Broadband Candidate Response

Rochester Internet for All  –  Rochester City Council Candidate Question

From: Judy Hickey, Candidate for Rochester City Council, Ward 5

Topic: Rochester Broadband

Date: Friday, September 28, 2018

 Affordable, world-class broadband is a critical need for our 21st century community, supporting education, the economy, and social interaction, but many students, low income families, small businesses, and other community members are concerned about the high costs, inadequate speeds, lack of competition, loss of net neutrality, and other issues.

If elected, what actions do you think the city should take to ensure that all Rochester residents and businesses have access to affordable, world-class broadband? (225 words)

Broadband infrastructure and reliable access are important for internet and cable television service for the Rochester community. Many view broadband as a public utility, even though it is not regulated as a public utility by federal law. Broadband is an essential part of our daily lives, affecting work, education, and entertainment.

September 2018 — MetroNet, an Indiana-based cable company, has filed an application to construct a high speed fiber optic cable system throughout the city of Rochester. The City Council has approved the company’s initial application. The application indicates MetroNet would begin to offer service within a year of initial construction and within an additional two years expand throughout the city. Rochester has around 30 Internet companies providing some degree of service and coverage, with Charter Spectrum being the largest. MetroNet is proposing service levels to compete with Charter Spectrum.

In 2016, Rochester studied and estimated the cost at $67 million for the city to provide municipal broadband. Adopting municipal broadband to increase competition and service would be problematic after completing the cost-benefit analysis against two major companies competing for customers within the City of Rochester. A dollar spent on broadband is one dollar not spent on roads, schools or public safety. Action should be taken to ensure that companies are providing a base level of affordable internet access necessary to address service equity.

References:

Post-Bulletin articles referencing MetroNet:

September 25, 2018

August 21, 2018

Website: broadbandnow.com/Minnesota/Rochester#