How Municipal Fiber Networks Can Save You Money


Some Cities Are Paying Half As Much As We Are For Internet

In some countries, the competition for Internet service is so huge that people are paying half of what we’re paying—or less. In Sweden, for example, citizens have quite the selection. Fiber options alone range anywhere from 30/30 (30 megabits per second download speeds and 30 for uploads) to 100/10 speeds or more, which are offered usually by upwards of 10 providers. But Swedish customers aren’t limited to just fiber—they can also receive a variety of Internet solutions, like ADSL or cable, for a fraction of the price we pay for the same services. For anyone in love with the Internet, these prices sound like paradise.

So, what’s the secret? Three words: municipal fiber networks. Basically, cities with this network have their citizens purchase Internet through the city, as we do with water or electricity. The low price creates competition among providers, who, in turn, expand their networks to get more customers. The Swedish government funded cities by offering tax breaks and subsidies when the technology gained popularity, and now it’s a norm. So, why don’t those of us in the Land of the Free get the same level of competition and services available in countries like Sweden? What can we do to get faster Internet at a lower price?

SEE ALSO: Top 5 Cities With The Fastest Internet In The US

Municipal Networks In The USA

The US isn’t completely absent of municipal fiber networks. There are some cities that offer these networks, making Internet all the more affordable to its citizens. Across the US, there are 89 communities with publicly owned Fiber to the Home (FTTH) networks and 74 communities with a publicly owned cable network, according to a map created by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. These communities include:

  • Loma Linda, CA
  • Glenwood Springs, CO
  • Kitsap County, WA
  • Braintree, MA
  • Kutztown, PA
  • Chattanooga, TN

The problem is, these cities aren’t very big, so not many Americans are serviced under these public networks. Usually, US cities with a municipal fiber network have a population under 170,000. The largest municipal fiber network is Chattanooga, Tennessee, which provides affordable Internet to a vast majority of its residents. In order to become really competitive, these municipal networks will have to expand to places with bigger populations, like New York City.

SEE ALSO: High Speed Internet In Rural Areas

Making Internet Cheaper

But there are still ways for you to get competitively priced Internet in your area for a low cost. The best way to do so is to compare prices before deciding on a plan. If one company offers a lower price than another, you might be able to talk your way down to a lower price as you can with a cable TV bill. Before signing up, also find out if the promotional rate you will most likely receive for the first four to six months of service is renewable. If it isn’t, you might be stuck with a higher rate than you are willing to pay for the rest of your contract.

Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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