voter input on new broadband schemes. Others cited potential public debt problems with installing the infrastructure.

But in Chattanooga, the business case for publicly-built broadband is quite sound. The CEO of EPB, the municipal utility that installed the broadband, last year told the Economist that its Internet division will become profitable in 2013. While Chattanooga is just one city, the global trend is clearly heading towards for ultra high-speed Internet service, particularly in cities where economic development and population growth is most concentrated. In Europe, government policies have led to robust competition that has driven down the cost of Internet service that is significantly faster than what is generally available in the U.S.

The question that a growing number of academics and policy makers now ask is whether broadband Internet service in America should be a public utility, similar to electricity, water and traditional phone service. Their argument is that current policies have stifled competition, leaving much of the country with expensive service that is slow, relative to what is offered elsewhere in the world.

Bolstering the argument for Internet service as a public utility is Susan Crawford, a technology policy expert, law professor and author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly in the New Gilded Age. Crawford believes federal policy makers have little interest in changing the current climate that favors the telecom giants, nor will states stop making it difficult for cities to build their own networks.

Her solution: set up an "infrastructure bank to help cities obtain affordable financing to help build high-speed fiber networks" for citizens and businesses. "We treated the telephone industry like a utility and people don't seem to be surprised by that," Crawford told, when asked if Internet service should be a public utility. "High-speed Internet access plays the same role in American life. It's just that those guys [telecom giants] have succeeded in making us think that it's a luxury." Chattanooga realized that building a fiber network, far from being a luxury, is a necessity and should be a public utility, as important as electricity was a century ago. Will other cities follow Chattanooga's example ___ (c)2013 Governing Visit Governing at Distributed by MCT Information Services

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner

Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.