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News and comments on community broadband networks, the communities deploying them and the technologies that support them. Published by Denise Frey and Al Bonnyman.

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Monday, November 03, 2003


Wisconsin: City of Oconomowoc trying get improved broadband for local industry

The City of Oconomowoc is having problems attracting employers to the town and so is considering offering broadband through its' municipal utility.

"As developers of Oconomowoc's Pabst Farms work to lure high-tech companies to the state's biggest planned development, city officials never thought they'd have to work this hard to get the area wired up with all the communications services those businesses need."

"The reluctance of local private providers to extend service to Pabst Farms prompted Oconomowoc to hire a consultant to study the feasibility of having the city provide telecommunications services - such as broadband - to Pabst Farms, a nearby corporate park and anywhere else in the city that needs service and can't get it from private companies."

"'Given the inaction by the existing providers, this is the most logical solution to meet our community and economic development goals to attract high-tech business,' said the city's director of economic development, Bob Duffy, in an e-mail to the Municipal Electric Utilities of Wisconsin, of which Oconomowoc is a member."

Incumbent cable and telco carriers are trying to shut this move down (and similar moves in other towns) through new state legislation to hobble development of municipal broadband systems.

"But legislation has been proposed that would all but prevent Oconomowoc and any other Wisconsin municipality underserved by telecommunications and cable companies from taking action themselves to fill the void."



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