- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Dubuque would have to pay at least $30 million to start a city-run internet service that would guarantee equal access to all residents, a consultant told city officials.

City Council members learned details about the creation of such a service at a special meeting this week, the Telegraph Herald reported.

Providing universal access to residents with fiber or fiber-like connectivity could cost $30 million to $40 million in first-year capital expenses, said Dave Lyons, the council’s sustainability consultant.

“If you get into this business, you’re going to have to be the best because you’ll have to have a market share that is at least as large or larger than any other carrier,” Lyons told council members.

The Federal Communications Commission’s recent repeal of net neutrality regulations is a driving concern, said Christine Darr, a co-organizer of the Campaign for Dubuque Municipal Internet. Darr said that while many providers have said they won’t lock or slow connections following the repeal, a pledge isn’t enough to ease people’s concerns.

“We contend that the best way to protect a free and open internet to the greatest extent possible is to create an internet utility that is owned and run democratically, by and for the people, not for profit,” Darr said.

City officials considered establishing a municipal communications service more than a decade ago, and a feasibility study was conducted in 2005. But they decided that the cost was too prohibitive at that time.

Lyons told council members that establishing a municipal service would require the city to examine several infrastructure issues. He said that while technology costs have dropped, infrastructure costs have risen.

The City Council will consider later this year whether they want to commission an updated feasibility study on such a service.


Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com

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