Alabama Taxpayers Beware: Broadband Consultants Collect Hefty Fees

Consultants recommending the construction of expensive broadband networks are inundating local governments across the country, according to Yellow Hammer News. Unfortunately, these broadband networks are built using taxpayers’ money. Consultants believe that these new and improved networks will attract business money and improve the quality of life for the residents. This is all true, but who is flipping the bill on this stuff?

According to critics, these consultants are just telling the bureaucrats what they want to hear. These bureaucrats represent the local governments. CTC Technology & Energy consultants managed to wiggle their way into constructing a $57 million broadband network with the help of Huntsville Utilities.

Consultants in various cities and counties across the country have done research regarding these taxpayer subsidized broadband networks, and have found that it’s hard to find a government that hasn’t been offered high-speed internet in some capacity. Both fully-fledged broadband networks and backbones are the most popular options being pushed by consultants. With a backbone, the internet providers can connect to it and then provide high speed internet for all of their customers.

Community Broadband LLC are expecting profits of around $400,000 by the fifth year if the city of Midway, GA built it’s $3.2 million network. The most favorable responses to this proposition are coming from business-owners since they can then subscribe to the high-speed internet service to conduct business faster.

Peachtree City decided to scrap it’s government broadband project and go with local providers to serve the citizens’ broadband needs. The city continues to use Community Broadband as a consultant on communication issues. Consultants cannot be held liable for what the voters decide on.

Marietta sold its FiberNet broadband network at a loss of $24 million in 2004. The network had 180 customers along its 210 mile stretch from Kennesaw to Alpharetta. The city couldn’t keep up with the equipment upgrade costs, so they had to let it go.

The promises made to local governments by consultants are very seductive. The consultants and network builders profit handsomely while the taxpayers are caught in the mess. Local taxpayers are stuck with mountains of debt after municipal broadband networks go down. They have the odds stacked against them.