Here's some wonderful news via Geoff Daily's excellent Broadband blog, Apprising. Brigham City Utah is offering its citizens the chance to own their own fiber connection from their premises to the Utopia network where they can pick and choose among a growing number of services and service providers.
Some highlights from Geoff's post:
Today in Brigham City, for $3,000 you can buy your own fiber. And in fact more than 1,600 local residents have already bought in to this new opportunity.
The biggest problem with the economics of deploying fiber is that you have to carry a massive debt load and begin paying it off before much revenue starts coming in. Plus you have to invest a lot of money into neighborhoods without any real idea of how many people are going to sign up for service.
The user-owned model totally changes these dynamics. First off, by having users pay for their own pipes you disaggregate most of the debt. Just look at Brigham City. They're building a $5.5 million network and the city's putting up less than $700,000. So no massive debt load for the city (or a private provider for that matter) to carry.
Of course the other issue with is fiber builds is take rate - what percentage of the prospective customers actually sign up? For Verizon FiOS it's 21%.
With user owned fiber the take rate is 100% ! and the churn is zero.
Best of all, the owner controls their destiny while multiple service providers compete for the business.