Prior Lake gingerly taking steps on fiber optics

  • Article by: DAVID PETERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 25, 2012 - 4:01 PM

Even skeptics find some things to praise, but no moves are likely prior to November's elections.

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rickkeeneySep. 27, 1210:15 AM

Just to clarify my comments a bit, when I was talking about the risks of the project being built and then quickly becoming obsolete, that comment was more about the business model, not so much the underlying technology. The proposal as presented depends on revenue from a high percentage of homes being attached as "triple-play" (phone, cable, internet) subscribers paying prices similar to what they pay now. But the trend is for people to discontinue land lines and instead just use their cell phones. A lot of people are also "cutting the cable" (or at least the premium channels) and instead download premium content via internet providers like Netflix and Amazon. Also as mentioned, the increased competition is sure to drive down prices. All of those factors would dramatically reduce the revenue available to pay back the costs. In my opinion, the plan, as presented, will likely not succeed in funding itself and should not be justified on that basis. To justify the project on the basis of other, benefits, we would need to look at how much new business, new jobs, and increased quality of life it would bring. Those benefits are much more difficult to measure and predict. The study had plenty of details on the costs of the build. And it proposed a business model for paying for those costs (which I believe is based on flawed assumptions of future trends). But it had very sketchy details on other economic benefits besides price competition. In my mind, the proposal falls short of being convincing that it will be a net gain for the residents of Prior Lake. I do remain convinced that digital infrastructure is important for our community, and I am optimistic that we can create a solution that does lead to success in this area. - Rick Keeney

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