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Forecast: Muni broadband deployments to double in '06

Fri, 01/27/2006 - 6:05am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

"Resisting municipal broadband is futile," declares research firm visiongain, in a new forecast on the sector.

Borg-like posturing aside, the report notes that more than 400 cities around the world are planning to deploy broadband networks, and the number will double by year-end, "despite legal opposition and intense lobbying from incumbent telcos and cable companies."

Although small town and rural developments kicked off the trend, "the tide is now embracing large urban metropolises," the report says, referencing sites such as New York City, San Francisco, Rome and Paris. 

As of Q1 2006, 100 city and regional wireless broadband networks were in operation globally, and 40 originated in the U.S., visiongain adds.

"By 2010/2011, we believe the majority of cities and townships in the U.S. will have a municipal wireless network in place and the focus then will be in uniting them into a seamless, if not centralized, national network," says Pam Duffey, the lead author of the report.

But the efforts are short of a slam-dunk. Duffey cautions that munis often lack "sufficient experience and knowledge of technologies," and can compound that by under funding projects or creating a long-term business model.

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