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The Dangers of Broadband

Should local government be geeking out?

By Chad Adams

January 03, 2007

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With hundreds of local governments considering getting into the broadband business, a new report warns that cities shouldn't fool themselves into believing that their experience running water, gas and electricity systems has prepared them for the fast moving Internet world.

The Reason Foundation study written by Jerry Ellig, former deputy director and acting director of the Federal Trade Commission's Office of Policy Planning, outlines seven key factors that municipal officials should fully address before moving forward with plans for municipal broadband and Wi-Fi to ensure that the projects are technologically and financially viable.

The study also cautions city officials to beware of "geeks bearing gifts," suggesting that companies like EarthLink and Google are interested in providing free Wi-Fi because the deals will give them rights-of-way and valuable access to public infrastructure like light and telephone poles.

You can find a summary of the report, here.

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