Public comment in regards to Michael’s proposal to study city-wide broadband service has been quite favorable. The City Council really showed a lack of forethought (read….no vision) when they quickly dismissed Councilman Wojcik’s proposal to study public-offered, city-wide broadband. This is something that’s coming and to postpone wireless Internet access to the citizens of Rochester is really doing everyone a disservice. Despite the best efforts of Charter Communications, we all know that there is really no other alternative to residents besides cable internet service. Will Rochester continue to sit back on it’s heels and not at least look at the possibility of city-wide wireless service? Sure, there are a lot of issues going on right now, but will we continue to drag along like we usually do?
Website administration has even chimed in on this topic. Yours truly (admin, not Michael), moved here nearly 10 years ago from a progressive and beautiful little town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Marquette has a population of about 20,000 and boasts an excellent four year university of nearly 10,000 students. About 10 years ago, NMU began to offer laptops to students in what was, at the time, the largest distribution of IBM Thinkpads in the nation. This progressive attitude has continued as NMU and the City of Marquette have partnered to now offer 4G wireless technology, city-wide. Read more here. WiMax technology has since expanded to all neighboring communities, bringing public wireless to tens of thousands of residents in the Upper Peninsula. By the way, Charter is also the only other option that was available before the 4G WiMax technology was approved.
How is it that a small little town, in the middle of nowhere, can offer a 4G wireless internet technology, yet the City of Rochester is unwilling to even take a look? Undoubtedly, this is something that will be the norm going forward. Will Rochester lead or continue to follow?
Finally, here are additional comments from former Rochester resident and Mayo High School grad, Christopher Mitchell. He writes: Greetings from a Mayo High School alum. I live in Minneapolis now, and am a national expert on community broadband networks. I saw your proposal and am sorry to hear that the Council did not accept it. No surprise that Charter and the Chamber said what they did, I run into the same information everywhere. Despite the fact that most of us have no options for true broadband beyond cable, they claim to have rigorous competition. I wanted to make sure you are aware of a study I released last month, “Breaking the Broadband Monopoly: How Communities Are Building the Networks They Need.” He also adds that while he certainly disagrees with the Chamber and Charter Communications, he would have to take a close look at any citywide wireless option before commenting specifically.
The full study is available here: http://www.muninetworks.org/reports/breaking-broadband-monopoly