CCAGW Members Oppose Municipal Overbuild in Concord, Mass. | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Members Oppose Municipal Overbuild in Concord, Mass.

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact:  Mark Carpenter/Tom Finnigan
March 8, 2004(202) 467-5300

 

(Washington, D.C.) – Grassroots activist members of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) plan to turn out in force tonight at a public hearing in Concord, Massachusetts to oppose a plan for the Concord Municipal Light Plant (CMLP) to create a publicly-financed broadband communications company.

“The broadband industry is rapidly growing and changing.  Although cable is still the leader in this industry, DSL, satellite and fixed wireless options are continuing to grow and are gaining more market share, helping to keep prices down and quality up,”  CCAGW President Tom Schatz said.  “Because of rapidly changing technology, government policy, and the economy, the broadband landscape we have today will be vastly different in five years.  It is precisely because broadband is changing so rapidly that it is expensive, unwise, and foolhardy for the CMLP to engage itself in this business.”

CCAGW has evaluated what has happened in other municipalities when they attempted to create their own broadband system.  Generally, the local governments undertake an enormous amount of financial risk to enter these types of businesses.  The systems end up being far more expensive than originally expected and the towns find it difficult to remain competitive, to upgrade, and to market their product within budgetary constraints.  It is common for municipal electric customers to end up subsidizing broadband customers, causing electric rates and taxes to increase.

“Instead, local governments should do whatever they can to encourage private broadband companies to enter their market,” Schatz continued.  “This would include dropping any local barriers the town may have and/or encouraging their representatives in state houses and in Washington, D.C. to remove restrictions that prevent a vibrant market in broadband and telecommunications.”

Concord residents already have several privately-owned options available to them for television viewing and accessing the Internet.  Just recently, Verizon Communications and Direct TV announced a joint marketing agreement that will combine satellite TV and Internet services in Rhode Island and expect to move into Massachusetts and all of New England shortly. 

“As the telecom industry continues to grow, there will be even more competition,” Schatz concluded.  “The town of Concord does not need to build a costly, publicly-run broadband business that will expose taxpayers and ratepayers to unnecessary risk.”

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation's largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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